30 December 2007

A city without water

Friday we were out looking at a couple hill towns to see what kind of holiday light displays they had put up and got back to town after dark. We walked around the centro storico a little and then stopped into one of our favorite bars and learned that Ascoli Piceno and the entire Tronto Valle down to Porto d’Ascoli were without water. The word was we would have water Sunday. This happened to us before in May of this year, my hopes for “a one time experience” have been dashed.

We had an appointment in Ripatransone early Saturday morning and I had ten plastic 1.5 litre water bottles saved for recycling which I took with us. This town is not in our valley so they are not on the same water line. After our morning appointment I filled the bottles and when we got back to our apartment I removed the cover from the inside wall toilet tank so I could pour water into it. A day or two without a shower is one thing but not being able to flush the toilet creates a whole set of new problems.

This lack of water affects over 150,000 people; families and businesses that can not do simple things like wash dishes, take a shower or flush the toilet. I like camping but this is not my idea of a bel’ Italia. Today the papers announced that water would be on for 2 hours starting at noon, this will continue until they have the water back in full service. The new projected date for “normal” water service is January 3rd, yes we will have a dry capodanno in Ascoli Piceno.

The water reached our 3rd floor apartment around 12:30PM and the pressure was enough to fill every water-worthy container we had but not enough for us to be able to take showers (we have no bathtub). So after three days of no shower we went in search of an Autogrill as we had seen shower units before at these along the A14. We decided to make the trip to Pescara to our favorite Japanese restaurant and enjoyed a refreshing shower at an Autogrill on our way back north.

What we will do between now and Thursday we have not yet decided, one bucket of water at a time and one day at a time.


Gil said...

I think that if yo pour water directly into the toilet, rather than filling the tank, you will be able to flush the toilet using less water. A little trick I remember from the days that the power went out and/or we had well problems. Good luck coping with this.

Bryan said...

That was our first approach but there is something different about the toilet designs here, pouring water into the bowl only fills the bowl.

Gil said...


Anonymous said...

Try pulling the lever and filling. There is no magic to Italian commodes.
On another note, why insist on living in the old section of town. It is romantic (I know Ascoli P. well) but most Italians who can afford it get out. Why not go live in one of the new costal towns where, if you do not demand to live on the coast, you can rent a much larger, new apartment, that works, for much less cost. Just an idea. If you look at most of the quaint hill towns around you, you will notice the old centers are populated by the elderly who stay for attachment or economic reasons or their children who still live at home. Everyone who can afford it has "gotten out of Dodge." While buying an apartment has gotten ridiculous, especially with the current exchange rate, rents remain very low by US standards (though, again, exchange rates have hurt some). I can rent a 150 sq mt trilocale not too far from the sea, 500 meters, for about 700 E per month.

Bryan said...

anonymous - We tried all aspects of using the toilet with the BEST performance and unless it is coming from the tank you won't get the results you need. For a day this might work but not for an extended period.

As far as not living in the centro I would suspect you haven't been following along since we moved here. We enjoy the centro, even with its quirks - nothing like this in the US. Besides the current water issue has affected even the areas you describe, all the way to the coast.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you can't make your commode work.
If you find it romantic to voluntarily live in a historical area where services are poor, so be it. You can also live in a wonderful urban area with all of the conveniences of city living and none of the headaches of the old areas.
As for the water shortage affecting costal areas near you, you are mistaken ( maybe some but not where I am, near Giulianova).