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Water in the desert

I thought that water would only be a big deal when we went to Mexico, but here in Tucson it's an ever-present factor too.

We arrived with the Airstream bearing mud from the Hill Country west of Austin, and never got a chance to wash it off. Now that we are here and have time, it's not so easy to get the water to clean it up. At Beaudry's we were prohibited from washing -- only approved contractors could do it (at a premium price).

At our current residence, we can wash but we need to obtain a permit first. Rich C arrived today, fresh from his cross-country journey from Massachusetts, and his trailer is a mess with road salt, so he's going to inquire about the wash permit.

Tucson sunset trailers.jpg
Sunset over the trailers

If you own land here and strike water in a deep well, you don't own it. The state keeps all subsurface water and mineral rights. New developments have to pass a test to "prove" a 100-year water supply before they can build. Apparently they're not having any trouble doing that, because there's a ton of new development happening all over the area. Tucson is growing into a much more sprawling city.

In fact, I've been astonished at the number of swimming pools here. There seem to be as many as we would find in Florida. And so far, of the houses we have checked out, nobody seems to use a simple pool cover to reduce evaporation. I'm mystified by this. The air here is normally arid enough to suck the moisture out of anything left exposed, so one would expect the pools to have a high evaporation rate.

Tucson rain.jpg
A rain shower?

This is the dry season, so we aren't expecting rain anytime soon. But yesterday I noticed what looked like a bit of rain in the late afternoon. It was a very isolated little shower up by the Catalina Foothills, if any moisture reached the ground at all.

Well, we're learning about the differences between life in the desert and life in humid green New England. It's an interesting experience -- part of the value we get from pausing long enough to really dig into the local community. Both Eleanor and I are looking forward to more.


Hi Rich -

In the Northeast, pool covers are usually used to keep stuff out (ie leaves or small children that wander by . . .) and to help gather, amplify, and keep heat.

I'm guessing they have small children in the Southwest but maybe their relative lack of deciduous tress and the lower need to keep and maintain heat in the pool water have kept pool covers from catching on?


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