Some Water Hookup Details for Those Who Live or Retire in Mexico

Once you live or retire in Mexico and you are picking your house to buy or rent pay attention to the details of the water supply to your house. Often homes are set up with inadequate supplies of water. Most of us from the US and Canada are blessed by plentiful and relatively safe water delivered to our house 24/7, with pressure. This can create problems in our transition when we live or retire in Mexico because we are “water supply innocents.” [The photo is of a house in my neighborhood that has both an old-style asbestos water tank and a new plastic one.]

Since newbies don’t know how to foresee potential issues with water supply, it’s not until we are a few weeks into our new life in Mexico that we start to have PROBLEMS with water.

When you live or retire in Mexico, be sure to check that your new home has a tank on your roof to provide gravity-fed pressure to the toilette, shower, and sinks in your house. Make sure that you can fill that tank every day, either by direct pressure from city water (which should be turned on every day for a few hours–ask about that) or by a small pump over which you should have control. Finally, you should have a large underground cistern to store water in case the city doesn’t provide enough water for a few days.

We’ve been running out of water lately.

I’ll tell you part of my recent water saga in hopes that it will help you some day when you live or retire in Mexico. In Cuernavaca we are blessed by clean municipal water that some of my Mexican friends drink as is. While I can’t complain about the quality of the water delivered to my house almost daily by the city water department (SAPAC) the logistics of the water hookup created by my landlord are driving me crazy!

My house was once my landlord’s mother’s house and all the fixtures, etc. seem to be afterthoughts, slapped together with no planning. The water supply is shared from what used to be his factory next door. The water from the city comes through a meter next door. When I need to check to see whether the water is off or on I have to go out my gate, out our common gate, and unlock the large metal door to his neighboring property.

We have an old asbestos tank on top of our bathroom roof, which, when full provides water to our house. The problem is that there is no way of knowing if it’s full without climbing a ladder to the roof, lifting the lid and peeking in!

Two loads of laundry will empty my tank, so I try to only do laundry when the water is on to our street. This would be easy if the water were always on at the same time. It’s not. Some days they open the valve to our street at about 6 a.m. and I’m asleep and don’t hear it rushing in. If the tank fills up before I get up, I don’t know that the water is already on. Some days it comes at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. Some days the pressure is lower than usual and only a trickle climbs up to my bathroom roof. Lately I keep running out!

All morning of the day after I run out of water, I spend spinning my wheels. I can’t flush the toilette. I can’t wash dishes. I can’t do laundry. I have to go outside to brush my teeth and wash my face because there is usually a little water still in my lavadero…. You can imagine the difficulties.

My landlord has a cistern, but since it’s next door and the pump is broken, it’s usually easier to wait for the water to be turned on to our street than to go walk buckets through the door next door, two gates, and my front door.

When you live or retire in Mexico, get yourself set up with a nice cistern and pump and make sure that you have easy access to them!

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