Travel the world

India: Power Outages and Water Hours

While staying in hotels in Delhi, Udaipur, and Jaipur gave us a chance to see certain aspects of India, it also sheltered us as tourists from some of the realities of daily life in (at least this part of) India.

At the house we are staying in (here in Bilaspur, India), we get a chance to experience more of what it’s like to live here.

Daily life includes power outages and water hours.

Power Outages:
I’m not surprised by the number of times the power goes out here in India.

As we’ve traveled the world, we’ve learned that power outages are common in many places.

We’ve experienced power outages in almost every country we’ve been to, some of them lasting as long as 12 hours.

In fact, power outages have been common in all countries we have been to during out past 1 1/2 years (21 countries), with the exceptions of New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Having hired people in India for various projects (for 5+ years now), I’ve also come to know that power outages are quite frequent here, especially in summer.

I think this is due to so many people running air conditioners and making demands on the system at the same time. And so rolling blackouts become necessary.

I don’t honestly know though if it’s a rolling blackout problem. The locals seem to think it’s a corruption problem, and money being allocated inappropriately.

I do know that if every home in this neighborhood installed 5 standard solar panels, and everyone invested in a deep-cycle backup battery storage system (either at each house or as a community), they could feed the grid during peak times and have their own power source during power cuts.

I don’t know if there is a net buy-back program of some kind in India, but in the US, many states and utilities have programs to buy back excess electricity from you, if you produce that electricity at your home.

It’s something we are quite aware of at this point, advocating it on our site GreenJoyment, and something we will do for ourselves whenever/wherever we build our home.

Water Hours:
“How many hours per day do you get fresh drinking water in the US?”

This was an honest question from someone we’ve met here, as though ‘water hours’ were a normal fact of life.

It almost seems an absurd question to someone living in America, but the question is very real here, where fresh drinking water has it’s own faucet in the kitchen and is only guaranteed from 7-10 AM and from 4-7 PM (in the house we are in).

From the people I have asked about it, so far no one has been able to explain to me why the water comes only during certain hours of the day.

My thinking is that perhaps there’s only a certain amount of capacity in the pipe, and since the pipe has exceeded the number of homes it was originally designed to service, they have to give certain hours to certain people in order to maintain enough pressure in the system.

I don’t really know. But even though it’s “fresh” drinking water, every home that we have been in so far uses some sort of additional water filter both to chill the water and remove further impurities in the water.

We use our SteriPen on every bottle we fill during our water hours.

It is interesting to experience such frequent power outages and water outages, while knowing that there are ways to plan for both in the building of a home.

And from a bigger picture, it’s interesting to know that enough sunlight falls on the Sahara desert every hour to power the electrical needs of humanity for more than a year.

Affordable technologies exist (solar power towers being one example) to easily convert heat and light both into growing climates and electricity generation, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

We work to bring a lot of information to people about these kinds of technologies through our GreenJoyment site.

As we get closer to the end of 2 years away from the states (which has been our plan since leaving the US in October, 2009), I wonder about my role in bringing more than just information to people regarding these technologies.

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