Water in L’viv

March 20th, 2007

Water is an interesting thing to talk about here. I haven’t figured out exactly why yet but depending on who you talk to the water is either plentiful and as pure as the purest water or scarce and filled with parasites.

Not more than 2 days before Heather flew out here I found sand in my glass of water. I had been happily drinking water from the tap since the first day I arrived and this was the first time I had seen anything other than, well, water, in my glass. This immediately prompted me to begin boiling water (mmm, a refreshing glass of warm water) and start talking to my apartment’s owner. She said the water from the tap is fine, everyone drinks it.

Yuriy has always told me “the water from the tap is fine to drink, but we always boil it.” Well, why does he always boil it? “Because we don’t drink water, we drink tea.” Interesting. That’s a lot of tea. The first few days in the office I got interesting looks for using the cold-water spigot of the water cooler. Who the hell drinks plain water in Ukraine? I think I’m the only one. It’s tea, juice or coffee, in order of perceived preference.

After that first night of drinking sandy, warm water I stopped doing that. The sand remained in the tap water for the next many days. No big deal I figured, the water is fine.

A few days after Heather arrived we started having problems with water pressure. It just wasn’t what it used to be but I didn’t think anything of it. Depending on who you talk to here the water in L’viv actually only runs from 6:00AM to 8:00AM and again from 6:00PM to 8:00PM. But if you talk to someone with a little bit more lenient a water policy it runs from 6-8 and then from 6-11. And if you talk to someone a little more knowing, water runs all day long. I have no idea what the real story is. I know that I typically have running water all day long; I’m told there’s a storage tank somewhere that buffers the water for the out of service periods.

The hot water heaters here are tankless ones. These work “on demand” by sensing when there is demand for hot water and immediately heating the water then and only then. To avoid turning on needlessly, the “sensors” aren’t exactly sensitive. You need to be pushing a few gallons per minute of flow of hot water before the heater will turn on.

On Friday of last week I got my first taste of a hot shower turned ice cold. The water pressure had finally dropped to the point that the flow through our pipes wouldn’t turn on the water heater. Oh. No. As you’ve probably seen on my little weather gauge here on the site it isn’t exactly warm here. Water from the outside isn’t warm either. This is ice swimming water.

After a weekend of no shower I got up early on Monday to take my shower under the guaranteed water’s flowing time of 6-8. No hot water. No pressure. Not good. I went to work without a shower. Without a shower in the past few days. Yikes. I talked to the owner, she sent her parents over to the house that night to check if the problem was related to the water filter or the pipes outside the building.

Turns out it was the water filter. It was completely clogged with sand.

For whatever reason I drank a lot of tap water that evening (yes, I ran the water for a while first). Heather didn’t drink any. I stayed home from work in the morning to let my system “cleanse itself.” Heather didn’t drink anymore tap water. I won’t drink anymore tap water. Prep for India I guess :-)

Entry Filed under: Ukraine

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mom  |  March 21st, 2007 at 3:28 am


    Thanks for the laugh…. I needed that…. hmmmm you might want to start to re-think your TP and flushing :)

  • 2. brandonlgolm  |  March 28th, 2007 at 8:57 am

    “Turns out it was the water filter. It was completely clogged with sand.”



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