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Friday, 26 March 2021

More water problems on the island.....


So about 3 weeks ago we had an interruption to our mains water supply on the island.  Bottled water was shipped over, and then a large bowser was placed at the pier so ships could bring over water to fill it, which was then temporarily linked to our mains water supply and at least we had water coming out of taps and into cisterns!  Four days with no mains water makes you realise just how much we depend on it!  It took several days to locate the leak, which turned out to be below the tide line over on the island of Hoy.  Eventually it was fixed and we had another few days with a "Boil your water" notice.  Two weeks later we are still experiencing some problems with lots of air in the system, but apparently the water is safe to drink.  Anyway here are a few photos of the equipment brought to the island!

Above a local farmer is transporting one of the mini-diggers that were brought over to the island to investigate the leak.  Our island ferry doesn't have the lifting capacity for anything large so Scottish Water chartered some work boats (largely from the renewable energy sector that work in these waters) to bring over anything heavy as they have much bigger cranes.

Plenty of water was brought over in bottles on pallets.  It was a foul night when this arrived with water over the pier, and neighbours collecting it on trailers to put at the top of the pier.  Folk were expected to go and collect themselves but as usual, neighbours delivered to those of us unable to manage heavy packs of water (including me!)

And the bowser and pump with pipes to connect to the mains water system on the island....

As well as household there are a number of farms on the island and it was crucial to be able to get water to the farms, particularly where in-calf cows were in sheds.  So Scottish Water did move swiftly to try and resolve the water shortage.  

Unfortunately the water is still very cloudy (air in the system) two weeks later, so although it is fit to drink, we are battling to get the engineers to come out again and vent the system.  It still comes out of taps spitting and snorting, and is very cloudy. Hopefully this can be resolved soon too!

As well as equipment for the water mains, the pier is quite crowded with containers as workmen from Orkney Harbours are out replacing railings and fenders around the pier and a new system of livestock gates are being installed.  As I've mentioned previously, there is no roll on-roll off ferry serving the island so everything has to be lifted on and off by crane.  Including sheep and cattle as well as anything else that cannot be carried up the steps by hand.  

Hope you enjoyed this wee snapshot of life on Graemsay!


  1. Water is one of the many things we just take for granted, until we haven't got it. As someone who drinks a lot of water and who can dehydrate quickly I can appreciate the consequences of a shortage.

  2. That must have been quite an ordeal, I can't imagine a shortage of water.

  3. Hmm, not so good. We are so dependent in our modern world, aren't we?

  4. I remember just after we moved to the Black Isle our water supply was contaminated by heating oil from a burst tank and we were without mains water for a number of weeks. We just take it for granted that every time you turn the tap you get water. It's a nightmare.