Potable and non-potable water is very important on house building trips.
While plumbing is present throughout most of Tijuana, it is not advisable to drink the water. An Orphanage representative will make sure your group has plenty of potable water throughout your stay. The water is purchased through CIEL, a Coke company product. Your coordinator will check in with you and take inventory throughout the week as deliveries occur. Please let them know if you have any concerns or are running low.
Even on mildly warm days you want to be sure people are drinking at least a gallon of water a day. The best way to do this is to designate a water captain for each site to make sure the team takes frequent water breaks throughout the day. This will help fend off heat exhaustion, general fatigue, short tempers and grumpiness. A simple test to check for good water intake is: Clear, not yellow urine.
Especially on big work days, like cement day or when you are pushing to wrap up the houses, the water taken before noon is what will help you stay strong and on target in the afternoon. Make sure to have enough water on site at all times. A great way to ensure this is to have each team fill water bladders or take a 5 gallon bottle with them to the site each morning. *Make sure that the bottles come back as there is a fee for lost or damaged bottles.
Water is a major expense for the families at our sites. Water can easily take over a third of a family’s annual income—more than we would pay for gas or on house payments. So out of respect, please resist the temptation to have water fights.
Non-potable water is necessary to mix concrete during the construction of the concrete slab. Typically, our team on the ground has made some arrangement for water before you arrive. In some instances, sites are remote or arrangements have fallen through. It is important to ask the person showing you the site what the arrangements are for the needed water.
Sometimes, the sites will have water via a hose (manguera). Other times there are large blue plastic containers (potes) on site for this water – normally these are used for laundry and washing so please treat them accordingly. Red water trucks regularly drive throughout Tijuana, honking their horn, and selling water. Usually, two of these blue containers work well for holding water necessary for constructing the slab. It usually costs about $5 US or 50 pesos to fill one of these containers, and if the family has purchased the water already, it is kind to reimburse them for this expense.