Water Supply & Waste Water

At the Black Sheep Inn we have 4 water sources: the town system (which we help to maintain), a back-up reserve from a small spring, a pond for irrigation and rainwater that is collected in small tanks and cisterns from several roofs.  On average we use 2000 liters of water daily for the entire hotel; this includes approximately 21 people on the property fulltime, about 95 liters (25 gallons) per person per day.  We have built ponds to help increase biodiversity and to retain water on the property.  Andres was the elected president of the town water system from the end of 2006 until mid 2009.

Because we have dry composting toilets, we do not produce “black water” or sewage.  Gray water is much easier to treat and reuse.  All water from showers, sinks, laundry etc. is recycled.  It is collected in settling tanks and put through charcoal/rock filter systems.  The filtered water is then channeled through a reed bed for further nutrient absorption.  The reeds produce fodder for guinea pigs, llamas and sheep.

We water our gardens with water from a solar water pump installation.  Two 85-watt solar panels directly power (with no batteries) a ShurFlo submersible pump that is mounted on the bottom of the raft in the pond.  When it is sunny (and even on cloudy days) the pump pushes pond water over 200-feet up the hill to a reserve tank for irrigating organic gardens.  The same pump powers the “Fountain of Youth” and the “Waterslide of Death,” also known as the Andean Luje.

By building a laundry washing area just up the hill from our lodge we have created two new water resources without pumping. 1) The roof collects rainwater for laundry washing and 2) the used gray water is stored for irrigation of flower gardens at the lodge level.  In 2009 Black Sheep Inn installed a super efficient Energy Star washing machine that saves water from previous hand-washing.