This is one of the tinacas on our neighbours' roof, one of three.
Tinacas are the containers which are used in many homes in Mazatlan to store the water provided by the city water company, Jumapan, a plan which is often not as simple, nor as successful, as it would seem. We have had no water problems this year at the Casita and have had a regular supply. Our tinaca often does not fill during the day, but usually fills each evening. We also have a cistern which holds many thousands of litres more, so we're fairly confident that we'll always have water. We do check every the morning, just to make sure we have water and if the tinaca has not filled, the laundry just waits for another day.
Our neighbours however have not been as lucky, perhaps because their house is on a different line and is at the end. They also do not have a cistern, hence the three tinacas as their house. Their tinacas have not filled for close to 2 weeks, and they were getting just bit tired of rationing their water.
In a case like this, the only recourse is to call a private water company, and make arrangements to have a Pipa (water truck) come to your home. The Pipas are huge, and carry much more water than a tinaca can hold, and when you order one, you are expected to pay for the whole load, 10,000 litres, an expense of 500 pesos (approximately $42.00).
Being a good neighbour, however, is partly about sharing. Not all homes have tinacas or cisterns and if the water is shut off there is no back up supply at all. The arrival of the Pipa can be a time of joy for many in the 'hood. After the three tinacas were filled, as is the custom, our neighbours were prepared to share the balance of the load, at least half, with other people in the area. However the laneway is so very narrow, and the planter so large, that no matter how he tried, the driver could not move Pipa further down the land and the hose just would not reach the balance of the homes needing water. Mexicans are very resourceful, however, the buckets came out and they saved as much as they possible could.
Unfortunately for all, the balance of the water in the Pipa went back to the water company, to be paid for, once again, by someone else with an empty tinaca.