The Case of the Leaking Pool

(Part 1)

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

This is my story of technical problem solving, in which I have recently participated. All situations and characters are real. All the events are strictly factual.

A few months ago, I noticed a drop of water level in my swimming pool. I called the pool guy.
“It’s hot now”, he said. “Evaporation is unusually high.”
“How high should it be?” I asked.
“For your pool, about a half centimeter a day.”

For the next two days I marked and measured the water level. Then I anxiously called the pool guy again.
“It drops about two centimeters a day. What do you think?”
“Too high. You got a leak. I am coming.”

“Don’t worry”, he said on arrival. “As soon as we know where the leak is, we will fix it.”
“But, how do we know that?”
“By the process of elimination!” he replied.

Then he proceeded to seal all the water outlets inside the pool.
“Tell me tomorrow what happens”.

“It’s exactly half centimeter”, I reported to him the next day. “You have proven your professionalism.”
“This is good news. The leak is not in the pool. It’s in the piping. Easier to find and cheaper to fix. I am coming.”

He opened the outlets, cleaned and dried all the pipes, and put some harmless chemical in the pool, which colors cracks in the PVC pipes. Probably, some old TRIZ solution, since the guy never heard of TRIZ.
“We’ll see tomorrow", he smiled.

Twenty-four hours passed, revealing nothing. All the pipes were clean, dry, and colorless. The water level had dropped two centimeters.
“This is a mystery”, said the pool guy.
“This is a miracle”, I could only say.

And then, in words of G.S.Alshuller, an inventor appeared.
“This is a contradiction”, he said.

(To be continued…)