For people who live on the grid, getting clean water for drinking, cooking, and showering is as easy as turning on a tap. If you want to live off the grid, however, the question of how to get potable water is a more complicated one. Here are the four main potential solutions to getting running water to your off the grid homestead and the advantages and disadvantages of all of them.
Wells are probably the most popular and practical off the grid solution for getting water to your homestead. Wells have been used ever since people turned from hunting and gathering to farming, and they can provide a reliable source of fresh water for your off the grid lifestyle. Unfortunately, choosing well water comes at a literal cost. On average, getting a well drilled in the U.S. will run you around $5,500, and that cost only goes up the deeper you’re forced to drill. There are water tables that will show you whether your homestead is on ground that has water at an easily drillable depth. The water table can range from 100 feet below the surface in wet areas to 1,000 feet or more in desert areas. The water table in your area is an inevitable consideration when deciding whether you should drill a well on your land.
Fortunately, once your well is drilled and pump put into place, wells require very little maintenance. You’ll want to have it surveyed every few years to monitor the land for potential cave ins. You should also install a water treatment system such as those found at ecopurehome.com to ensure that your well water is potable.
Natural Spring Water
An easier and cheaper method of getting off-grid water is by taking advantage of natural springs. Springs are more or less nature’s equivalent of wells – they are deep fissures in the Earth that allow groundwater to well up. They don’t have the price tag of a well because there’s no drilling required, and they can be easily diverted and stored with just a few pipes.
Unfortunately, natural springs are also quite rare. A plot of land that contains a natural spring will often be far more expensive than a comparable plot of land without a natural spring. They are also susceptible to weather patterns and other environmental factors. Exceptionally hot or dry weather, nearby drilling or fracking, and pollution can all affect the amount and quality of water you’ll get from a natural spring.
Rain water is probably the easiest source of off the grid water to get started with. It’s free, easy to collect, and can be easily stored in large amounts. If you live in a climate with enough rainfall, rain water can be cleaner and more natural than spring or well water. There are a multitude of rain catchment systems, from the simplest tarp-and-pipe joints to more complicated and sophisticated catchment designs. Many of these catchment systems are easy to find online as well. You can easily do the math to find out if the rainfall in your area is sufficient to totally or partially support your off the grid lifestyle using rain water.
Natural River and Pond Water
If you’re considering an off the grid lifestyle, the idea of using natural river and pond water has probably crossed your mind. You may be wondering why it has taken this long for the possibility to come up. Unfortunately, the ability to use natural river and pond water is highly restricted in much of the United States, even if that natural water is present on the land you bought. In states with Appropriative Water Rights laws, those who use water from a river, pond, or stream may be fined if they’re found to have drawn over a relatively small amount. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be caught, there are other methods that aren’t tied up in legal quandaries and that won’t leave you liable to getting fined.