Having your own source of water is one of the most invaluable assets for your survival. It will save you from relying on water companies for your daily needs and irrigation of your farm. If you live by a creek or stream that has enough fast-flowing water, this can serve as your primary source, provided that it is clean. However, if you don’t live by a creek or stream, here are a couple of off-the-grid water sources are simple to get started and are accessible to most people.
Dig a well
Digging a well is the most common alternative, off-the-grid water source. About 97% of Earth’s freshwater supply is found beneath its surface. There are over 15 million water wells in the U.S. alone.
It is perfectly legal to drill your own well, but check with your local regulatory authorities: some areas require a permit for drilling over 200 feet. Check where your current water provider’s pipes are before you start drilling, to ensure you don’t hit them.
Digging your own well requires three important steps: siting, drilling, and testing the water. Siting refers to groundwater exploration, or checking to see where a well would be feasible on your farm. You can dig any hole and water will always come up, but the goal is to have a well that will consistently provide you with clean water. You can consult with your local geological office to find the “sweet spot.”
Wells should always be at least 50 feet away from buried fuel tanks, septic tank systems, barnyards, cesspools, and any other element that could contaminate your water. Avoid digging wells where water already appears at ten feet or less, as this is most likely not a true well. A good indication that you’ve found a viable spot is if the grass grows greenest even during the hottest days of summer.
Once you have chosen a site, you must decide what kind of water pump system you want to use, as well as calculating how much tubing, filters, and tank storage you will need. Too much, and you might drain your well dry within a few months.
You can dig your own well—there is no lack of video demonstrations and tutorials for this—if you have the time, resources and expertise necessary. But there are also professionals who can do this for you and, as drilled wells have become increasingly common, prices have lowered significantly. Professionals can also help you with the paperwork necessary and will guide you through any problems you encounter in starting and maintaining your well. [101 ways to prepare for an emergency (e-book)]
If you don’t want to dig a well or don’t have the space, you can opt for rainwater harvesting, especially if you live in an area far from an urban center. Rainwater can be used for a variety of purposes. There are new, sophisticated rainwater collection systems you can set up outside your home using large cisterns, a system of pipes, and filters, to maximize rainwater collecting and to make sure the water that comes in is clean and uncontaminated. These rainwater collecting or harvesting systems are easy to install and are very efficient.
If you want to go the old school route, you can place large drums under gutters and pipes and make your own filtering system, then build a large cistern that can hold vast quantities of the rainwater you collect for future use.
As with anything survival-related, depending on public services will be your biggest downfall. Mass provision of water will be the first thing to go in the case of disaster. Never forget – you are the only person you can depend on in the event of a true disaster so get prepared!