Living Off Grid 101: Water

Stacy watering the gardenEditor’s Note: They’re back! Our guest bloggers Doug and Stacy are sharing with us today their journey of providing water for their off-grid home.

The one thing we cannot live without is WATER. Somehow that thought escaped us when we bought our 11 acres in the Midwest. We, being Doug and Stacy who homestead off grid on YouTube and other social media, came straight from city life. The property we found had a little of everything except the most important thing which was a water source. The pond on the property was the only source for water, and we thought putting in a well could be a good option. What we didn’t realize was the average cost of a well in our area is $10,000 and up. This is with no guarantee that you will even hit water! We came to our property with no debt and so spending that kind of money was not in the plan. We knew that this lifestyle was going to require being solution focused and patient.

Doug turning on faucetOf course, we need water daily. Our first solution to our water independence was a ceramic water dispenser with five-gallon water bottles which we filled at public fill center that used reverse osmosis with ultraviolet water purification. Reverse osmosis method is basically when water is forced across a semi-permeable membrane and contaminants are flushed and the clean drinking water collects. The ultraviolet purification is most effective for disinfecting bacteria. Since this process takes everything out of the water, we put minerals back into the water by using 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt per gallon of water in our bottles. We were striving for independence, so the next on our list was a getting a Berkey water filtration system. It is the leader in water purification in the world. We could even drink the water from our pond if we needed. We are always telling our friends to get a Berkey water system in case of a natural disaster and the water sources are contaminated or not working. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Our friends at Lehman’s carry a whole line up of Berkey units and filters.

Our next step to water independence was getting bulk water for our animals and garden. We looked into alternative ways to harvest water. In the meantime, we put a 275 gallon IBC (intermediate bulk container) tote on the back of our truck and filled it from our pond. This was requiring a lot of time and energy. We needed another way to harness a large amount of water for the whole homestead before we ran our pond dry. We then added four other 275 gallon IBC totes to our barn and animal structures to collect rainwater which really helped. Doug finally figured it out. It only took four years and thousands of gallons being hauled in gallon jugs, totes, and buckets, but we figured it out. We really could have used the shoulder yoke from Lehman’s during this time! We decided on a 3000 gallon gravity fed water system into our log home with two lawn hydrants for our animals. We dug 2 inch pipe 3 feet into the ground all the way from our barn (where water tanks are stored) to our sink with a three stage filtration system. Because the modern faucets have regulators, we even had to make our own faucet for our gravity fed system. This is where patience paid off. Not only do we have an awesome water system, but we saved over 60% of the cost of a well. Not to mention, rainwater is the purest form of water.

Water Tank

Our water tanks

Looking back, these past eight years have made us a stronger team and more resilient than ever. We are always looking at life being solution focused as opposed to problem focused. Water is life, and we appreciate it more than ever after this whole experience. One of our goals on our new homestead was to become more independent. Water independence was a huge step in our quest for sustainable living. Our philosophy is not to put all your eggs in one basket. That is why we still have a multiple ways of getting water. From the pond, ceramic water dispenser, Berkey water system, IBC totes, rain barrels, and 3000 gallon rainwater gravity fed system, we have life all around us.

Off Grid with Doug and StacyWant to learn more about off-grid living? Check out the other articles in Doug and Stacy’s Living Off Grid 101 series:
Heating 101

Lighting 101

You can also find Doug and Stacy on YouTube or Facebook.