Harvesting Water at Home

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Harvesting Water at Home

Stockpiling water will only take you so far, no matter how much you have. The problem is the vast amount of water we need and the limited space we have to store it in. Unless you have an underground lake underneath your home, chances are, you’ll run out of water.

The solution that most writers offer is to find places near your home that you can harvest water from. Most of us live within walking distance of some body of water, whether it be a river or pond. There are also public fountains and pools, which water can be gathered from. All of those are possibilities; but they are possibilities which contain inherent risks, as you have to leave your home daily in search of water.

Let me clarify something right here. Although most survival instructors and writers will tell you that you need a gallon of water per person, per day, they add the caveat “for drinking and cooking.” But we use water for many more things than just that. Even in a time of crisis, when we have to conserve water as much as possible, we’re still going to have to clean clothes, bathe and clean our homes. Those things are all important for helping prevent the spread of disease, the handmaiden of disasters. So we really need more like five gallons per person, per day to survive. But only one gallon needs to be purified.

So, where are we going to come up with that much water from? Hauling 20 or more gallons of water home per day doesn’t sound like an effective use of time, especially in a survival situation where there will be lots of other work that needs to be done.

That leaves us with harvesting water on our property. There are two basic means for doing this:

Drill a Well

Generally speaking, a well is the most secure water source you can have. The one big drawback is cost. Drilling a well is rather expensive, especially since you usually have to hire a contractor to do it for you. There would also be a need to have a manual pump or a way of producing power for the electric pump in a post-disaster situation.

If the water table is high where you live, then it might be possible to do a driven well, rather than a drilled one. A driven well is where a well point is literally pounded into the ground. As it goes down, additional pieces of steel pipe are added, until water is reached. The one big problem is that the pumps will only work to a depth of about 20 feet, so this method is limited.

Rainwater Capture

For most people, the thing to do is to use rainwater capture. If your home already has gutters and downspouts installed, than all you need is rain barrels to turn that into a rainwater capture system.

While rainwater capture may not seem like a good option for you, if you live in an arid area, it’s still worth doing. Even the most arid parts of the country have rain sometimes. Capturing that rain will add to the water you have available, even if you can’t capture enough for all your needs.

The biggest problem with most rainwater capture systems is that there isn’t enough water holding capacity. But that’s actually a fairly easy problem to solve. All that’s needed is to add additional rain barrels, with pipes between them, so that the overflow from the first one goes to the second and so on.