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lessons learned on the journey toward independence

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Independent Water Systems

Water is so critical! You simply can't live without it. Yet the typical country homestead is totally dependent on utility companies for water. With an asset of such vital importance, it is only wise to set up your homestead in such a way that will enable you to have water no matter what happens to the power company or critical infrastructure. The following hypothetical examples are to bring to your attention options for setting up a water system that does not depend on utilities companies. Just find the example that most closely fits the piece of land you are looking at and then the "Solutions" will give you one or more options that could work for you. First, you will need to find your building site and determine how many feet in elevation your water source is above or below it (how to do this). If there is no surface water on the property, you will need to have a well drilled or bored. In that case, look at examples #5 & #7. Just remember, as long as there is water on the land or within several hundred feet of the surface, there is usually a way to have an independent water system. It just depends on how much work and money you are willing to put into it.

A Word About Water Pressure
In the following examples, we will be relying extensively on gravity to supply water pressure, when possible. Learn more about the gravity principle. We state that your water cistern must be a minimum of 40 feet above your home in order to have enough water pressure from gravity. This yields approximately 17 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure which is nearly the lowest water pressure we are aware of that will function properly with all appliances you are likely to operate in your home. While it is possible to use lower pressure than this, we cannot guarantee that all your appliances that use water will work correctly. All this does not necessarily mean that 17 PSI is "normal" water pressure. Standard water pressure is usually from 20-55 PSI (usually more than 20 PSI, though). So be sure you are willing to accept less than normal pressure before you place your water cistern at the minimum elevation above the point of use. Also, the cistern must be 40 feet in elevation above the point of use - that means the 2 nd story of your house if it contains plumbing. This is especially important for systems that are marginal on the lower end of the spectrum.

Water System Example #1 - Spring or Water Source 40 Feet or More Above House

Water System Example #2 - Spring or Water Source Less Than 40 Feet Above House

Water System Example #3 - Using a Ramp Pump

Water System Example #4 - Using a Gasoline Powered or DC Water Pump

Water System Example #5 - Dealing with Wells

Water System Example #6 - Cistern Is Not Above the House

Water System Example #7 - Spring & Creek Combo

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