Water. Its something we all need, have to have, can’t live without.
Right now, we purchase all of our water – potable or otherwise. Either in 3 gallon jugs or the usual 16 ounce bottles. For the house, we plan on a rather large rainwater collection system gravity fed to the various outlets. To start with, it will be used for toilet flushing, washing clothes and irrigation. We are still looking into the options for filtration and increasing pressure for use in sinks and shower verses a well or city water.
The thought process is really simple – cost. City water – It is $1,000 for water meter hook up, plus running the pipe 500 feet to the house (quick figures shows about $4,000). The bill is a minimum $85 per month PLUS water usage making the average family of 4’s water bill about $125/month. Being twice the size of a normal family, we are looking at $165 monthly for water. To dig the well we are looking around $1,500 plus pump, filters, storage tank, pressure tank – which all require electricity of some sort. Being as off grid as possible, all of that would greatly increase our solar/wind need. Filters for this system would run around $80 per month.
Eventually we will get electricity ran, we will dig a well and have all of that installed. Until then, we still need something. Rainwater collection is something we can start as soon as we have a roof and a few large water containers (purchased used of course!) Another plus is when we do get the well and filters, we will not be wasting precious filtered, drinking water to flush a toilet.
As for sewage, being on a lot larger then 10 acres we have a lot more flexibility when it comes to septic systems. Again, a septic system is around $1500 not installed. We plan to do an upgraded 55 gallon drum system while we save the money up for a “true” septic. The only things ran to the septic will be toilet and kitchen water because those are “black water”. The rest will be piped separate for gray water. The gray water will be piped to the front yard “pretty” plants and grass. Yes it is a bit more cost and work up front – but its only slightly used water that can be used in place of “fresh” water for those things.
Tada! For the cost of a few barrels and some pipe – about $300 – we will have the basic start to running water! (OK, not exactly that simple, but close!)