water usage in off grid living

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by rsbhunter, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Just curious if anyone that is off grid has to have their water brought in, and more importantly, how much do you use ? (per month approx.) As stated in other posts, my land is right at 10,000 ft, and the option for a well is zero.... I know that this is a must have, and i'm figuring on a 1000 gal in ground tank, and very probably a 1000 gal above ground tank, that will be usable maybe 8 months of the year (freezing).The town that is 12 miles from my place (in the mnts), and at about 7,000 ft is -4 at 8:40 this morning!!!! anyway, just curious how much is used in the "real" world, not the books!!! Also, if anybody has any hints, or ideas on ways to wisely use the water, clothes washing, garden etc, it would be a help...i will be using a composting toilet, and using my grey water for garden. Just figure that there are alot of folks here that are serious about living off grid, best to go to the source...Thanks for any help...rsbhunter
  2. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I can tell you that the average monthly usage for 2 people in a single family residential home on the city tit *where I am* is 2000-3000 gallons. If they're elderly or not working the use often hovers around 1000 gallons a month. (fewer showers and laundry I guess) If they have teenage daughters, 4-6k.

    I can't think how many irate phone calls I've fielded over the past few years from people demanding to know how just 2 people could use 4000 gallons of water in 30 days. If everyone bathes every day, does laundry a few times a week, runs the dishwasher, leaves the sink running while brushing their teeth or scrubbing the sink, mops once a week, etc, that water use racks up.

    The Mr and I have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 chickens. Also several large garden beds, 2 rows of grapevines, a row of blackberries and raspberries in our back yard. Two summers ago our max use was 33,000 gallons in a single month. Needless to say we've made a lot of changes since then.... adding a pool was not one of the water reducing ones though.[rofllmao]

    Make sure you have NO LEAKS in your supply lines. Just because you don't see water or a wet spot in the yard doesn't mean you don't have a leak underground that is costing you water. I have a chart at the office that shows how much a day a leak loses based on it's size and a miniscule leak can average a few hundred gallons a month. Nothing when you're on the city tit, but if you're on a well or on a catchment system that's bad.

    To go off the grid will take a whole new mindset about water usage.
    hank2222 likes this.
  3. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    Water is the life and i hate to sound like a broken record but you have to drill a well or do not use the land in the time of shtf .

    I keep my water in a 55 gallon sized barrel -x-3-barrels and i use about 20.gallons a day for cooking and bathing when i'm at the cabin .The water is bought into the barrel by a hand pump and the water is pumped into the shower by a 12.volt rv high pressure pump to make the shower work .

    The water is pumped through a filtering system by hand as it comes into the water storage barrels then it pumped into a small pressure tank to make the pressure of a rv style shower or kitchen sink or laundry unit work in the shelter .

    The run off from the kitchen sink and shower flush the toliet and that use a 3.qts of grey water per flush .The grey water is held in a 10.gallon tank and it used to flush a marine style toliet .the water is pumped up by hand then it flush the tank

    The rest of the grey water is allowed to go outside the cabin through a small outlet value that comes out of the shelter side is screwed into a long flexable 2.inch round hose system that inturns screws into a 4.inch round pvc plastic pipe that been laid out in a french style drain around the shelter base .It filled with fine sand & course sand mixed into the diff sized peagravel & smooth diff sized river bed rock to make the bed mixture of sand and rocks at diff levels to let the grey water filter itself as it goes back into the ground before reaching the well water in the area
  4. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    rsbhunter. Well, I have water brought in and have for about 16 years now. I use a 1500 gal black plastic tank outside with little or no problems. The only time it froze was last year when it was -22 for several days, and then only the top 6" of the water froze. The black plastic tanks need to be where they catch the most sun all day and that helps with keeping from freezing, even when buried with snow.

    Water lasts different people different lengths of time depending on usage. We save all of our dishwater etc and use it to flush the toilets most of the time. You would be surprised how much that helps out. Also, we do NOT have a dishwasher etc. Even a washing machine will use a large amount of water. Rather go into town every two weeks and use one of the local laundromats and do it all at once. There water, and there elect. Remember , I also live on solar, so don't waste my power. This looks like one of the day s I will soon have to fire up one of my gennies to make up the difference as there is no sun. Snow coming in tonight and tomorrow again.
  5. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I am in the process of building a roof water catch system, which should also cut down on the amount of water to buy or bring in. I have the rain gutters up, but am waiting for spring before I hook them all up. I have gutters on my house front and back, and then my solar building and small shops will also all be on gutters . The next thing will be to build a sand filter system and should make the water ALMOST drinkable, but will still go through a good filter system in the house before I drink or cook with any of it. But for most other things the water would be invaluable, plus it is free once you have it all set up. As much rain you would get up there in colorado high up, you may be able to capture all or most of your water needs by doing the same thing. Just think, if you built a lot bigger roof then you need, especially for your solar panels etc how much water you could collect in one rain storm. When you are building your solar equip. building, think about keeping your gennie under the same roof but NOT in your battery/inverter room. And of course you could use if for a carport etc with little or no trouble. Rain+Gutters+bypass water spouts+ barrels or second water tank+ smiles !
    rsbhunter and hank2222 like this.
  6. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    In a real bad SHITF water will be only used for drinking. Washing machines use about 60 gallons and burn too much energy, plan on using a wash tub with a wash board. Out houses will likley be a must, no flushing just diggin and burying. In most countries water is expensive and hard to get, were still luckey here although water distructs are raising rates so fast that cheap water is becoming a thing of the past
    Falcon15 and rsbhunter like this.
  7. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    off grid water

    I can understand the staggering amounts of water usage that happens, but like Nadja, i know that the water is to be treated just like elec., within boundries... There are people living "in the valley" near my land (7000ft) that live year round with 1000 gal tanks, thats where i got the guesstimate for the tank size. This will be for two people, upper 50's in age, that know that it's use MUST be minimized every day....The laundry will be done in town, it's only 12 miles, and with rain fall and PLENTY of snow, i can catch a good deal for non potable uses....The one example of 33,000 gallons use is typical, if your on city water...but once you become self reliant, to an extent, you realize that the free ride is over, and you pay for your actions....It will be an adjustment, but so is getting older, and i like the getting older option better than the other option!!!! Thanks for the replies, and keep em coming............rsbhunter
    hank2222 likes this.
  8. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I found some how to's on building a large sand filter and will put that to good use on my collection systems. Doesn't look to hard or expensive at all to build.
    larryinalabama likes this.
  9. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Sounds interesting any links?
    hank2222 likes this.
  10. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Filter system

    Nadja, somehow i'm not surprised that you found that info, if i could have a water well as deep as your (and others) information well, i would shower 6 times a day....just cuz i could!!!! I plan on being as self reliant as possible, b'cuz it might be a necessity one day, and until someone tells me when that day is, i will try to prepare for it ahead of time...Any info on any water, solar, elec, firestoves (looking at the "Rocket mass stove" REAL hard), and any other tidbits of info will be of use to everyone here....I already have lots of "stuff" put back, including, magnesium shavings for fire starting, blast match, TP, and first aid supplies that are just the tip of the ice berg i'm working on....Thanks for all the replys, and i'll post thoughts and ideas and items that maybe of use to all here....rsbhunter
  11. Kajungizmo

    Kajungizmo Monkey++

    Don't overlook what goes into your greywater tank. (I recommend one) Some soaps and harsh cleaning chemicals can ruin crops in the garden. It's wise to use "biodegradeable" stuff if you buy from the market, but read the labels! An ounce of prevention...

    rsbhunter likes this.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    RSB... I have a blog that may be of interest to you. In it I talk about Water, Power, and Building Off-Grid.... It is written for Alaska, but many of the concepts are universal. You might just want to take a look. It is about a 15 minute read. .... YMMV....
    Alaska Wilderness Building - Survival Monkey Forums

    Just an aside... Colt Carbine is a GREAT source of Plumbing and Water System Information... He is a Professional.....
    Ganado and rsbhunter like this.
  13. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I'd throw up a few small dam's to catch and hold some of the runoff.?
  14. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    There are quite a few on you tube. You the link below to get you there and then you will find about everything under the sun on water collections and filters .,.....

    Slow Sand Water Filter - YouTube
    larryinalabama and rsbhunter like this.
  15. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    water management and "creature" comforts

    THIS is awesome!!!!!! BTPost, i read alittle of your blog, (will read it in it's entirety) this evening....Nadja, as always, you come up with places to find things that i don't think of....I had seen the UV "steriPens" in some of my hunting,OOPS, i mean food procurement magazines, and really was impressed. To find out it can be used in a water system, NEVER crossed my mind...that is genius! It is good to know that there are alot of like minded people, who are willing to share.I am feeling better about this project already, because of the scope of knowledge here. And what makes it pure gold, is that you are all living it, not just giving B.S. scenarios of how it could be done!!!! Thanks again, it's like Christmas when i open up this link!!!rsbhunter
  16. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    rsbhunter and larryinalabama If you go to the site listed above, you will see a lot of really good info on sand filters, both large and small. Even then though, I would still take it the next step to purify if before drinking or cooking. Just look around there and you will find a lot of like minded sites, including rain water collection etc. Some good and some bad of course.
  17. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    You may want to be carefull of that. In some states, it would be illegal, and also, the blm may step in as it is divirting water.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  18. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Making a dam

    Nadja, you are right. until just recently, it was ILLEGAL in colorado to catch rainwater....i know, most of you are saying BS! , But it was a law...Luckily it has been done away with...it amazes me that ANY government agency or branch, can deny a person the rain that falls from the heavens!!!!!!!!!! I am planning on using my 1000 gal inground tank for drinking water, and the 1000 gal above tank (filled with runoff) for any other usage, as i plan on having metal roof, and no trees in the immediate area(overhanging) it should help keep the runoff water fairly clean. As far as keeping the greywater safe for garden usage, i had planned on making some homemade soap from lard (fat) and lye, as was done long ago....is that a bad idea for soap? What are some of the "safe" products, or homemade washing items ??? Started a photo album with some of the pics of my land, if it helps with the type of land i have....
    hank2222 and Nadja like this.
  19. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Not knowing just how you intend to lay out your place, is there anyway that you can build you solar room and extend that roof to cover your water tank ? If so, it will give you more run off water in the same place as well as a nice place to install your solar panels. You need to make sure the roof is lined up due south. Not the same as a compass as that is magnetic north/south. You need to find out the declinaction of your area for correct solar panel alignment.
  20. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I would blame it on the beaver's...But then again if the SHTF...The BLM won't be around...All options are at one's disposal...

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