Water Storage Hassles I've Faced During My Off-Grid Life

 Large Home Rainwater Collection System

 A large-scale home rainwater catchment system may work for some.
Photo by Flickr/aquamechanical

Water: the elixir of life. Don’t waste it, and appreciate it always. This mantra will really come into focus when you live in town serviced by city water, but find yourself in a disaster situation of going without for a couple days. Imagine the faucet of your bathtub wears out and starts streaming water non-stop and your only option is to turn off the water at the city meter to cease the endless money from flowing down the drain. 

You check for parts for the faucet, but it is old and can’t be repaired. The only plan is to tear the wall apart to replace the faucet. Not having the knowledge or tools to solder copper pipe,  you call your plumber. Because it is after 5:00pm, you get the answering service saying they will call you back. After not getting a call back for 15 hours (it's now 9:00am), you call again, moving the plumber to assure you that they will get someone there by the end of the day. $1,700 later, the issue is repaired but the plumber has the same problem you do: turning on the city shut off; It is stuck. At this point, you are in after hours, so you leave a message with the city to come turn the water back on. Total time elapsed without water is 41 hours and a reminder that water is precious.

My Off-Grid Ubringing Informs My Views on Water

I remember years ago reading a book by Senator Paul Simon about how water is the most important commodity and that many wars would be fought over this necessity. Indeed, they already have. It is the main component in our bodies, and people have died from water deprivation after a few days. Growing up off the grid, I consider running hot water the pinnacle of modern civilization.

How little water can you survive on say for a week? I keep enough half-gallon glass bottles stored in my kitchen to last me a week and rotate them by drinking from them. So, in the above scenario, I had enough water to drink. I tried to create  a habit of keeping the bathtub full to have water to flush the toilet but could never seem to keep the habit going. I do have a 5-gallon bucket full of water that could, with conservation, flush for a week.

I have had the water be out on the farm for over 10 days waiting for the pump-repair company to pull out and replace the pump. I needed to haul water from the pond for washing and toilet flushing. In the city, that is not an option, but rainwater catchment is a good alternative.

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