One of my rituals is that I wake up every morning and quickly go outside to walk around and see how the day looks. This morning I did the same and it is sunny and chilly. Felt like 25°F to me but that may be because there is snow on the ground from Monday and I was still in full shadow from the mountain.
I melted some of that snow for my houseplants because my tap water makes them sick. I buy cleaned water to drink and cook since I don’t want to be sick either. If you have ever kept tropical fish, you know they die if put in tap water.
Water is the most important factor here in the western US and I have improved my soil’s ability to retain natural rainwater for my plants but have done little to obtain fresh rainwater for myself.
I know, I have been busy in the market economy and did earn enough to pay a substantial chunk extra against my small mortgage, and I increased my food security here in my Food Forest. Not to mention the 5 tons of concrete block moved to prep for a small house and increase my winter warmth and set up my two year old blueberries that were still in pots. But…. water is critical.
Just so you know, you cannot legally collect a drop of rainwater in Colorado because farmers lay claim to most of it for watering crops that should never be grown in a desert to begin with. That is why I am creating a Food Forest that utilizes the available water and is heavy on local species that can survive on less than 16 inches of rain. Nothing else is sustainable. Prickly Pears are good eats! They are also grown commercially in Mexico
Six acres adjacent to mine has a spot that would make a good pond, and catches runoff from my hill. After I pay for mine, I will consider the feasibility of making an offer on that acreage.
I saw a short film online about burying pipe on a hill and getting water out the bottom end. I don’t get a sense of it and they did not explain.
Next summer I will complete my water collection system on the shed. It has composite shingles which are toxic, but I plan to replace them with a metal roof. The building roof is about 12 by 12, so it won’t cost much.
I already cut the tree limb that rotted the fascia board and replaced the fascia board. Then I painted the board. For water catchment, I plan to recycle an old refrigerator I have and install a faucet designed for that.
As far as water security, this is not going to cover my personal needs, since a 12 by 12 roof will capture less than 4 gallons per day on average at 16 inches annual rainfall. Survival, maybe, but I’d sure have to hang my bloomers outside to be rained on to approximate cleanliness. Not to mention allowing my little potlicker to preclean dishes.
I have a small garage on the drawing board, and it could add about 8 gallons per day. Twelve gallons approaches cooking and dishwashing, critical items. Nothing in there for bathing! Now I start understanding the dearth of bathing in pioneer days.
I plan a low cistern under my greenhouse. The water will moderate the greenhouse temperature and the greenhouse will moderate the cistern temperatures. It needs a solar pump inside to pump water up into the greenhouse. No extra water for me!
For drinking water, I plan a solar water purifier. It works like rain. A basin of water is evaporated and collects on a glass surface. The surface is sloped and the evaporated water slides down until it goes into a clean basin and drains out into a holding tank, most commonly a five gallon jug. These have instructions online and are relatively easy to make. I call them no – tech because they don’t have moving parts. They merely use principles of basic physics. You can buy them as well. This is my number one project for next summer. Even if I only have 4 gallons per day to run through it!
I have no shot at having water security in the near future; however, if your house is larger, at least 1000 square feet, you do have enough to gain water security for yourself, but necessarily enough for food production. I encourage you to separate your most crucial survival need from dependence on the grid. Even though my situation is somewhat harder, I will think about it to see how I can improve my water security. For me that means eating from a native Food Forest and capturing water. Something more durable than tarps.