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An Intro to Homestead Water Sources

An Intro to Homestead Water Sources
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Securing an off-grid water source is a top priority. You can live comfortably on your property without electricity, but living without water is a different story. Everyone wants to have the convenience and security of a water source on your property.

If you’re just beginning your research, here is an outline of the most popular water sources for homesteading.

Dig a well

Digging a well can provide a sustainable, off-grid water source … in the right circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s not practical to dig a well everywhere. In some places, you can throw a stone and be guaranteed to hit a spot that will yield water (if you drill down about 50 feet, of course). In other places, hitting water is a big gamble. Given how expensive it is to drill a well, you want to be sure your money will pay off.

Second, there’s the type of pump to consider. If you have solar panels, wind mills or some other means with which to generate electricity, an electric pump can easily transfer the water from the well into your home. Otherwise, you’ll be hand-pumping water into jugs every day, and even for someone prepared to live a simpler life, that can quickly become tedious.


Cisterns are essentially large water tanks that offer a variety of arrangements to suit your needs. The greatest advantage of a cistern is that it can be buried below the frost line, preventing the water from freezing during the winter. Being underground also means that you’ll have to worry less about anything growing in the water after being exposed to sunlight. You can even buy special sensors for measuring liquids that will tell you how much water is left in your cistern at any given time.

Regardless, cisterns can also be useful above ground, and smaller cisterns are portable and fit on the bed of a pick-up truck. This allows you to go to a community water source to fill the cistern cheaply. Otherwise, you can have potable water delivered to your property. Of course, this means you won’t be 100% self-reliant, but chances are it’s cheaper in the long run than using city water.

Above-ground cisterns may not require a pump, depending on their size and location, but they certainly need one when underground.

Well + Cistern

It’s worth pointing out a popular combination of a well plus a cistern. You periodically pump water from the well into a cistern for easier access and to keep a supply of clean water handy for a period of time. If anything happens to the quality of your well water, you have some reserves in the cistern to get you by in an immediate crisis.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are an excellent option if you get regular rainfall and have a roof from which to collect the rain. The greater the surface area, the more water you’ll be able to collect. If you go through dry spells after a rainy or monsoon season, it’s wise to send the overflow into a cistern for regular use. Be sure to treat the water for potability when collecting rainwater.

Tell us about your water source in the comments below!

Published inGeneral BuildingKitchen & Farm

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