How to Supply Water to an Off-Grid Homestead


Bobbi Peterson 

While it’s not a concern that many people consider, a steady and reliable water supply for your home can become an issue if you live an off-grid lifestyle. The abundant access to sewage services and freshwater in the 21st century has made water a utility that gets taken for granted, with farmers and homesteaders the concern becomes very real and more urgent. A completely self-sustainable lifestyle does not after all include the city utility department.

Going Off-Grid

Also known as dry cabins, homes aiming for full self-sufficiency are built without any indoor plumbing system, but can get reconfigured if the owners decide to tap into the local utility company or a generator. This change does not necessarily make you less environmentally friendly, but for the purposes of our topic here we’ll focus on homesteaders that choose to remain disconnected.

Off-grid homes and buildings will often generate their electricity from solar, wind and rain elements — which factors into the method of water production. This type of lifestyle, while difficult in the beginning has significant benefits. For yourself and your family, you reduce the financial burden of public utility costs as well as a greater control over your physical health. Environmentally, this lifestyle leans heavily on natural, green energy — helping you reduce your carbon footprint.

Finding Your Very Own Water Supply

8/15/2019 1:57:29 PM

We did a horizontal subsurface greywater constructed wetlands to process our wastewater from a household of 3 adults mostly and as many indoor cats. We followed the EPA manual to design its configuration, and pumped the water at the output end over to a small frog pond... we could eventually have moved it more simply once we knew how clean it would be long term but testing was needed. We did not use a lot of plants and in fact chose to keep the pea gravel fairly deep over the water level. The EPA tested the output in between the wetlands and the pond 3 times and each time we showed the health department and common pleas judge that the water we were using for the frog pond was cleaner than the creek water from the county database of testing. We could have added the storm water from the roof for extra needs and that would have overwhelmed our indoor needs based on our actual grid water usage patterns [less than 500 gal/mth/person] and our local rain data... Why would this not be a blessed proof of concept, using jenkins composting toilets as we did, for over 6 years of observations of happy frogs at least. We are in the 5000 hdd climate of SW ohio and had nearly an inch of rain per week over a 2000sf roof. Those who claim constructed wetlands fail up in winter climates, are stupidly either not doing composting toilets or they imitate the dumb septic system [by putting a cesspool first and, after that freezes the lovin bacteria, scream that nothing gets cleaned in the wetlands at the end of the cesspool segment]... it's the bacteria that you have to keep happy and healthy..... ttyl and you don't want to know about the courtroom corruption... all the way to supreme court and back... best as always

12/22/2017 10:07:21 AM

Bobbi, great information about dry cabin water consideration. I have an urban vacant city lot that I am developing into a garden. On this .63 acre lot, I have a natural spring that I am developing into a water source for watering the garden. So far I have one barrel sunk into the spring to fill with ground water to pump into my make shift water tower. It worked really well last year and I'm hoping to get some automatic irrigation systems going this year that work by gravity. ***** At my home I catch rain water from my roof and use it for the four raised beds in the back yard. ***** Do you live off grid? ***** Have a great water conservation day. ***** Nebraska Dave

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters