The explosion in commerce has brought on some revolutionary changes in the way people live. Cities are sprawling and dense, and housing and rent prices are often very high in metropolitan areas. As a result, energy use is very high. Environments are constantly being changed, dammed, irrigated, or developed, and commodities like water are regulated by a complex piping system that can be prone to cracks and leaks. For this and other reasons, some people prefer to live off the grid.
Buying or building your own home in the country can be a liberating experience. Gone are the crowds, the noise, the bustle, and now you’re surrounded with trees, grass, and acres of land. However idyllic your new surroundings are, you still have some things to consider; power and water may now be an issue. It is likely that your new home cannot easily be piped to any municipal water system, so you may be considering installing your own. Several eco-friendly and natural alternatives to municipal water systems are at your ready disposal.
Wind Powered Pumps
As the name suggests, this is a water pump powered by wind. Though it looks similar to windmills, an important distinction between wind-powered pumps and windmills is that the blades of a windmill are spaced farther apart and fewer. Wind pumps are designed with closely-spaced blades so they can turn slowly with higher torque when the wind is low.
Similar to wind powered pumps in that they require no power from a grid, solar powered water pumps are powered by a solar array which charges a 48-90-volt submersible pump with direct current. Like wind powered pumps, they can be limited when certain conditions are not met. A caveat emptor for any potential buyer of a solar-powered pump is to keep in mind that during pre-dawn and late afternoon hours, the amperes needed to start the pump may not be sufficient. However, optional pump controllers can be purchased which, simply, store excess power to be used when there is not enough solar power.
Harvesting and Purifying Rainwater
A natural and eco-friendly alternative to using electricity to draw water is to catch it. Rain harvesting has been used for thousands of years, originally using stone flooring and layers of sand as filtering mesh while gravity feeds the filtered water to the bottom of the well. These days, rainwater harvesting is much simpler, with basic plumbing directing water from ground runoffs or rooftops through a filtration system into a well. It is much easier and cost-effective than alternatives, but a large well and capturing area is recommended for water restoration during dry spells.
Digging a Well
A time-honored method for self-sufficient water provision is well digging. This involves digging a well deep enough to submerge into a water source, and then using a means of drawing the water out. A cistern pump can be used, but electric submersible pumps are also an option should you wish to run them off of wind or solar power. A well in proximity to a rural home is much more reliable than a pond or creek (whose levels can vary if the season is dry) or rainwater harvesting (where dry spells can also be a problem).
Before digging a well, you need a water surveyor and an installation technician. Start by calling American Water Systems, who is experienced in using scientific survey equipment to find the best location for your well. American Water Surveyors has decades of experience. When you know exactly where to drill, you save on the costs and hassles of drilling a dry or shallow well.