If you are the proud owner of a remote cabin that is not tied into the grid then you will understand the importance of having a constant supply of clean drinking water.
Owners of country cabins often opt to dig a well for the provision of water, but this can be an expensive undertaking. Off-grid cabins, even those with wells, need to be able to get water to the living areas.
Water Storage on the property
Once you get a source of water, you will need to store it somewhere on your property. In the situation where the property has a well, the water is pumped as needed since it’s stored underground. You will still need to have a pressure tank that already stores small amounts of water. If the water is coming from another source then you will need to be able to store a large enough quantity to last for longer periods.
Water storage options include:
- An underground water tank: These are especially suited to areas that freeze in winter, but are inconvenient because of the digging required; they need to be placed quite deep and the top of the tank needs to be below the frost depth of the area. Underground tanks are hard to get to if a repair is needed and are also not easy to clean out. The pipes leading from the tank to the cabin need to be insulated in the areas where they are above ground or above frost depth. Underground tanks need to be built to withstand pressure and the weight of the ground. All in all, this is an expensive solution.
- Inside a barn or other building: This is a cheaper solution for areas that freeze in winter. Make sure that the pipes leading from the tank to the cabin are well insulated.
- Above ground: There are a number of reasonably priced water storage tanks on the market. Since there is always the danger of freezing during a colder spell it is always a good idea to prepare the tanks and pipes for winter by emptying them. If you will be visiting your cabin in winter you will have to make sure that you take drinking water with since you won’t have the convenience of turning on the faucet for bathing and cooking.
Collecting water for your tanks
- Rainwater collection: Rainwater is one of the easiest ways to collect water and most that do usually don’t need water from any other source. The roof of a cabin is the best place to collect rainwater from. Install gutters with downspouts that guide the water through piping and a filtration system straight into water tanks.
- Streams or springs: Even though you cannot drink water directly from a stream it can be a great source of usable water. It is best to boil stream water for rinsing dishes, but it can be used as is for washing with soap. The best way to collect stream water into a water tank is with a pump.
Springs are a better source of water as their water is usually cleaner as it’s filtered through sand and rock.
Purified drinking water
It is not necessary to run all your water through a filtration system as it can be very costly. Water that is to be used for cleaning purposes can be run through a simple process of fine sand.
Water Filter Systems
Your drinking water has to be clean and the safest way to ensure that it’s purified is to filter it. Pitcher filter systems are not recommended because they are designed to filter water that is already clean and reverse osmosis systems need pressure to function.
The most recommended system for water filtration and purification for off-grid situations is the Berkey Water System. There are six sizes to choose from and can hold from 1.5 gallons to 6 gallons of water. By running water through the top canister to the bottom through the Black Berkey Water Filters you will have purified drinking water that has no odors or an unpleasant taste. Berkeys do not need electricity or pressure and work through the force of gravity and the water from any source will be made potable including stagnant pools.
Other than a filtration system you can chlorinate water using household bleach at 5 and ¾ cups to 275 gallons of water and allow it to stand for at least 30 minutes before drinking. Boiling water will also purify it of germs and bacteria but it will not remove sediment.
Whatever you decide, make sure that you always have a fresh supply of drinking water on hand when at your cabin.