Friday, October 25, 2013

The joy of running water.

In a previous post I mentioned the importance of having easy access to fresh water. This is vital to having a successful homestead. Even economizing on water consumption, you will find that the act of getting a sufficient supply a constant nonstop process. If you are truly living off grid, the ability to have a well, is greatly diminished. Here in Alaska there are many places on the road system that have water delivered even to this day.
So yo can not underestimate your water requirements. Rain gutters are a very worthwhile investment. Even if you do not use the rain water for drinking, the reduction in water runs will be evident. Most of your water usage will be in doing dishes, bathing and other cleaning operations rather than drinking, so filtering and purifying other than your drinking water will not be required. The downside is that if it doesn't rain, you get no water.. So living near water is still essential.
In my case I have a freestone creek that runs through the north west corner of my property. This creek is both glacier, and runoff fed so it flows nicely all year long, and provides very cold clear water (except in case of a lot of rain which causes flooding and the introduction of a lot of tannin).
Several times a week I grab my 7 gallon reliant water jug, strap it to an old pack frame and head to the creek. I like the flat reliant for water runs, because it is easier to strap to the pack frame, and it submerges in the creek easier than the square aquatainer jugs that I set on my counter.
At the creek I have several pools that allow me to dram water quickly even in lower water conditions. By submerging the jug into the creek, I push down slightly on the side of the jug forcing air out. As I release the pressure the jug expands back and draws water in. doing this 8-10 times lets me fill the 7 gallon jug in less than a minute. I feel this is quite efficient.
I secure the jug to my pack frame with bungee cords which is quick, easy and secure. It is simply a quick walk back to the cabin to transfer the water into my aquatainer containers. This I do quickly with the aid of an old plastic 1.75 liter vodka bottle, that I cut the bottom out of, which turned it into a high volume funnel.
I can make three runs, which provides me with 21 +/- gallons of water in less than an hour. I fill two aquatainer jugs which I sit on my counter next to the sink. the spigot on these jugs are basically my sink/running water (for now). The remaining goes into two stockpots, which sit full time on a rack on top of the wood stove. This provides me with enough hot water to bathe, do dishes, and have some hot cider, etc.
The stock pots have lids which prevent the water from evaporating. One is designated for drinking purposes and is kept free of any soaps or other contaminants. The other is designated for dishes and other household chores.
The process is quite simple. I do the runs on foot and have no plans to cut an ATV trail the 100 yards of so to the creek. The runs provides me with exercise and clean fresh air. It also increases my chances of seeing game along the way.