Two water systems
Mark's a big fan of
backups, and our dual water system is a good example of why his
methodology is perfect for the farm. As I've written previously,
we have two water systems --- one for potable (drinking) water and one
for nonpotable water.
water system involves pumping water from the creek to a 1,000
gallon tank. The creek drains a large watershed, so the water is
only moderately pure, meaning it's only good for washing and
irrigation. But there's a lot of it, and once we fill the tank,
water gravity-feeds to the house with no need for electricity for about
a month. That means during power outage situations, we still have
a lot of semi-pure water with little effort that we can use for washing
hands, dishes (with a bit of bleach), and clothes. On the
negative side, though, we haven't quite got this waterline to the point
where it doesn't freeze when lows drop into the mid-teens, although
water does start flowing again pretty quickly once temperatures rise
above freezing. So we spend what amounts to perhaps five full
days a year with the nonpotable water inaccessible due to cold weather.
potable water supply is pumped up out of a shallow well (which looks
like a dark box in the photo at the top of this post), then is piped
through a sediment
filter and a UV light,
before ending up in the new,
Mark recently installed in our kitchen. The main benefit of the
well is that we own its entire (small) watershed and the land is
completely wooded, so our well water is almost certainly free of
pesticides and herbicides. There's much less of the well water,
though, and it seems wasteful to run water through the UV light
(requiring electricity) and a sediment filter (that has to be changed
every few months) for uses other than washing and cooking. On the
other hand, the line never freezes, so as long as we have power, we
have water of some sort.
Having two systems means
we probably spend twice as long fixing things that inevitably go wrong,
and it definitely cost more to set up than a single system would
have. But it's nice knowing that our water supply is completely
under our own control, and I suspect we end up paying less than
neighbors on city water even in a climate where water is
plentiful. There are several other options that could have worked
as well --- collecting rainwater off the roof, using different kinds of
filters --- but this system seems to suit our farm very well.
Our chicken waterer keeps chickens from fouling
their clean drinking water.
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