alternative water sources

Alternative Water Sources to Consider for Going Off the Grid

Jane Marsh - November 25, 2019

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Not all water comes from a city tap. Sure, it’s convenient to link up with a supplier who funnels H2O straight to your home. However, it’s not always the earth-friendliest or safest. Plus, you’re beholden to a company and a monthly bill. The city-wide water supply can pause or shut down in case of a major emergency. If you’ve set up a self-reliant system, however, you have less to worry about. Are you ready to go off of the grid? If so, consider one of these five alternative water sources for your home.

1. Personal Well

An on-site supply of water reduces your dependence on city-wide resources. In the U.S., the average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day. You will need to dig a well to access your land’s natural resources.

Digging a well requires you to consider the upfront costs. You should also think about future re-digs. Not all wells last forever. However, it’s the best option for going off the grid, water-wise.

2. Water Pump

You have your well. Now you need a couple more installations before fresh water flows to your home. One piece of the puzzle is your water pump. A pump powered by solar or wind energy will allow you to complete separation from the grid. You should also install a hand-operated system. If you lose power, a hand pump will sustain your system until it comes back on.

With a self-reliant system, you can avoid stocking up on bottled water in case of an emergency, which is often contaminated. During one study, experts found microplastics, tiny bits of plastics, in 93% of the water bottles tested. Every liter of water contained an average of 325 particles. Compared to tap water, bottled water contains about twice as much plastic.

3. Water Storage

If you want to take your home off the grid, save water in preparation for an emergency. Gather jugs and other containers and fill them with water — whether from a city-supplied source or your own. This effort is ongoing. You can add to your water storage over time. Water from a river, stream or lake will also work. Remember that water pulled from natural sources might contain contaminants.

Common chemicals found in our water supply include lead, arsenic and copper. Fluoride, which is added to the water in many parts of the U.S. to promote dental health, can also cause harm in excess. Adverse health effects include developmental issues in children. If you store up from a non-purified source, you must filter it. Removing dangerous elements from the water you collect is a vital step to self-sufficiency.

4. Rainwater Containers

One great thing about collecting rainwater is that it’s a hands-off task. You place barrels into your yard and wait for the weather to change. Once your equipment is in place, you can collect rainwater without lifting a finger. Rainwater collection should be a part of every off-the-grid to-do list. For one, it’s free. Mother Nature showers us with water — the least we can do is gather it.

You can use rainwater to water your garden. During storms, homesteaders use it to keep animals hydrated. You can also drink it if you use the proper treatment methods. Keep in mind that 80 percent of all wastewater gets dumped back into the environment. This water evaporates and rains down later. While treatment has improved over the years, every industrial and sewage facility around the globe does not properly filtrate their waste.

5. Water Tank

Did you find a great deal on a home without water access? If so, invest in a tank. A water tank hides underground, and you call a professional to fill it up regularly. While you won’t have a constant supply, it’s an option to get off the grid. Many homesteaders with water access invest in a tank as an emergency solution. If all else fails — including the solar and hand pump — you can still get water.

This piece of equipment can also work as a transition between projects. Perhaps your goal is to install a well, but it’s out of your budget. You can purchase a water tank in the meantime to keep everyone hydrated.

Ready to Go Off the Grid? Look to Alternative Water Sources

Getting off the grid in this interconnected world isn’t easy. However, many find self-sustainability to be liberating. Taking care of yourself and your family comes with newfound freedom. Are you ready to reduce your reliance on large-scale resources, including water? If so, follow the five tips above.

You don’t have to rely on the city-wide tap, which can contain who knows what. Instead, invest in a well, which collects your property’s natural resources. Instead of the typical electrical pump, look for a solar or wind-powered option. You can also store water on your property through rain collection and a tank.

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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.