We cannot survive without water. Straight, sweet and simple! Finding or making a source of clean water should be at the top of anyone’s list for essentials in the event that electricity is either unavailable or is unaffordable … which tantamount to being the same thing 🙁

If you live in the country, odds are you already have a well. If you live in an older urban home .. and by that here in NS, I do not mean a century home but rather anything built before the seventies … it is possible the house may still have a well. If it is a drilled well there should be a metal pipe with a cap somewhere in the yard. If it is a sand point, it may still be in the basement. If it is a dug well, it is likely very near the house, and with luck may look like a concrete box with a round lid … not to be confused with the buried one which is the septic tank … lol

If you need water there are several ways:

A. The least desirable option is to hand carry it from the nearest lake, pond or stream. Unless you are in a remote wilderness area, or have a water testing kit in your back pocket, this can be risky business for your health

B. Find a spring and hand carry it.

C. Augment that with a rain barrel. Please note that it is also risky business if this barrel was used to hold chemicals of any kind

D. Grey water … which is generally considered to be all ‘waste water’ that does not come from the toilet, can be diverted and recycled to water gardens

E. Drive a Sandpoint … even though points aren’t generally allowed becuase of code now, most older plumbers still have a point driving kit

F. If you can afford it, and they are available, one can get a drilled well

G. Put in a dug well. Around here it has only been a couple of decades since they were banned from the building code, so there are still heavy equipment operators who may have the concrete casings for the well. There is a pretty decent link here that goes into quite a bit of detail about dug wells. The short version is that if you are digging the well by hand, for all intents and purposes it cannot be much deeper than the water table … as anyone who has ever dug a hole at the beach can understand 🙂 There is a very decent plan for a do it yourself dug well here.

As a sidebar note to that, if potable (ie safe to drink) water is in short supply, it would be very sensible to have a camping toilet set up either in the basement, garage, etc… Toilets use a lot of water, per flush, eh?. For hygiene purposes, put some thought into what you will do with the waste from that … if you are on a septic system, it could always be put directly into the tank. If you intend to bury it, it needs to be at least a hundred yards from any well or water source.

Even better would be if there was an emergency composting toilet.
Before you start digging, ask around if there is anyone who can ‘witch’ the land for water. And … no that doesn’t involve any spellcasting … it is a country term used to describe folks who know how to dowse for water. When I bought the land I live on now, I had a retired well driller who could douse come in … and he found several good locations.

Even though I have a drilled well, it is relatively shallow … and considering that well drillers charge by the foot, that is a key factor 🙂

Once you have a well … you need a pump:
old school hand pumps are still available and are relatively easy to hook upif electricity is available, shallow wells will generally use a jet pump and deep wells will need a submersible.if you want water to get from the well to the house, you will need some sort of tubing… the thicker 1 and 1/2 inch stuff made for water is best if you can find it.if the pump is located in an outbuilding, it will need to have an insulated box built around it to prevent it … and the water lines … from freezing.   If electricity is available, set up a trouble light with an old school 100 watt bulb.

Special Note:  If you are getting your drinking water from a stream or river, make sure that nobody is bathing or doing laundry up river. In addition, make sure that any outhouse or waste disposal site is situated at least one hundred yards away from the high water mark on the river.