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Off-Grid Water Systems: 8 Viable Solutions to Bring Water to Your Homestead

8 Off Grid Water Systems for Homestead that are Actually Usable

The average person uses around 80-100 gallons of water per day? (source) That is a lot of water! That's why in my article about things you should consider when buying a homestead, water is one of the main things you should be looking for.

However, sometimes you find land that is perfect with the exception of water.

And let’s not forget that emergencies happen too.

What can you do if you have a piece of land with no water? Or if an emergency strikes that ruins your water source on hand?

Well, today I want to share with you how you can fix the issue of water on your homestead.

I will forewarn you that some of these options can be expensive. But if you find the perfect piece of land then it might be worth the cost to you. Plus, if it helps save your family or livestock during an emergency then the cost would be worth it.

Here are some options for you:

1. City Water

The first and most obvious option for water on a homestead is city water. If you live close enough to city limits then you might have this.

And that’s a good thing. It means you don’t have to pay to have a well put in.

However, I would still encourage you to look for a separate water option. Let’s be honest for a second. Most of us that homestead don’t do it because we are bored. We do it for health purposes and because we want to be self-reliant in case an earth shattering emergency takes place.

Well, if a catastrophe did happen, city water would most likely be a thing of the past. It would be easy for it to become contaminated or simply not work at all depending upon what the earth-shattering issue was.

So if you have this as a viable option for your homestead, great. But consider some of these other options as a solid backup plan.

2. Well, well, well

Well, well, well…have you considered a well?

Excuse my play on words, but have you? If not, why?

I know digging a well can be expensive. Like upwards of $10,000 expensive. But it is a solid water source completely off-grid. I’m not saying all wells will last forever because we all know that they won’t.

However, it is still a solid option.

So if you are looking at land that doesn’t have a water source already on the property, don’t give up. Instead, dig below the ground. There could be a great source of water running right under your feet.

And another perk to a well, if you consider yourself a homesteading prepper, is that even if city water is contaminated your water source most likely will not be.

Plus, even if the entire grid shuts down you still have a viable water source. But I will go into greater detail with that in a bit.

3. Go Wind Powered

So you’ve decided to go with a well. That’s great news. We have one and absolutely love it.

When we lived in the city years ago, we were on city water. I had never been where I had the option of a well. But now, you’d be hard pressed to make me go back. I love knowing that my water source comes from a river up the road.

My family and I are trying to be prepared in dealing with emergencies. We need to have a solid water source that could keep us and our animals alive for quite a while if need be.

And what got me thinking about this was a few years ago, we had a huge storm come through our area.

We were without power for close to a week.

But thankfully I had started storing water and it was enough to carry us and our animals through for that time period.

Yet, what if the next catastrophe left us even longer without power? For us, no power means no water.

So I began looking for alternative options for power.

And the two biggest options that keep reappearing over and over are solar and wind power. If you live in a flat are then wind power might be a good option for you. You can learn more about wind power here.

Plus, this resource will help you learn more about the DIY side of wind power.

Or you can even purchase a wind power kit here and learn how to build your own wind-powered water pump here.

4. Go Solar

I think I’ve mentioned before that I live in the foothills. So wind power probably isn’t the best option for my family and me. That's why I hope to one day (soon) go solar.

I have multiple reasons for this.

First, I’d love to ditch my electric bill. Part of being a homesteader is living as frugally as possible. And my electric bill obviously requires me to spend more money.

Second, I’d love to know that in the event of an emergency that my power will not go out. As long as the sun keeps shining on my home, my family and I should have power.

But the third and probably most important reason is water.

When we first moved to our area, we rented a house for a year.

And this house was an old farmhouse that actually had an old well that they used for water when the house was first built. It still had the pulley system on it. Which was great in case of an emergency, and you needed water.

But once we moved to our homestead, the house that came with it only had an electric powered well.

So now, when the power goes so does our water. Which is where solar power comes in. If I had solar panels powering my water then even if the whole grid is disrupted, theoretically, I should still have water.

And this is great news for my family and animals. You can read here to get more information about solar energy.

Plus, you can actually purchase solar panels here. Or learn how to make your own here.

5. A Hand Pump

In case you haven’t guessed, it is most common for off-grid homesteads to have a well. And the reason is that it is a reliable source of water that comes straight from the ground.

But let’s say you don’t have the money to go solar or wind-powered. And all you have is an electric pump.

Yet, you are looking for a back-up in case of an emergency.

Well, you are in luck. Remember the old fashioned hand pumps? They still work!

And you can actually purchase a hand pump here.

But you’ll need to know how to install it. Here is a great article that tells you how to add a hand pump to an electric well.

Honestly, this is something I hope to do very soon. Because though solar panels are great for taking you completely off of the grid, they can be very expensive to get into.

However, this option is much more budget friendly.

6. Store Your Own

This is more of a prepping option for those that are looking for a backup to their already solid water source.

But if you have a water source whether it be a river, well water, or even city water then start saving your milk jugs or other containers. However, remember that if you are pulling water straight from a river you will need to purify it.

So after you have the water jugs stored, just keep adding to them to ensure that you have enough water to withstand a small emergency.

Now, I will say this is not a good long-term option. So if you are someone that is looking to be prepared for anything then this might be a good starting point.

But certainly not where you would want to stop.

7. Put the Rain to Use

Photo by Instructables

Photo by Instructables

I’ve mentioned previously about collecting rain water.

And I’m a firm believer that we should all be doing it. My reasoning is that it helps save water on a daily basis. We actually use our rainwater to provide water to all of our animals.

However, as great of an idea as this is, it is not something that would last for permanent long-term use. But it could definitely provide water for your animals for a decent period of time.

Yet, it needs to be mentioned if you are going to try to drink rainwater yourself then you’ll need to do some research to make sure you do so safely. Read this article to learn more about purifying rainwater for drinking. And some off-grid homes actually collect rain water and then install a purification system so they can use it for drinking.

So though this idea would not be enough to sustain a homestead for long periods of time (in the event of a catastrophe or purchasing a dry piece of land) it could certainly help with the amount of water you use from an alternate resource.

8. Hauling Water to a Large Tank

This was actually an idea I had never considered until watching an episode of Homestead Rescue. The people on the episode couldn’t afford to drill a well right then.

But they were living on a piece of land with no water at all.

And obviously a homestead can’t thrive without water. So they were fading quickly. That was until the Raney’s rode into town to save the day. However, the temporary solution to their problem was to place a large cistern into the ground and fill it with gallons and gallons of water.

Now, this may not be the most budget friendly option.

But let’s get out of prepper mode for a second. Let’s imagine you found a steal on a great piece of land. And you can see all of the amazing things you can do with this land. But the land doesn’t have water access, and you don’t have the money right off the bat to drill a well.

Then this might be a solid option for you. It would all depend upon how much water delivery would be in your area.

But I still believe it would be a solid option to last you for a while.

And if you step back into ‘prepper mode’ then this might be a good option to help store a little (or a lot) of extra water on your property simply as a back-up to you well.

You can learn more about the process of hauling in water here. And you can actually buy a water tank here.

Well, I hope these water options helped. And hopefully even got your wheels turning on how you can make your homestead work for you.

Or even how you can better prepare your homestead for a disaster of any kind. Because as we all know, water has to be there or the homestead you’ve worked so hard to build will fail.

But I’d love to hear your all’s thoughts. What is your favorite back-up water storage option? Or have you come up with any other solutions to bring water to a ‘dry homestead?’



  1. My wife and I are looking at twenty acres, with no improvements except a partially overgrown road and a few level spots barely big enough for a mobile home. There is a small creek on or near the property, not sure about property lines yet. We won’t be able to afford to drill a well right away, thinking of installing an above ground tank and buying a water tank trailer to haul water in.

    The property is sloped, so the tank would go toward the top. We already have a truck capable of pulling a water trailer, I found a 325 gallon tank for $365. There are bigger tanks, but that would already be 2,600 lbs of water per trip.

    We already have a trailer we could mount it on. The above ground tank I’m eyeing is 1,500 gallons for about $860. I’m already familiar with the area the property is in, and happen to know that creek doesn’t dry up. Not sure about the legalities of removing water from it though. Just day dreaming for now, but so far it looks like we could get the property. I enjoyed reading what you put together, thanks.

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