"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 25 March 2011

Water, water everywhere... with lots and lots to drink :-)

We all know that without water, this planet cannot survive.  Without power to provide the energy to obtain that water, we are also in a pickle.  We watched a very interesting Discovery Channel programme the other week on how water is obtained, in the dry, arid Sahara Desert, via ancient, deeply buried man-made tunnels, from aquifers. 

I subscribe to a local blog, and, sometimes, they have very interesting and thought provoking articles.

This morning a new posting arrived in my mailbox: 

This concept, naturally, piqued my interest and I just had to Google "treadle pumps".

That led me to a very interesting document, and one which I have to share with you.

I am a firm believer in being prepared for any situation, and, once we are on the farm, permanently, we are hoping to have a borehole.  Yes, I am aware that underground water is precious, and no, we will not waste what we draw from that source. 

I just need to be assured that we can obtain water to sustain us if our mains supply is unavailable, and this seems like a simple solution to the problem.  Add to that a simple solar still, to clean contaminated water and make it fit for human consumption, and we are set!  (Note: In our area, our underground water is brak [salty] water.)

Water Still
Source: "The New complete book of Self-Sufficiency"
by John Seymour

We have glass left over from our business that I would recycle and use in place of the polythene tent, and which I think would work even more effectively :-)

So, with both of these concepts, if the worst happens, we will still have water to drink and cook with, and, at a push, be a source of water for our vegetables.  A couple of years ago I read that lemon trees will accept brak water - so providing the salt content isn't too high, it will present no problem there :-)

Our existing water storage barrel

We do have a 5 000lt (1 100 UK gallons / 1 320 US gallons) water barrel, and we also plan to have a couple placed strategically around the house, to capture the rain water from the roof.  However, climbing a ladder and looking inside the one we have a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to see a layer of green slime forming on top of the water.  And the rain water barrels, too, will eventually become slimy, I'm sure.  Cleaning the water with chlorine is not an option for me - I'm planning to live there organically without the use of chemicals.  So, that slimy water could be used for our trees, but, honestly, I do not want to drink that!  (Again, and to be honoest, at a push I could put the slimy water through the solar still, and end up with clean water - but I would probably boil that before drinking it.)

I have been pondering our water pump problem recently, be-moaning the fact that solar pumps are soooo expensive.  A treadle pump must be a fraction of the cost.  Synchronicity is an amazing thing, isn't it - and how wonderful it is when information just drops into your lap :-)

And one more niggle to cross of the list...


Jane said...

Great mind think alike, as I have been considering water filtering lately too. Your method is very interesting. And I never knew your ground water was salty. Always learning something.

Mr. H. said...

So I have been reading all about treadle pumps this morning after seeing your post link. We have a well in our basement that we no longer use but in a pinch, and without electricity or fuel, we could use a treadle pump to get water from it. Really neat.

Dani said...

Mr H - Lucky you, having a well on hand :-)

I reckon the treadle pump would work. But would suggest boiling the water before using it... Alternatively, if you can get a sample of it now, and get that tested, you'll find out how suitable it is for human consumption in the future.

Dani said...

Jane - reckon we should also be filtering the water from our taps here...

Sad that such a basic human right should come to this.

Riverhauler said...

I think one of the secrets to storing drinking water is to us the black plastic storage containers. that way light doe not get in to allow the slime to grow. the grn or blu containers are ok for water to use on the garden.

I use a 12 volt Bait tank pump that costs less than $20.00(us)to transfer water 300 gal per hour.

frann said...

I "think" a small Solar Powered
Aeration System might work to keep the green slime at bay without using chemicals.

Dani said...

Riverhauler - welcome. Black containers would probably work, but they don't sell them at our local co-op(only green or khaki), and to get them specially sent from Cape Town would firstly be expensive, and secondly add extra carbon miles to the purchase.

12 volt pump - 300 gals is good, but that would entail a special solar panel to change the extra battery, and we would also need to build a "pump" house.

I need the exercise, so I think a simple treadle pump will be the answer :-)

Frann - welcome. We had fish pond where we used a small pump AND a UV light, but we still got blanketweed - horrible stuff! Admittedly the pond was open to the air and sunlight, but I'm nervous about that system. Have you done any research into small solar pumps - and what they cost? Would be interested in your findings.