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Best Source of Drinking Water?

Posts: 1
Location: Pennsylvania
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It's been a dream of mine for quite a few years to become self-reliant. Now at twenty-two years of age and a solid job under my belt, it's time to begin saving for the things I need to survive and to start seriously considering what those things are in detail.

I think a good place to start would be water, being that it is the most essential nutrient for survival. I've done a little bit of research on harvesting rainwater, drilling a water well, and the purification of either one, but I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for yet. I'd like to find a water system that is simple, requires little maintenance, does not use PVC, does not rely on electricity, and does not require me to rely on society to purchase goods to purify the water.

Some questions I have about wells:

1. In most instances, will this water be safe for consumption?
2. Do you know of any information on hand-pump wells or wells that don't require electricity to harvest the water?
3. Is it plausible to dig by hand?
4. Should I just save more money and hire someone for the job?

Some questions about rain water:

1. In most instances, will this water be safe for consumption?
2. Do you know of any information on rain water systems that don't require electricity to harvest the water?
3. Are there purification systems that don't require electricity or the use of chemicals that I would have to purchase (chlorine, bleach)?

My main question is this: What is the best source of drinking water? Are there other options I have not considered? I am not completely against using a system that requires electricity; it's just something I'd like to avoid. Is it possible to avoid purification?

Feel free to add any information I didn't talk about and share your own experiences! What kind of system do you use for drinking water? What is your ideal system?
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Welcome to permies.com Noa.

I think that you picked a great place to start: water.

Since every living thing on earth is approximately 70% water, that shows how important water is to life on this planet.

Wells can be expensive up-front costs, but a good well can be a great way to break out of 'the system'.
Most states require (drinking) wells to be tested to make certain that they are fit to drink.
Most wells are fit to drink, but you mentioned that you are in PA. There is a lot of fracking going on in parts of PA.
There has been much discussion about the fracking contaminating ground waters.

Unless your water table is very near the surface, I would hire a professional to do this work for you.

There are hand pump systems which work fine for shallow wells.
The deeper you need to go to find water, the more sophisticated (expensive) equipment is needed.
A good compromise might be solar. When you turn on the lights at night, they will probably be on for hours, but water usage is much different. Very seldom will you have a faucet on for more than a few minutes. It doesn't need a lot of power for intermittent use. A single, small PV panel with an automotive battery should be sufficient for domestic water. Yacht stores, and RV stores have many 12V DC units available. (HINT: RV stores should be a lot cheaper than yacht stores.) I would only buy a model that also sells rebuild kits (diaphrams, seals, etc), and I would buy the rebuild kit at the same time. (A couple years down the line when you need it, the store may not still be there, or the manufacturer may be pushing a newer model by then, and purposefully no longer carry replacement parts for your model.)

As far as rainwater collection goes, that is rather simple. Make certain that your roof material will not be a contaminate (ie, don't use asphalt). If this is for potable usage, you will probably want a 'first-flush' system to wash away the bird & squirrel poop before it goes into your drinking system. This 'first-flush' water is perfectly suitable for irrigating your plants - that poop will help your plants grow stronger.

There are many threads here regarding watering systems. If you read through them, you will find many answers to your questions, as well as many things you may not have even thought about yet.

Enjoy your time here. There is a wealth of information here, most of it aimed at the people who want to be more self reliant.

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