Off grid guide to water planning

Work with nature

The one thing that has the most impact on your water needs has to be the location.  If you can find a location that has the right conditions it will save you a huge amount of work.  See our guide on how to pick the right land for living off the grid (  We hope you enjoy our off grid guide to water planning.


Do the research, you’re looking for the goldilocks zone, not too wet not too dry, not too hot not too cold … just right.  Or as close as you can get, and don’t forget to take into consideration projected climate changes in your region … it may not be an issue now but if you taking a long term approach (i.e suitable for your kids and grand kids) then take the time to find a spot that should have a good climate for the next 20 or 50 years.  Oh and don’t worry about it being on the wet side or cold side … remember water is life it better to have too much than not enough, and you can always put a jersey on to heat up.  But cooling down on the other hand gets a bit tricky when you run out of clothes to take off.

Look for the following things

  • Do you have a reliable all year round river or stream
  • Is your water source elevated, ideally 92 feet (28 meters) meters or more above your property.
  • Do you have a spring
  • Do you have a hill or elevated area
  • Can you collect enough water from your roof
  • How low is the water table
  • Can you put in a well

The perfect scenario

In the perfect scenario you have a pond, stream or tank 92 feet (28 meters) above the level of your sink.  This will give you 40 psi which is just enough pressure for a good shower but low enough so you don’t waste as much.  Remember the higher the pressure the faster you will use the water, and the more power you will need to pump it if its not elevated.

The ultimate scenario

You have an unlimited elevated supply 60 meter above your property in which case, well done all your water needs are meet and you also just found yourself the ultimate source of hydro power … but wait there is one more thing to consider

Is the water safe to drink?

Where does the water come from, is it safe to drink? … if it has runoff from farms its possible there could be all sorts of nasties in it, maybe not now but also in the future as industrial farming is getting rather bad at polluting water so take the time to check it out … this is not a road block just a speed bump.  It will still be fine for hydro power but you may need to filter the water before drinking or watering the garden with it.

If you’re putting in a tank

If you’re putting in a tank for your water supply make sure it will be large enough to meet your water needs in a long dry period … then double it or put in another tank … you may not need it but it’s better to have too much water than not enough … trust me on this one.

Water options form most to least preferred

  1. River, stream or spring that runs all year round 92 feet (28 meters) or more above your home which you can also use for hydro.
  2. Pond or spring 92 feet (28 meters) or more above your home with enough water to fill your tanks
  3. Elevated area 92 feet (28 meters) or more above your home that you can install a 10,000 to 30,000 liter tank on.
  4. Enough roof area to fill your water tank at least twice per year with the average rainfall (maybe more if you use a lot for watering the garden etc)
  5. A well as close to your home as possible, less distance to pump means less power.  It also means less labour if you pump breaks down and you have to fetch it manually.
  6. Can’t put in a well, dont have enough rainfall to fill your tanks, and don’t have any other water source … hmmm please refer back to “work with nature” and “climate” you may find the answers there.

I hope our off grid guide to water planning guide has helped, good luck and remember “water is life”

off grid guide to water planning guide, water is life

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