Saturday, January 15, 2011

Marion's Lazy Water System

We use the simplest water system possible.  Charles used crossed sticks and also his knowledge of landscape and vegetation to witch a well.  A neighbour with a small backhoe dug a 12'-deep hole.  After pumping it out and watching it refill over several days, we stacked four 3' sections of 4'-diameter, concrete well casings in the hole.  Then we filled the area around the casing with rocks to increase the well's water-holding capacity.

In the basement of the house, we have 3 connected 45-gallon drums.  I fill them by carrying buckets of water from the well and pouring them into the barrels.  Each barrel has a tight-fitting lid to keep out dust (and mice).  Another pipe carries the water to a hand pump at the kitchen sink above.  Presto - cold running water at the touch of a pump.

A drain leads from the sink to a rock pit outside.  We're pretty careful about what goes down that drain.

A 5-gallon tank on the wood stove holds our hot water.  In the winter, we refill it every time we use hot water for a constant supply.  In the summer, our breakfast fire heats the water for our morning wash and the dishes, then it gradually cools so that by evening we're out of hot water.  (For bathing in the summer, we have alternate methods, which I'll describe when it's summertime.)

About once a year, we add bleach to the water in the barrels and pump it through the system to clean it.

Here's why it's a "lazy" system:

  • The installation cost was extremely low.
  • There is no maintenance required.
  • It never breaks down or freezes.
  • It requires no power supply.
  • It only takes me about 15 minutes a day to haul water, and this keeps me in good shape.  I enjoy being outside, I play with the dog while I'm filling buckets, and I don't need to do any "weight-bearing exercises" to prevent osteoporosis.
The only better system I can think of is a gravity-feed system from a natural spring.  If our property allowed for that kind of system, I'd use it.


  1. I thought I was doing good getting the chickens water! Nice system though you guys are hard workers.

  2. No, no, I'm Lazy Marion, not a hard worker!!

  3. This is so inspiring, thank you for sharing! I'm curious what method you use to water your garden?

  4. Ok, never mind. I just saw your post about putting your garden where there is lots of ground water and letting nature (i.e., rain) do the rest. :)

  5. The garden is doing well this year without added water, but I do have to haul water from the pond in buckets occasionally in a dry year, especially for very small seedlings.