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The Definitive Water Thread

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  • Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - 04:40pm

    #1
    Cloudfire

    Cloudfire

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    The Definitive Water Thread

An off-topic post on another thread got me started on an internet search, and I found some useful info on water distillation. Then it occurred to me that, since water is indispensable to life, and therefore universally essential, it might be useful to gather such information into The Definitive Water Thread. I envision at least the following topics to be of interest:

• Wells and pumps
• Greywater usage
• Water filtration and purification
• Water for the generation of power
• Irrigation systems
• Items for the conservation of water, e.g. composting toilets
• And anything else that goes “gurgle” in the night
  

Along these lines, I have acquired the following books:

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1 and 2 by Art Ludwig
Water Storage: Tanks, Cistern, Aquifers, and Ponds by Art Ludwig
The Home Water Supply by Stu Campbell
Create an Oasis with Greywater: Choosing, Building, and Using Greywater Systems (Includes Branched Drains) by Art Ludwig – Notice: Somehow, I managed to buy this book three times (I’m nothing if not consistent). Two copies are free to the first two comers for the price of postage.
And from my garden design library:
Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden

. . . . And now you know just about as much as I do about the subject of water, as it will likely be next winter before I have a chance to peruse these books. But I think it’s likely that there are folks on this site who are expert in this field, as well as those of us who are engineering-challenged, who will need help in securing safe water supplies, going forward.

And so, I’ll kick this off with a link to a water distiller wholesaler’s website, that does a respectable job of discussing the subject:
http://wholesalewaterdistillers.com/waterdistillers8.html
The homepage for that site is a bit cheesy, but here it is, for those who want to navigate to other useful parts of the site, including a [new, essentially unused] online forum:
http://wholesalewaterdistillers.com/

So, without further ado, I present, for your reading pleasure (drum roll . . . . . . . . . ): The Definitive Water Thread*

*Phwew!, Ready,  I got it right that time. . .  Thanks for noticing, and thanks to the moderator for helping me fix this mess.
 

  • Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - 04:58pm

    #2
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

SOLAR WATER DISTILLER

I know somebody up this up in the agro thread but I could not find it to put here, but a great idea that can be made easily.

http://www.epsea.org/stills.html

  • Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - 05:07pm

    #3
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

[quote=mpelchat]I know somebody up this up in the agro thread but I could not find it to put here[/quote]

Precisely why I thought this subject deserved its own thread.  Thanks, Mpelchat!

  • Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - 05:32pm

    #4
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

c1oud,

This is a great idea for a topic – I’m eager to see what people come up with.

I knew a guy who had his water heated and circulated by his wood stove. I wish I could find out how he did it!

Cheers!

Aaron

  • Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - 06:52pm

    #5
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Wood Stove Driven Hot Water

[quote=Aaron Moyer]c1oud,This is a great idea for a topic – I’m eager to see what people come up with.I knew a guy who had his water heated and circulated by his wood stove. I wish I could find out how he did it!Cheers!Aaron[/quote]

Thanks, Aaron!  I’m going to send you a PM with some info on a resource for that.  The fellow is a bit of a privacy hound, so I don’t want to post it on the open forum. 

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - 02:10am

    #6
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

Nice thread. What about small reverse osmosis units for purifying contaminated water? 

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - 02:47am

    #7
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

I just bought one of these Ceramic Water filters from St Paul Mecantile.

http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?action=store&item=WaterFilterBucketKit

 

I am going to build it with 2 new 5 gal buckets. I will try it out this summer when I am out Mining/Camping and I will let you all know how it works out.

 

Ken

 

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - 02:55am

    #8
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

 I know when I think water security I want to know where the safest, closest natural spring is. Thankfully, Mine is in an idyllic spot, nestled in a cave, at the base of a cliff, within walking distance of my front door. I have never seen it empty and I drink from it whenever I can.

Just a thought.

Peace, Liam

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - 03:58am

    #9
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

This is a topic in which I feel comfortable. Years ago, when my wife and I built our country home in Central Texas (we moved in about March 1998), we installed what was at the time a state-of-the-art rainwater harvesting system. We built the house with a metal roof, with gutters and downspouts and gravity flow to a 16,200 gallon fiberglass central collection tank. To keep debris from the collection tank, we put in a simple screen filter in a custom fabricated metal box. The filter was basically a piece of screen wire in a frame, which we would remove and clean between rainstorms. It worked pretty well.

The collection tank is located on a hillside below the house, so gravity does the initial work. Adjacent to the collection tank is a small pumphouse. Water is pumped uphill on demand to a metal building housing a 3,000 gallon storage tank and an array of filters. Water is pumped from the 3,000 gallon tank into a series of filters. They are a sand/multimedia filter, a carbon filter (to remove any residual chlorine in case we introduce water from the public system, which we occasionally do in case of drought), a five micron filter and a one micron filter. Then, the water was originally pumped through an untraviolet filter and then into the house. Finally, water destined for the refrigerator icemaker and a spigot atop the kitchen sink went through a reverse osmosis filter. The result was pure water that tasted very good.

About a year ago we upgraded the system. We did a couple of things. First, we removed the simple rough debris filtration box upstream of the big collection tank and replaced it with a centrifugal debris filter. Then we deactivated the ultraviolet filtration system (which had some problems) and replaced it with an Aquacore brand whole household filtration system. The system is highly sophisticated and the water tastes very good.

Here in our part of Central Texas over the past 11 years we have received a low of 20 inches and a high of 55 inches of annual rainfall. I keep careful rainfall records. We have a backup connection to the local community water supply system just in case. We’ve had to use it from time to time, even though under optimum conditions we can store a three month supply of household water.

The system works pretty well but there are some disadvantages. We depend on electric power to run the two pumps. This problem can be overcome with relative ease by putting in solar arrays and batteries to run the pumps. In this part of the country, sunlight is sufficiently dependable. Another problem is complexity. The array of tanks, pumps, valves, pipes and filters is Byzantine in complexity. I understand it well enough, but my wife finds it baffling, and rightly so. Rainwater harvesting is a topic of great interest these days and I’ve hosted groups of people who are interested in the technology. When I explain the system of pumps, valves and etc., eyes glaze over. Okay, so it’s not so simple. But it works. You don’t need a degree in hydrology to install and operate a system like this. You just need to be interested and reasonably handy. If you can screw the lid on a jar without crossing the threads, you probably qualify.

If you are considering a centrifugal rough filtration system, I suggest that you go slowly on purchasing it. Mine wastes a lot of water that would otherwise flow into the central collection tank. The dealer insists that, properly installed, it works just fine. I, in turn, insist that this assertion is a mountain of fragrant bat guano. In my observation, about one third of the water is wasted and flows out of a drain at the bottom of the centrifugal filtration system. Bottom line, if I had to choose between installing a centrifugal filtration system and a light flogging, I would have to think about it before deciding. Do you take  my point, Dear Reader? If you want to know the brand of rough filter in this era of heavy litigation, get in touch. I will be happy to inform you. Meanwhile, I suggest that you avoid centrifugal water filters.

Lessons learned: We have no regrets, but you can learn from our experience. First, you don’t need to spend as much money as we did. You can install a simple gutter and downspout system along with plastic collection tanks to collect rainwater. Then, you can put in a simple reverse osmosis filtration system to filter the water you need for cooking and drinking. The rest of the water, which will have lots of bacteria in it, can be used for other purposes. Just don’t drink it or allow it to come in contact with open wounds.

Rainwater is terrific for watering your garden. It has no chlorine in it for example. Just run it through a filter before you use it for cooking or drinking purposes.

 

  • Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - 11:26am

    #10
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Water Thread

[quote=kenc]

I just bought one of these Ceramic Water filters from St Paul Mecantile.

http://www.stpaulmercantile.com/index.php?action=store&item=WaterFilterBucketKit

 

I am going to build it with 2 new 5 gal buckets. I will try it out this summer when I am out Mining/Camping and I will let you all know how it works out.

 

Ken

 

[/quote]

Please do, Ken . . . . . . I’ve seen this system, and I think it’s an elegantly simple, low-cost concept.  And an added advantage is that it is a useful way to recycle all those 5 gallon buckets, after we’ve used the grain!  It would be a charitable gesture, as we use them up, to give them away to The Unprepared Masses (sounds vaguely like The Unclean, doesn’t it?*), along with instructions on how to construct a filter system from them.  There are very simple systems, used in third world countries, using common filter substrates, such as sand, for purifying water.  Granted, they are not as effective as, say, distillation, micropore filters, or reverse osmosis, but they beat the heck out of drinking bacterially contaminated water.  Please keep us posted, Ken.

* For those inclined to do so, please do not take this as an unkind comment. . . it is merely a witticism, and should be taken as such.

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