Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

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  • Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - 09:53am

    #11
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Having recently experienced a strong and unexpected earthquake “no fault-line here folks..oh whoops, now there is…” I realise how fragile our water supply is. I absolutely applaud all of you who are saving water or securing a supply. We fortunately had emergency supplies and our town’s aquifer pump resumed action within 24 hours but other areas are still without uncontaminated water (7 weeks later) and are relying on trucks bringing it in.

One comment/suggestion I would have in terms of water supply is not to rely solely on wells or bores, events can occur that would render ground water inaccessible and/or unpotable. Collection is good, tanks are good. If you can rig things so that you also collect from the roof, if the well runs dry or gets dirty somehow you still have a backup method of collection that is easier to fix up if there are floods or chemical spills or earthquakes and broken sewers.

I’m working on getting tanks set up here – it’s taking quite a long time! Certainly don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today – it may take longer than you think!

All the best everyone.

  • Sat, Oct 23, 2010 - 10:08pm

    #12
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

I’ve been nervous for several years having to depend on our well that could quit at anytime for a number of reasons. Seem to have good water and so far have never run it dry, (350′ deep with 150′ of “pay”) but as any mechanical system, it can always quit. This spring, I finally bit the bullet and put down a new (second) well about 500 feet “upstream” so we now have a full backup. Utility power is backed up with solar and a diesel generator, so we should be OK against most prob;lems that could show up.

Worth the cost to know that water is there almost no matter what happens. I like the peace of mind.

 

Jim

  • Sat, Oct 23, 2010 - 10:47pm

    #13
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

I’m truly staggered at how deep you Americans pump water…..  I recently had a client who had a bore pump, no idea how deep, and to my amazement discovered it was a three phase 5.5 kW device that accounted for 80 to 90 % of their electricity bill!!!

Like most rural Australian homes, they did have above ground water tanks (5,500 gallons) but had no idea how much energy their pump was using, and hence how many solar panels they would require to blow their electricity bill away…

I just don’t understand the reluctance to use tanks in your country..

Mike

  • Sat, Oct 23, 2010 - 11:25pm

    #14
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

[quote=Damnthematrix]

I just don’t understand the reluctance to use tanks in your country..

[/quote]

Could it be due to a little problem we have here called “freezing”?

  • Sat, Oct 23, 2010 - 11:30pm

    #15
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

[quote=ao]

[quote=Damnthematrix]

I just don’t understand the reluctance to use tanks in your country..

[/quote]

Could it be due to a little problem we have here called “freezing”?

[/quote]

So what happens when your pipes freeze….??

  • Sun, Oct 24, 2010 - 12:03am

    #16
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

It’s interesting how the standards for resiliency differ between a public water system and an individual home.  The typical home probably has one well with 1 pump powered off the grid, and no storage other than a hydropneumatic tank which is insignificant.

The typical redundancy standards a public water system include to have multiple wells, meet average daily demands with the largest well out of service, meet maximum daily demands with all wells, and generators for backup power.  Water storage tanks are sized for a a number of functions, including about 1 day’s worth emergency storage, flow equalization (to meet peak demands that exceed the well pump rate), and fire suppression.  Engineers are careful though not to oversize storage, since insufficent turnover and increased water age from too much storage volume can lead to water quality problems.

Drinking water is like oil in that, while a little bit is stored, it’s generally produced at a rate to meet demand – “just in time”. 

  • Sun, Oct 24, 2010 - 02:10am

    #17
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

[quote=Damnthematrix]

[quote=ao]

[quote=Damnthematrix]

I just don’t understand the reluctance to use tanks in your country..

[/quote]

Could it be due to a little problem we have here called “freezing”?

[/quote]

So what happens when your pipes freeze….??

[/quote]

Pipes are indoors.  Are you saying that Australians have 5500 gallon tanks indoors?  I would think this situation introduces significant space and cost issues.

  • Sun, Oct 24, 2010 - 06:57am

    #18
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

There’s a place near where I work in Alaska that has a huge tank the size of a semi trailer (from the old labels it used to hold jet fuel I think) that’s used to store water.  After they set it in place they proceeded to spray-cover the whole thing with a very thick layer of insulation, and I’m sure they installed some sort of heating element for the tank as well.  So in the coldest places like here it’s possible to store your water outside…. the only problem is it’s obviously cost prohibitive, and that’s the only large outdoor water storage tank I’ve seen this far north.  For personal water use in colder climes, it seems more practical to me to have a water pump with backup power generation available for the pump.  And in the winter one can melt snow for drinking water as long as you boil it and/or run it through a filter.

Fortunately much of the inhabited parts of Alaska don’t have water scarcity issues.  As for my home apartment a little further south, I feel comfortable enough keeping several five-gallon containers filled and my Berkey filter, especially seeing as we have a relatively clean river running through town.

– Nickbert

  • Sun, Oct 24, 2010 - 08:32am

    #19
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Pipes are indoors.  Are you saying that Australians have 5500 gallon tanks indoors?  I would think this situation introduces significant space and cost issues.

But the pipes between your well and the house must be outdoors surely…  or do Americans have their wells in the basement?  🙂

I have actually heard of people putting tanks inside their houses…..  which would improve the thermal mass and thus thermal performance of the dwelling tremendously..  and I have seen concrete tanks under houses.  n any case, it takes a lot of cold to freeze 500 gallons of water!

Mike

  • Sun, Oct 24, 2010 - 01:31pm

    #20
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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Outdoor pipes here in the NorthEast need to be 4 feet in the ground so they are below the frost line. Also, the soils tend to be very rocky so it can be quite expensive to hire an excavator to dig up your yard. I just dug up my yard to install city water and sewer, so I know all about the rocks. If rocks were a source of wealth, I’d be rich! Money mouth

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