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Our Off-Grid Kitchen: Water

Disclaimer: We’re just showing you what is working (or not) for us. We are not homesteading experts.

Kitchens aside, I believe water is a top priority for a homestead. If you, like me, have lived in a place of abundant water, shallow wells, and easily accessible streams and rivers then it is hard to imagine having to work hard at obtaining something that is even more important than food.

Water is key for three things in the kitchen:

  1. Drinking & Cooking. We use a Berkey filter to obtain completely clean and safe drinking water.
  2. Hand Washing. Those early days of buckets usually meant two people washing their hands together, one pouring water over the other.
  3. Dish Washing. This means heating water in cold climates. These past few hot months I haven’t had to heat water at all.

On our homestead we are using rainwater as our primary source of water. We had a 20′ x 20′ roof built and set up to catch water shortly before we arrived on the land. After a long drought. 5″ of rain nearly filled our 1500 gallon water tank two days before our arrival – a good reminder that God will provide.

From Hauling Water…

The early months in our off-grid kitchen looked a lot like camping. There were a lot of quick skillet meals, dishes washed in too-small dish pans, and water hauled in buckets by me, and then later in my pregnancy, by my husband. Once the cabin was built we also moved the sink from the camper into the cabin. The dirty dish water (known as grey water) was piped out into the kitchen garden area right next to our cabin where little helpers brought small rocks from all over our property.

… to a Solar-Powered Hose…

It was right around the eighth month of my pregnancy that the idea for a water pump powered by our solar panels entered the conversation. I wasn’t supposed to be hauling 5 gallon buckets of water and the 2 gallon buckets were even beginning to take their toll. So my husband hooked a water pump up to our tank which pumped water through a hose and into our kitchen.

That hose certainly helped in that time of physical exhaustion, but looking back on it hauling buckets of water wasn’t as bad as it sounds. There is something extraordinarily satisfying about physically providing the very basics of life for your family with your own two hands.

…to Running Faucets…

A few weeks ago I came home and my husband said “Here, come look at this…” and I walked around the corner and into our outdoor kitchen sink area. He proceeded to turn the knob at which point water came streaming out. He then showed me the same set up inside in our cabin and I was so excited. He hooked the pump up to the sink and faucet we moved from our camper to our cabin and now have even easier access to running water in our off-grid kitchen.

…to a More Sustainable Solution.

The above steps taken are all making life more liveable in our off-grid kitchen, but they aren’t our end goals. We want something that is more sustainable, in that it doesn’t require solar power to work. What we have right now I hope is an intermediate means of getting water into our kitchen.

In the future we hope to build a larger roofline (40′ x 40′) and feed that water into a 3000 gallon water tank that is elevated, most likely on the dirt we have dug out from the site of our underground home. This water will simply be fed into the home through pipes via gravity. This way, if our solar system breaks down, we have no expensive parts to replace and won’t have to be reliant on money for our water supply.

That, or we go back to hauling water, which works too. The point is, one can live with or without running water in your kitchen and running water can be achieved in a more sustainable fashion.

Anyone else out there got an interesting water setup for your kitchen?

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