Off Grid Water – How we did it

Lately I have been getting a lot of email from old friends who have been asking me about my way of life and why I haven’t written more about it.  Honestly… I didn’t think anyone would really want to read it.  Apparently I was wrong as several have been writing to me asking me to write more about the country homestead type lifestyle and specifically about how to build their own off-grid water system.

While Ranae and I are not off-grid in the least, we used to be off the water grid entirely. Read on to see how we did it.

Nearly every town has a bulk water sales department.  Here in Texas and I know in Missouri as well, it’s required by law.  What that means is, you have the right to buy water from every water company or municipality that sells it to home customers.

Of course, you have to have a way to transport your own water and in most cases, filling your tank(s) is a self-serve operation usually involved a few coins deposited in a vending machine like device.  When we lived in Missouri, we were able to buy 280 U.S. Gallons for about $0.75.

There are some downfalls to buying water this way, the biggest being that you have no idea what the customer before you did with the hose.  What if he dipped it into his container of pesticide; laid it in the bed of a trailer full of cow poo; or the like?

Obviously, you will need to make sure the hose is clean and I think the best way to do this is run several gallons to rinse it out.  On occasion we also had a spray bottle of regular ol’ household bleach.  We sprayed the hose ends and made sure it was never submersed into our tanks.  We lived through it without any problems.  You can too.

To transport water, we purchased two 280gallon “water totes”.  These can be tough to find, but I suggest you look to places like soft drink distributors, etc.  You can usually pick up used ones for about $100.  Be sure to ask what the contents were!!  You don’t want to use them if they contained harmful chemicals that can leach into the plastic.  BE SAFE!  ASK QUESTIONS!

275 GAL Tote Med


Optionally, you can order new ones through us.  For a 275 gallon tote, the cost, NEW, is $312.00 plus shipping and handling.  If you are interested, please send me a note at  Delivery takes about 3 weeks.

With a few simple plumbing fittings available at most feed stores and I know at Tractor Supply, you can convert the 2″ opening down to normal water line size and connect to the pump (below).

We had one of these totes in an insulated type of house.  The insulation helped keep it from freezing as well as hid it from sunlight.  Sunlight is BAD on water storage.  Dark is best.

We kept the “water house” warm with the aid of a couple brooding lights and a  ‘Thermo Cube’ Thermostatically Controlled Outlet.  When the temperature dropped below 35 degrees, the switch would turn on the brooding lights and they would heat the inside of the water house.  When the inside temp reached 45 degrees the switch kicked off automatically.

We then bought a simple 12v pump from Amazon .  After putting all the fittings together, we had very high pressure water and could never even tell we were off the water grid.

Below are some videos of how it all works.



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