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By an incredibly unlucky twist of fate I have landed in the oilfields of West Texas. The only thing that grows here are rocks and rattlesnakes! I was very discouraged when I got here, but not being able to leave I have made the best of a bad situation. I am currently renting a travel trailer in a park a couple of miles outside of town. Since the covid scare started everyone else moved out. Now it's me and another family here. I have the freedom to do things like put up a pallet wood fence around the trailer, keep a few chickens, and have a small garden.
I had a great paying job that let me save up some money, but no time to spend it. I lost that job and now have plenty of time to do the aforementioned things, but I am quickly running out of money. I have a part time job that pays literally nothing and the cost of living here is expensive.
I have access to a travel trailer that needs some work, but it's free. So I'm thinking of getting a piece of land here and hauling freebie onto it. There are a few small companies that do owner finance here and I can afford a small down payment and $150 a month. What I cant afford anymore is the lowered rent payment of $650 for this little trailer.
The biggest issue here is WATER. Obviously, I'm in the desert so I'm not expecting a nice creek or pond. But I've always been taught to never buy land without a water source on it or nearby.
What do people who homestead in the desert do? If I could go back to the Ozarks I would, but it's out of the question. So I need to figure out how to do this so I can have my homestead again and, of course, not be homeless.
Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
 

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Lots of people haul water. Others have it delivered.
You can harvest rainwater.
I lived in Arizona for years and would never buy land without a water access. You will spend more money getting water in the long run. Please, don't buy land without water.
 

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Lots of people haul water. Others have it delivered.
You can harvest rainwater.
I lived in Arizona for years and would never buy land without a water access. You will spend more money getting water in the long run. Please, don't buy land without water.
I take care of an elderly lady on the weekends. She married a rancher many, many years ago. They had a cattle ranch right here in the desert. So I asked her how on earth they watered all the cattle. She told me they had small windmills on their property that pulled up water for troughs. She said even back in the 50s the water wasnt good enough for people to drink. So after many years of having to water their cattle with it, plus all the trouble of working on the windmills all the time, they paid $$$ to have water piped out to the property when the "new" county water came through. (In the 70s, I believe)
She also said that back then they had low spots on the property that would fill up when it rained and it gave them 2 watering holes. She also said it used to rain back then, but doesnt anymore.
Basically, she said if I cant get some sort of rural water piped in, it's not worth it here. Even getting a place on the river, I would have to find a way to filter it for livestock and gardens because it is so contaminated by the oilfield.
She also said I could haul it in if I keep my homestead small enough to afford it.
This area used to be famous for Pecos cantaloupes, but all those farms were moved south to Cayonosa when water became so scarce. While looking for land I came across a parcel that still had the old concrete troughs used for watering the fields. Apparently, that parcel used to be one of the melon farms.
None of this actually helps me right now, lol, but her stories are very interesting!
I've always wondered though why people homestead the desert in AZ, but not the desert here. What's the difference, if any?
 

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Be that as it may, I did put in the original post that I cannot leave. For various reasons...
So i need to make the best of the hand I've been dealt.
You can be happy anywhere as long as you're happy with yourself. I just wanted some ideas on water. The past summer here has shown me how hot and dry it can be.
I just cant find any locals to give me advice, so I asked on here.
 

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It sounds like a really good time to leave .
Specially if you don’t like it there.
I cant. I miss the ozarks, obviously, with grass, trees, and water. But the desert has a beauty all it's own as well.
Just wanted suggestions on water is all.
 

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I cant. I miss the ozarks, obviously, with grass, trees, and water. But the desert has a beauty all it's own as well.
Just wanted suggestions on water is all.
Wells in the desert tend to be deep, and expensive. No guarantee you will hit water. Hauling water is an enormous pain in the butt, and I have paid as much as 10 cents per gallon in the past for trucked in water. This was in an area that was not desert, your costs may ne higher. So proceed with caution. For that cost you would likely do well to stay in the RV park with hookups. The West has all kinds of crazy water rights laws and counterintuitive rules regarding rainwater, drawing from creeks and the like. You could look into how the Natives acquired water but I don't know how feasible that is. Most likely the locals aren't giving you advice because they don't have the answers either.
 

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I had 2 wells on 2 parcels in the White Mountains, Arizona at about 4000 ft elevation. The parcels were on the largest aquifer in AZ but I still had to drill deep - one well was 350 ft deep and the other was 450 ft.. t 10 years ago it cost about $100 a foot to put in a complete well.

Please, do not buy where there is no water.
Have you looked in parts of New Mexico?
Yes, RJ is correct about water rights - just look at Colorado. Trump did rollback some of the worst federal water rights though. (not trying to be political)
 

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I'm in southern California, not in Texas but we get very little rainfall here. We have city water, but there are some parcels around us that have wells (grandfathered, you can't drill new ones anymore). We were talking to a neighbor about his well, as he has a small avocado farm and we just cut most of ours down because we don't want to give away our firstborn to water them. I was saying something about how nice it must be to have access to free well water since our city water is expensive as heck, and he said it was, other than the roughly $1000/month it costs in electricity to run the pumps to get the water out of the ground and into the tanks.

We do some rainwater catchment, but that only goes so far when you're trying to water plants and animals at any scale. And since it only rains between about November through April or so, we run out of the collected water way before we hit the weather you really need water in. It's not really sustainable, at least here in my situation.
 

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I'm in southern California, not in Texas but we get very little rainfall here. We have city water, but there are some parcels around us that have wells (grandfathered, you can't drill new ones anymore). We were talking to a neighbor about his well, as he has a small avocado farm and we just cut most of ours down because we don't want to give away our firstborn to water them. I was saying something about how nice it must be to have access to free well water since our city water is expensive as heck, and he said it was, other than the roughly $1000/month it costs in electricity to run the pumps to get the water out of the ground and into the tanks.

We do some rainwater catchment, but that only goes so far when you're trying to water plants and animals at any scale. And since it only rains between about November through April or so, we run out of the collected water way before we hit the weather you really need water in. It's not really sustainable, at least here in my situation.
Oh wow! That is tough! I was told any water around here is at least $200 a month. Last time I paid a water bill was 3 years ago and it was $30 a month. I can't imagine paying $200 or more for water. It is getting drier and drier too.
Good luck to you! I'm so sorry to hear you had to cut down your trees. And you're right. It is not sustainable. I think maybe I should see what I can do here in the RV Park. They don't even have piped in water here. They haul it in. It's rough all over the place!
 

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There are a few people on YouTube that homestead in the desert and have very nice rain catchment and storage systems. I don’t know their names but do some searches and I’m sure they’ll pop up. I was really impressed with what they did.
 

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I cant. I miss the ozarks, obviously, with grass, trees, and water. But the desert has a beauty all it's own as well.
Just wanted suggestions on water is all.
Sorry about that I know how aggravating it can be when people answer questions you didn’t ask.
I am from rather wet climates but I do take a certain pleasure in the desert especially the Mojave area.
I’ve always wanted A desert Homestead focused on native desert species.
I’ve also gave a lot of thought to the logistics of hauling water
The answer but seems most workable to me would be a combination.
 

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Sorry about that I know how aggravating it can be when people answer questions you didn’t ask.
I am from rather wet climates but I do take a certain pleasure in the desert especially the Mojave area.
I’ve always wanted A desert Homestead focused on native desert species.
I’ve also gave a lot of thought to the logistics of hauling water
The answer but seems most workable to me would be a combination.
No problem. The most obvious thing to do would be to move where there is water. Just not an available option for me just yet.
What I finally decided to do was stay in the RV park as long as I can. I started a website for my herb shop. And, since you mentioned it, taking the time to learn more about native plants and their medicinal properties. I have my chickens and my potted plants. I'll just have to be satisfied with that for now.
It's just so hard to be a homesteader without a homestead.
Thank you for your input. I appreciate it.
 
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