Family of 2 going to live on 7 gallons of water per day

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by YuccaFlatsRanch, May 12, 2005.

  1. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Was at a Moving Sale today and asked the people where they were moving to. They are going to Terlingua, TX to live on 40 acres with NO WATER. They plan to use rainwater in a place with only 11 inches of rain per year and they only have 628 SF of rain catchment area. At 600 gallons per 1000 sf, their total yearly catch would be about 3900 gallons IF it rains the full 11 inches.

    I asked HOW they planned to do it and they said they would live on 7 gallons of water per day. I wonder what they will do for a garden, washing, bathing, etc. No doubt you can live on that amount - theoretically - but what a miserable existence.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    They can always buy a load of water if they run short. As for laundry, I would personally want to use a laundromat.
     

  3. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    one person, if careful, can easily get by with one gallon of water a day, and that includes dishwashing, bathing and shampooing. someone really smart will catch the rinse water and use it to flush the toilet. it just takes some practice.
     
  4. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gee, all that and Texas, too!! Why would someone choose to suffer that? Maybe they're into hairshirts.
     
  5. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

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    You know - this is something to think about. They need more water catchment size - and storage.

    Having said that - it would be good for them to use a composting toilet instead of flushing water down the loo.

    On an annual basis, with two adults, each flushing the toilet six times a day, as much as 35,000 gallons of pure drinking water goes into the sewer/septic tank. That's a tremendous waste of water.

    The other water, the greywater, can be used to water gardens or whatever.

    For more information of low cost - high temperature composting toilets - google Humanure.

    Cheers
    Deb
     
  6. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Interestringly enough they indicated that they would be buying four 1750 gallon tanks. Thats 7000 gallons, but with their catchment area they have little chance of ever filling them.

    Its alright to decide you are going to live a strict water conservation lifestyle but at least give yourself a fighting chance. I do rainwater catchment here in the Hill Country of Texas, but our average rainfall is 32 inches and I have 28,000 gallons of storage, and currently 7700 SF of catchment area and since I love to garden and have big orchards, I don't feel overconfident if we were to hit a drought. IF they are smart enough to add roof washing systems to their system they will even get less catchment.

    Rain has a BAD HABIT of not cooperating by being short often and then coming in overwhelming quantities. With their 7000 gallons of storage it better be arranged right to ensure they get every last drop, as water wasted in overflowing gutters or running out the overflow on your tank is lost forever. That said - they would have to have an 18 inch rainstorm to even fill their tanks the first time.

    I also forgot to mention that these people "appear" to be at least in their 60's and possibly pushing 70. I think they haven't done enough homework to not get themselves into trouble - but it is thier life to worry about - I have my own to fuss with.
     
  7. oltex

    oltex Member

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    I think they're going to have a wake up call once they actually live there. It's a very unforgiving landscape & not a place to try & learn without good knowlege of what you're getting into. They probably bought one of those 10 acres for $5000 on the internet & maybe went to the chili cookoff there & got stars in their eyes about a great adventure in the desert wilderness. I wish them well but at that age one thing to consider is the fact that medical facilities is a looong ways away. As much as I admire their courage, I'm afraid for them.
     
  8. jrw422

    jrw422 Well-Known Member

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    That is where I first looked for land. Its high mountian desert!! The wife and I took a ride out there to look around. Beautiful country... no trees just rocks and cactus. There are wells on property and in fact a friend grew up out there and they still own property. Another has 160 acres around what they call Christmas Mountian. He said its possible to live but you MUST conserve. While we were out there looking around, I talked to the locals. Lots more people there then you would think there would be. One said they had no trouble as all they do is truck in the water. he says he uses about 2400 gals. per month for just him, his wife and 3 dogs. You cant grow a garden so that was one of the reasons I scrapped the idea of moving out there.
     
  9. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .................Land is cheap and very scenic desert country . The Heat , though very dry , will literally make most creatures bury themselves in the sand or seek shade where ever possible . They may think they can get by on 7 gallons aday during the Winter when temp's moderate , But I seriously Doubt that , that 7 gallons will do anything but Boil away during the Summer months . The heat in that area is very intense and not to be taken for granted . fordy.. :)
     
  10. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    editted to correct measurement error.
     
  11. DAVID In Wisconsin

    DAVID In Wisconsin Well-Known Member

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    For 2 years I hauled water and used less than 3 1/2 gallons a day. I did it and they can do it also.
     
  12. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But did you do in high country HOT desert ?? If you ever read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress ( Robert Heinlein predicted computers stealing an election in that one BTW) they practiced water conservation by using bath water 3 days running, using clothing and dishwater wash water to flush the toilets, and the toilet water went to the gardens...That was in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

    I'de be happy to send them some of my Florida humidty! :haha:
     
  13. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    IF you don't have a flush toilet, take your laundry to the l'mat and don't have a garden, 7 gal a day is way more than enough! I've made that much go lots further. We lived in the high mt desert 3 yrs in one location and 2 in another and hauled water. But mostly I washed clothes in town and I couldn't garden. We used a sawdust toilet too. We bathed regular and stayed clean.

    They may also be planning on having water delivered by tank truck. Lots of people do that.
     
  14. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    LOL it is funny reading all your comments! We moved to our 40 acres on a montana mountain top with no well. Built our home, grew our garden, etc with out a well. We used rainwater (normal is 14 inches yearly but we have been in a drought for 7 years!) and hauled water from town 20 miles away. Had a gravity flow water system from the loft above to the shower below. Heated water on stove and then carried it upstairs and put it into a tub which then drained into the shower below. It was hard work and you appreciated every 2 gal shower you got to take thats for sure! Laundry was done in town. Rain water was filtered if we needed it to drink otherwise unfiltered for animals and plants. Guttered all the roofs the little house (800 sf roof) porches and shop (360 sf) chicken coop and green house (360 sf) and we eeked by most of the time. Our new neighbors (1 mile away) have a great well and they let us haul water from there all year! Our own well drilled last fall is 400 feet of dry hole! It can be done, it is a challenge, and life could be worse. So whomever tries this has my support and praise and my prayers as well. Imagine our forefathers having to bring water up from the spring a bucket full at a time!
     
  15. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    their age is the biggest thing against them.

    this is the way almost everyone, except royalty, lived 100 years ago. still a huge portion of the word still lives like that. water is the number 1 consideration. all ancient civilizations, and even campsties for nomadic people, were based on water. unfortunately, most of the US has forgotten, or never learned, those skills. imo, as a nation at war with other nations, it is our bigggest, fatal weakness. (only drifted a little... :haha: )
     
  16. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    A healthy person should drink about half their body wieght oz of water per day. For example I weigh 180. I drink at least 90 ozper day water. Some days (hot) I drink even more. Not going to leave much for washing, etc. Water is by far the most important part of our homesteading. If I did not have a great well, I would be finding a good source of water in larger quantities than 1 gal/day.