Water Supply

Over 20 years ago, my friend, Kathie Costanich, discovered a plant growing about 100 paces from our high mountain cabin. She came over to the construction site (we were setting rafters on the cabin) and explained that there was a plant down there that was a known indicator of water close to the surface, “George.. you need to get a shovel and start digging”.  I remember telling Her that we had work to do, and I thought she was nuts.  I pointed out the shovel and told Her to start digging!

Wouldn’t  you know, She dug down about 14 inches and hit water. This is dry country, plenty of pines, and an occasional spring, and Kathie finds it  just down from the cabin. As you might guess, I ate crow for a few meals.

Since then, I have dug down about four feet and put a cover over the water supply.   I remember one rare day when the temperature hit 100 degrees, the spring water was 40 degrees and the Pepsi and other refreshments submerged in the water felt so cool. In fact, sticking your hand in the spring was almost painful.

It seems like things evolve over the years, as I’ve said elsewhere, when you’re younger, running up the hill with 5 gallon pails of water is no big deal. Then you get the idea to siphon water down hill to a shower, and finally you start thinking about pumping the water uphill to the cabin.

The first set up was a 12 volt shurflow pump. I’d charge up a 12volt deep cycle and lug it and the pump down to the spring, I’d hook up two garden hoses and pump water up hill to three 55 gallon plastic drums. then I’d reset the pump and battery at the barrels and pump the rest of the way to the cabin.

The next step was to add on to the cabin and have a real in door shower and a utility sink to wash dishes, wow! what an improvement.

The biggest problem I had with the shurflow and the garden hoses was leaks at the couplings and priming the darned thing.  I should have bothered to place a foot valve but I never remembered to buy one and take it to the cabin. The Shurflow pump cost me about $50, I think they are a good buy for the money.  I was lucky enough to get a nice large pressure tank with an air bladder (for free) when a nearby house was moved and the well casing pulled. I used the Shurflow to pump about 40 gallons into this tank. You can wash plenty of dishes and take a number of showers before you need to supply power to the pump for recharging the tank.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m planning to place a generator for the heavier loads and  battery charging. I’ll also use the inverter for the smaller loads and a home made controller to manage the system. With AC available, I will test a number of cost effective products to see what works well, and what doesn’t.

To my surprise, the inexpensive inverter I purchased from donrowe.com has no problem starting an apartment sized fridge, and an intermediate sized sump pump. Is it possible that I have now  found an inexpensive, compact water system that will run off a low dollar Inverter?

Water supply gets a major upgrade in 2003.  Stay tuned.

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