Posts tagged ‘water supply’

Looking For an Alternative to Those High-Priced Rain Barrels? Try This.

If you’re planning to move to a homestead, you’ve undoubtedly researched rainwater harvesting and water purification. For us and for most people, the biggest hurdle is cost. A rainwater system is expensive and so is a purification system. Like, really expensive. For instance, a larger reverse osmosis system costs upwards of $300 and it requires power to run. This problem can be eliminated by using a berkey water purification system – costs a bit less than $300 depending on the size and requires no power to run – but what about the rainwater collection itself? Purchasing a system is nice, but for a family of 3-4 people, you’re looking at over $1,000. Some of us just don’t have that kind of money, and the barrels themselves are very expensive.

Searching for alternatives, we came across this article about rain harvesting. It is the ibcanswer we have been looking for. That answer is industrial IBC food grade containers. They are made from materials that are safe to hold food or water, and they have only ever held food or water substances. They mostly come in 275 gallon size, they can be cleaned for reuse and best of all, they are a fraction of the price of rain barrels. I found some on this website for less than $100 each. (They also sell food grade barrels, wooden crates, pallets and other very useful stuff, but some items have a minimum order stipulation.) That means, for example, that a 430 gallon collection system which would have cost me over $800 just for the barrels now costs a fraction of that and I get 120 more gallons. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure that one out, folks. It’s a lot cheaper. Check Craigslist, Amazon and eBay. They’re out there.

There are few things to consider with these containers, but the main consideration is algae growth. As you can see, these particular tanks are translucent. That means light will filter through, and light means algae. You’re going to need to keep these tanks covered with something so that light cannot penetrate the material, or you will have an algae problem. You can also buy or build a box for them to sit in and you could probably also bury them, but we prefer them to be where we can see them and get to them if something were to need adjustment.

We are getting ours soon. If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments! Good luck!


To Pond or Not to Pond?


In preparing for to our homestead, it has been an ongoing discussion about whether to create a pond or not. A real pond, not a garden pond. A pond can offer many positive things to a homestead. Mother Earth News has a wonderful article about how to build a pond and one about how to build one at low cost, so I’m not going to revisit that here. I’m simply going to list the attributes that having a pond on your homestead might provide. The most important thing with a pond is proper set up from the beginning with the proper fish and plants, that way maintenance is kept to a minimum.


Perhaps first and foremost, creating a pond on your property provides you the opportunity to stock it with fish. This is not only great for recreational fishing, but in the event of any problems (like SHTF), you will have fish to eat. I don’t love fish, but I will eat them if I have to. Better to be safe than sorry. If you plan to stock your pond, be sure to research exactly what kind of fish are best. Some only do well in very large areas or during certain months, etc. You want to create a self-sustaining ecosystem, not something that you have to take care of, or worse, more livestock to feed. For instance, if you are stocking bass or channel cats, you will need to make sure there is enough food for them in the form of other fish by also stocking shiners and minnows. Otherwise, you will have to buy commercial feed to give them.

Water for livestock and plants

Having a pond means always having available water, especially for your garden and your livestock. Nature knows how to care for itself, so the proper balance of fish and aquatic plants will ensure that the water is clean and safe enough for your animals to want to drink and to nourish your garden.

Fire Fighting

In the unfortunate event of a fire, a pond on the property can help provide water to fight the fire.

Ducks and geese

A pond on the property creates a nice place to raise ducks and geese. Ducks and geese are wonderful to watch, they provide useful fertilizer and they can be eaten. If you plan to keep ducks or geese, you must be aware that they pollute the water, eat your plants and may eat your fish. You should also provide nesting areas for them so that hopefully you won’t have to hunt the eggs down (you may still have to). They can also carry parasites and bacteria from another body of water. If your pond is on the smaller side, ducks and geese are probably not for you.


Depending on where you live (and if you eat meat), a pond can attract animals that want to drink, which is often helpful with hunting.


Lastly, ponds provide recreation and fun for your homestead. Depending on how big it is, it can provide boating, swimming, fishing and more. Again, the proper balance of fish and plants ensures the water is safe to swim in.

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