14

Generally speaking, any water consumption will lower the water table. But if the aquifer is being steadily replenished and less water is drained from the area, then the only concern is the current depth of existing wells. Some might need to be drilled deeper, if the water level drops. Then the total water table lowering might be bigger than expected. There ...


13

Sepp Holzer seals ponds without using liners. Check out this video [which has pretty bad audio]. Summary of the technique (I haven't tried this, but I would expect that the devil is in the details...): dig out the pond while water is in the pond, compact the bottom -- he talks about using an excavator or backhoe with a vibrating attachment if the soil is ...


13

Rain water is generally the safest source of drinking water, as long as you don't live in a chemically polluted environment. To remove heavy metals etc. you'd need active carbon filters or use distillation. But if you live far from big industry, you can assume rain water is fit for drinking. You could boil it to feel safer on top of that. Ground water, if ...


12

There is a conflict of interest between gardening requirements and stormwater requirements: Stormwater barrels should be kept empty, garden barrels should be kept full. Though a rain barrel or tank could make a useful water retention device, it loses its value as a stormwater load-reduction mechanism when you retain the water for gardening or other ...


12

Clay. Cheap, simple, abundant. Any soil with a clay content in excess of 40% makes a darn good water retention layer. One dump truck load of locally sourced high clay should be all you need. See "Water Content‐Density Criteria for Compacted Soil Liners.” in the Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, Volume 116, Issue 12 (December 1990) by D. Daniel, ASCE. ...


10

Short Answer First of all, let me say that I love rain barrels, and have them installed at both homes I've owned (both older homes that are already fully landscaped). I think rain barrels are great water saving devices, and can provide some buffer against run-off. They're also cheap and easy to install, and can often repurpose existing containers. ...


10

Water loss is not the issue, because you need a lot of water to make it work at all. Even if your dams lose 30% of their water every year, that's about 0.1% per day. System losses in the best large-scale systems are about 20%. In other words, 70-80% efficiency of large scale systems (wikipedia). The big issue, though, is likely to be making it work at all. ...


8

In effect, nature does this already. The sun heats up a patch of ocean, water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere. The vapour then condenses on airborne aerosols to form clouds which are then moved by winds and given the correct atmospheric conditions, rain falls. To produce significant amounts of water from a solar still would require either an ...


8

In the United States, the average water consumption rate is about 1 quart per day. If you're the only person who needs drinking water, then the costs of digging a well are probably not justified. The easiest option is trucking. Anything between a 5-gallon carboy on a bicycle or in a car, up to a couple hundred gallons in the back of a pickup truck is ...


8

I went through this a few years ago and wrote it up on my website. Prices and links are all Australian, but the idea stands. The big discovery for me was that there are people who are in the business of finding waterproof drums and reselling them. If you can find one of those in your area they will offer a range of shapes and sizes, and possibly trade-off a ...


7

There is this report that explores the water usage in the Sydney area. Especially the statistical tables in the appendix might give you the answers that you are looking for. They categorise the different groups of people into bins depending on their water usage in kL per year. A couple of categories that fit your questions are: single person, single ...


7

Groundwater is the stablest source of clean drinking water and normally does not need any extra purification assuming the well is well placed and there are no pollutants nearby. A sample of well water should be analyzed in a lab every three years or so. Water analysis will tell what kind of filters are needed - if any. If there is a danger of microbes ...


6

From small to large (roughly speaking): Barrels (usually I see 30‒65 U.S. gal (110‒250 L)) Plastic Intermediate bulk containers (IBC; usually I see 275 to 330 gal (1000‒1250 L)) Rain barrels or IBCs in series — this allows you to scale your capacity over time Large above- or underground tanks / cisterns (e.g. plastic tanks are widely commercially available ...


6

As you surmise, the problem is in cleaning/purifying the water we want to use. Desalination is extremely expensive, to the point where it's cheaper to have a war rather than build a desalination plant. This is currently most obvious in the middle east but changes to the Indian Ocean monsoon could have dramatic effects all around that area. India is working ...


5

I think this is one of the "gaping holes" you are looking for: The amount of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in sea water is about 40,000ppm. Thus for every 1,000L of sea water distilled, you would have 40L of solids left behind after distillation. The amount of room left for water (i.e. the capacity of the 'hole') would thus decrease by 4% each time it was ...


5

I've found an abundance of ~50 gal. food grade barrels which I use for rain barrels on Craigslist and other local papers etc. I certainly consider this up-cycled and by the time you spend making another type of container water tight, the small cost far outweighs this in my experience. Further, these containers come with a threaded, 2-piece screw type lid. ...


5

I found this page that contains a link to a MSc dissertation on the Pulser pump. The dissertation describes 2 experiments with Pulser pumps and shows that the efficiency is around 1% at best (page 56) and that the author found ...inflow, pumping height and the number of riser pipes to be critical variables. It was also discovered that there is potential ...


4

I'd go with a water well - let the earth do the rain water collecting. If well is not a viable option, commercial rain water gathering systems with e.g. underground tanks do a good job. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting http://www.rainharvest.com/rain-harvesting.html


4

A solar still CAN convert sea water to potable water. They are commonly included in lifeboat kits. Check the Watercone or this survival guide.


4

The main thing we found is that in everything, use less. Over time you will be able to work down to quite low usage without major hassles. It sounds kinda obvious, but it works. In Melbourne (Australia) during a major drought they introduced "target 155", or 155 litres of water per person per day. It's possible to do better, and from that article: Go dual ...


4

It's possible that the source was talking about a practice called jetting that municipalities use to clean their sanitary sewer systems. I know one town that cleaned their system this way every other year.


4

Ok, collecting water is one thing. My first question would be "why collecting water at base level?" Just one meter (yard) higher could generate some pressure to distribute the water better. Most water could be collected at 2 meters (yards) next to gutter. Then a lot of applications could follow. Probably a pressure washer will not require too much input ...


3

Start here: Quality Farm Dugouts When doing this for a farm, the usual calculation (Central Alberta Climate) is to plan for 2 years use, plus 2 years evaporation. Dugouts should be as deep as practical to excavate to minimize surface area. That usually translates into 15 to 18 feet which is what most trackhoes can handle. Here a trackhoe costs you ...


3

Availability in the long term You didn't include in your list a mention of how available copper will be in the future; this matters, for sustainability, because we can't afford to be using it for guttering if we're about to run out of copper ore. It is a very important metal for other purposes, such as electrical components. Wikipedia has a good article on ...


3

You can seal a pond by putting pigs in it. They'll compact the bottom so much that it stops leaking. It may take a few years though. See http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2012/07/paul-wheaton-can-pigs-build-ponds/


3

I grew up on a rural property using only rainwater. I'll walk through the calculations as an example to give a general idea of what you'll need to do. The rainfall in the region averaged about 750mm pa (temperate rainforest area). The water tank was (using imperial measurements) 20' diameter and 6' deep, for a total volume (in roundish numbers) of 1885 ...


3

I suppose as with most things it depends (climate, precipitation, erosion factors, season, etc.) But I can't imagine a scenario in which I would rather have rain-barrels instead of say a rain-garden with water absorbing swails on contour. Or better yet a "Natural Swimming Pool" or "Plunge Pool"! On the advantages of a rain garden over rain barrels: ...


2

I can't find any focusing on USA data in a short search, but if you're looking for general use patters based on factors there are a number of data driven models available. They may be a good place to start looking- after all, they rely on data! Household water use behavior: An integrated model Classifying households for water demand forecasting using ...


2

You are working at the wrong end of the economies of scale, and you will run into serious permit, zoning, and financial issues. A better tack to take is to figure out ways to reduce your water use. Get/build a composting toilet. This eliminates roughly 1/2 your domestic water use. For the males, have a urinal that connects directly to waste line. ...


2

Assuming you can get the appropriate variance or exception from municipal and state health and building codes to put drain water into the toilet feed at all (which is unlikely in the United States), the low cost solution uses a combination of height (which fluid systems use all the time to create pressure differentials) and a second tank. There are a few ...


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