Small Cabin Water SupplyWhat I mean by small cabin water supply is off-grid water sources.
- Non-drinking - for showers, washing, plant watering, construction (i.e., concrete mixing), etc.
- Drinking - for drinking and cooking
Non-Drinking WaterMany people, including me, dream of owning a beautiful waterfront property; however, it's becoming an unaffordable luxury these days. Having a small spring, creek, lake, or pond on your small cabin property can be a reasonable alternative, at least from the water supply point of view.
If you don't have that, collecting rain water can be an alternative water source. Although I have a river at the edge of my cabin property, I'm also planning to construct a simple, but effective, rain water collection and distribution system. Highlights of my small cabin water supply system:
- My cabin property has some slope, that providing me an elevation point for the water barrel location.
- Rain water is collected from the roof of several structures - cabin, shed, and veranda
- Water passes through a simple filter that filters out leaves, small debris, etc.
- Water is collected in a ~200L (45G) food grade plastic barrel. (I picked up a used one for $20 at a roadside sale. The barrel does not look pretty, I'm going to paint/camouflage it so it blends in nicely with the wilderness surrounding).
- Water is distributed underground using inexpensive sprinkler-type tubing.
- Water can be drained out of the system for the winter.
Water HeatingIf you want to have a warm shower, few water heating options are available for your cabin:
Solar water heater - in one of its simplest forms, basically a black water container exposed to direct sun. The heating time varies, depending upon the size of the container, the outside temperature, sun exposure and angle, but on a sunny day at a temperature of 21°C / 70°F, the water temperature will warm up to around 40°C / 105°F in around 3 hours.
Propane Water Heater - in-line/on-demand type of water heater that hooks up to a small propane tank.
Although the pictured model uses a battery-based pump to feed the water, I'd experiment with just placing the water container high above the heater and allowing gravity to feed the water.
Electrical Water Heater - Many models are available, but since I'm not hooked up to the grid and use a moderate solar power source for my electricity needs, an electrical water heater is not really an option for my small cabin.
Drinking WaterWhen you have a sufficient amount of non-drinking water, the actual amount of drinking water you require is relatively small. I may consider some sort of water purification system in the future, but for now I bring my drinking water with me.
After all these years, I have an idea of how much drinking water I will need for a particular trip to my cabin. For a weekend with 2-3 people, I usually bring a 10-20 L (2-4 Gallon) canister of drinking water - either from home, or purchased in a local grocery store. If you are considering a water purification system, there are quite a few available. Whether or not you need a water purification system for your small cabin depends on your usage requirements. I don't need one at this point. Perhaps someone can share his or her first-hand experience of purifying rain or river/lake water inexpensively. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the Small Cabin Forum (off-grid section).