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Old 07-03-2015, 09:38 AM   #1
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FRESH WATER while Camped off the Grid

We carry several five gallon plastic buckets when camped off the grid. Sometimes used to carry rock we have collected, sometimes to store loose items or... to Collect Fresh Water during a sporadic thunderstorm.

Having our Zip Dee Awning has many uses.
- Shade from the Sun
- Water Collection during a Thunderstorm
- Keep a dry zone outside the trailer

By dropping the end of the awning that is opposite of your entry door, the awning presents a large surface area to collect water from a summer thunderstorm. At the lower end you sit a five gallon plastic bucket to collect the water funneling off of the awning's edge. It is amazing how much water can be collected in a short period of time. It can be used for washing dishes, dog water, washing yourself and anything else you want to use a natural "soft water".

Stranded boats in the ocean will use tarps to collect fresh water from a rain. Although not as "fresh water" due to salt residue on the tarp and ocean spray during a storm, it is at least the best one can do in those circumstances. Same with the Zip Dee Awning... the water collected is better. Better than nothing, for sure.

The majority of people have never had a "water barrel" fitted to the roof gutter downspouts of a cabin or a home to collect rain water. It is too old fashioned with the turn of a knob and fresh water flows. But... even the "pot holes and kettle holes" on the rim of the Grand Canyon provided fresh water to the local Indians when water was a scarce commodity. As a culture, we have become very soft and ignorant of how to survive just an electrical outage. It puts the majority in chaos in the Urban environment.

When we suspect a possible power outage is possible in our rural lifestyle, we fill the bath tub with water from our electric well pump... just in case. We will have water bottles. We have a natural gas grill on the deck. We have a wood burning fire place in the Winter to heat the house, even if natural gas and electricity is not available. We are not survivalists. We are prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

When you find yourself in an area where you have a chance to collect rain water off of your awning, try it once. It could be one of the smartest lessons learned on this Forum.

As a side note.

West of Denver on I-70 the traffic can get backed up for HOURS going into the mountains on a weekend. Imagine the panic when a carload of family members need to use the... gasp... restroom facilities that are non existent. Are you going to invite them into your trailer to use the restroom while in tow....? Or should these "prudes" step out into the bushes and do their business?

Or they lack water. Or they did not bother to fill their gasoline tank and it is hot, so the vehicle is idling to retain home creature comforts... So many survival skills are lost among the young and the old today. The easy life has corrupted into someone else needs to take care of ME... at your expense.

At least, prepare yourself for the experiences while traveling. There could come a time that thinking before leaving home was the most important lesson learned.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
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"When we suspect a possible power outage is possible in our rural lifestyle, we fill the bath tub with water from our electric well pump... just in case." In January, 2007, southwest Missouri was hit with a major ice storm. This was predicted for several days. We filled both bathtubs with water in anticipation of a power outage (we were in a rural area, too). The ice started Friday afternoon. Friends in a neighboring town were in an all-electric house and were one of the first to loose electricity. We didn't find out about their plight until Sunday. They came up to our house Sunday noon, and shortly after lunch our electricity went out. We had a real fireplace and a gas stove, so we were able to get along just fine.

That's one of the advantages of a self-contained RV. If the fresh water tank and propane tanks are kept full and the batteries charged one can live for at least a couple of days without any other connections. Solar panels to keep the batteries charged are a big plus. A good generator is also an option.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:20 AM   #3
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When we spent several weeks poking around the Rocky Mountains a couple of years ago, we gathered water from the beautiful, rushing rivers we camped by....they called them rivers, at home they would be called creeks.

We gave this water to Lily, filled our solar showers with it and washed our hair.

It was fun, and we really enjoyed stretching our self-sustaining legs.


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Old 07-03-2015, 10:50 AM   #4
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Hey Ray. I've read that Colorado and perhaps other western dry states have a lot of water restrictions. Somewhere I think I heard that in some areas you are not permitted to gather rain water from downspouts unless you have certain water rights associated with your property ownership. To us in the east this sounds odd but water rights have caused many gunfights in the Ole West over the years. How do they manage these things now days.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
Hey Ray. I've read that Colorado and perhaps other western dry states have a lot of water restrictions. Somewhere I think I heard that in some areas you are not permitted to gather rain water from downspouts unless you have certain water rights associated with your property ownership. To us in the east this sounds odd but water rights have caused many gunfights in the Ole West over the years. How do they manage these things now days.
*******

You are right. Our previous home was along the Front Range west of Littleton, CO and the "water rights" of water coming off of our roof and property were owned by a private party or public party.

Come and Get Me is how I took this nonsense.... Everyone pushes conservation, yet when you practice smart water usage, you CAN'T. We had a 40 gallon plastic barrel connected to a down spout and used it to water the garden. Not that a "water" Swat Team was going to haul us into Water Court and want their 40 gallon reprisal. Of course, if the water floods into your home or through the shingles on your roof... it is YOUR problem, not theirs.

Our local Water and Sewer company also confirmed that someone else owned the water rights to our roof water. As everyone's eyes, at this meeting, rolled back into their sockets... we all felt a general agreement that sometimes these laws were intended for those irrigating a 5,000 acre farm... not a garden, where the water could be diverted with a little effort, anyways. I am surprised the local golf course did not have to pay for the "rain water" that was diverted to water their course. Well, it could get to that point.

I say I am a reasonable guy, but some day someone downwind could own the air that you breath. If you have a plant with chemicals being added to the air downwind, they are responsible... why not get down to us small guys. (Just trolling for out of the cereal box.)

At the Colorado School of Mines "water people" were coming in and trying to go back into old mining records to find out who owned mines where water was flowing out of the entrances of the mine(s). They wanted to purchase the water rights.

One guy who owned a closed down gold/silver mine and water rights had a good flow of clean mineral water flowing. He was building some structure to hold the water and wanted to bottle it as Colorado Au Water. Colorado Gold Water. I think he had too much of it in his system at the time. Gold Water that is.

Water in the west, as in Nevada, can create some serious conflict. The aquifers are being consumed that have been in place since the last Ice Age when we had a serious issue of Global Cooling and Global Warming and Global Cooling, etc..

We own One Acre Foot of some wonderful ground water. Comes from the well head at about 58F and slightly acidic pH. A lot sold in the neighborhood and he wants to put in a... small Private Golf Course. Probably a couple of holes... but he says... the people with horses use a lot of water, and it is mine to use as well for what I want. We will see how the HOA wiggles through that.

When you take a bucket of water out of the Colorado River, even as murky as it is right now, California could lack a couple toilet flushes because of your callous act of water larceny. When I pee on either side of the Continental Divide... I am returning what I had earlier removed from their water rights downstream.

We have a Forum Member who is a water guy. Maybe he will stumble upon this and can add some comments from real experience and knowledge.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:44 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, in California, the water flowing out of mines could be more likely to be arsenic water or mercury water than gold water. Sometimes to the extent that the old mines can turn into hazardous waste sites, like the Iron Mountain mine close to where I live.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:58 AM   #7
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I lived in an rv park in Cottonwood Az, they ran a well with a small holding tank maybe 300 gallons. The power went out one summer afternoon and the long term locals promptly went out and watered the exterior of their rigs. I guess to lower the temps inside when the ac quit.
So now the whole park has no power or water, the temporary cooling effect was over in an hour.
When the power goes out now, and I'm on well water, I now fill the fresh water tank to 1/2 full and drag out the generator.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:07 PM   #8
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One of the dumbest laws.

Water rights aside ( but even that )

When you collect rain water, and use it, all you are doing is slowing down the flow of water. Which is a goal where I live in Pennsylvania. It's relatively small amount in the scheme of things.

( I know water rights are a big deal in Colorado. I am surprised Colorado residents put up with it. They often have a don't tread on me state of mind )
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:24 PM   #9
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We collect the water from our house roof into five gallon buckets that are used to keep five fifty gallon barrels filled. We do this to water the garden. Here our water is metered and we are charged for what we use and use that figure to compute our waste water fee.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:33 PM   #10
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My Avion has a twenty foot awning with a center support that makes it difficult to tilt. However I have two factory drain holes in the awning near the outside edge that are perfect for catching water. These are just grommets put into the awning to allow water to drain off. They are near the center of the awning. This could be done to any awning.
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:42 PM   #11
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Sir... how about some Mercury and Arsenic for lunch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post
Unfortunately, in California, the water flowing out of mines could be more likely to be arsenic water or mercury water than gold water. Sometimes to the extent that the old mines can turn into hazardous waste sites, like the Iron Mountain mine close to where I live.
*****

The outflow of water from these mines in Colorado was probably some way to skirt water laws by taking the "rights from water flowing out of a mine" and exchange it for an equivalent amount "flowing in a stream or river". They were not talking and I was not asking any questions.

Anyone who has visited Leadville, CO and Butte, MT must have seen the colorful water ponded in their mining districts. Nobody seems to be fighting over any of it. Fishing probably stinks as well.

The theory in Colorado probably takes the population of the state and multiplies that number by 100 or 1000 gallons per home. It gets the attention of the politicians as they cannot permit "free water", as it would ruin the public water service revenues. So you conserve water, water volume is down, so the Utility must raise the price of water used to pay overhead and upkeep.

Getting the picture?

We meter our well water as it comes into the house and report it every year. When we send our gallon reading, we get a letter saying our "reading was in error", as we use a lot less than most of the people out here. There is NO meter for the water coming straight out of the well head to water the horses... for those having one to four horses allowable.

We are on septic as well and it works very well. An extra flush just to keep the bacteria... fuzzy and content. If it were not for toilet paper in the system, we would rarely have to have the septic pumped. We manage to keep half of the toilet paper out of the septic system I would call the Number 1 or Number 2 uses. If you cannot figure that one out, we need to sit down and talk "toilet paper" and its uses some day.

We will have water restrictions for those wanting to water their front lawns in the Metro areas along the Front Range of Colorado.

Tucson and Phoenix, AZ drawing outside water do not have restrictions of use or volume. Unless it has changed since last year.

California... no new dams to save the smelt in the Bay. No dams to save the Salmon spawning upstream, if ever in modern history. Much like real estate... location, location, location. When you want to purchase a home, ask about real estate taxes, insurance and water source(s). If any of those make no sense... you might want to RUN AWAY.

We were looking at an out of the snow belt area of homes east of the Sandia Mountains which are on the east side of Albuquerque, NM. There were a number of homes for sale and empty lots. Great views. Away from the City. I asked the sales people what was their water source? They did not know. We cancelled the Realtor's viewing of a home we were interested and RAN AWAY. The Rio Grande is not so Grand any more and the water demand is much higher today.

Be well. Rocky Mountain Spring Water can be a wonderful experience if provided by the Forest Service or BLM. I am not a Hydrologist. But you do not have to be an orthopedic surgeon to know that your leg is broken in two places, either.

Added: Wyoming has a good sized area near Rock Springs, Wyoming where the water runs into this Basin that is surrounded by the Continental Divide. The water does not go anywhere... but into the Basin. Unfortunately it is also called the Red Desert. There are other similar basins WITH water, but this is just one worth visiting.
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:00 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
*******

We have a Forum Member who is a water guy. Maybe he will stumble upon this and can add some comments from real experience and knowledge.
I suspect you mean me, and although I'm not the smartest guy here, I am almost smart enough to stay away from this discussion. Almost.

Colorado's water laws aren't anything new. They've been on the books since the Colorado River Compact. I think that was in the '40s or '50s. And although the rain barrel thing sounds ridiculous, just imagine if everyone in the front range had three or four of them. It would add up to a significant amount of water. At that point, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona could say; hey, we're not getting our allotted portion of the Colorado River (yes, I know the front range isn't in the Colorado River Basin, but it's part of the delivery system). The State of Colorado would have to cut off some of it's users to satisfy the downstream states. So, who should they cut off? Under the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, the guy with the oldest right gets his water first. The newest rights get cut off first. Obviously, an illegal diversion would be the most junior, and should immediately get cut off. If you don't have a right for your rain barrel, it's an illegal diversion. Remember, the state owns ALL the water, it just divey's it out to those with rights.

Now, the Colorado "water cops" aren't going after anyone with a rain barrel. And they are unlikely to do so. They've done an effective job of minimizing the use of them just by getting the possibility into the public discussion. What hasn't gotten into the public discussion is that it's not just Colorado. Almost all of the western states have provisions like this. It's a technicality in the laws. I wouldn't (don't) worry about such trivialities. If we're measuring in gallons, it's a triviality. If we're talking acre*feet, that may be another story. It would take about 8150 40-gallon rain barrels to make an acre*foot. I doubt there are enough of them for anyone to get all that excited about.

I really like the awning collection idea. We just installed our awning for the first time this last weekend. Using it to collect water hadn't occurred to me. If I ever have a rainstorm without wind, I'll be all over that one, even without a legal right to do so.
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:42 PM   #13
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A little off subject but Downers Grove Il. has water run off tax for rain water from roof, not going any where but on ground, no sewers involved.
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:49 PM   #14
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