Water Resiliency

The Problem

On Christmas week, our water pipes froze, leaving us without water. We innovated for daily tasks like washing hands and going to the bathroom, but it brought up a good question. What would happen if we lost water for a longer period of time, and how could we increase our water resiliency?

Prevention and Preparation

Prevention is a key to being water resilient. Our pipes froze because we weren’t prepared for days of single digit temps. Next time, we’ll insulate them if the weather is going to be cold. Also, keeping a single faucet running would have prevented the pipes from freezing.

Preparation makes emergencies a lot more bearable. When our water went out, we had bottled drinking water on hand from when our water was turned off for construction. If you have forewarning, prepare!

Some Solutions

When we lost water, we were blessed to have friends gather round and help out. Some got us bottled drinking water, and others gave us a Berkey water filtration systems for drinking water from our creek, which saved us from having to buy more water.

Berkey water filter and tank
Berkey water filter and tank

We flushed the toilets by hauling in five gallon buckets of water from a large tank pumped from our creek, and washed our hands with a small filter bag and tube.

Tank with water from creek
Tank with water from creek


This made it possible to survive rather normally, even with no grid water, which was awesome!

We realize that not everyone has a creek, so you have to innovate according to your circumstances, but these are just some ideas for preparedness in case of an emergency. Other ideas could be collecting runoff from your roof, or rain barrels.

This was a great, albeit inconvenient, learning experience for us. Thankfully, none of our pipes burst, and we got our water back after 5 days. But it has changed our resiliency list: drilling a well has moved up higher on our list!

Future Plans for Resiliency

We are making a list of resiliency ideas for our homestead.  Many of these require significant expense, so this is a rather long term list.

    1. Fences – we currently have no perimeter fence and would be able to run some cattle if we did. And the dog would have a little more freedom.
    2. Tractor – with loader, forks, PTO mowers, bush hog, etc. This would allow us to mow our own pastures instead of paying someone else to do it.
    3. Garage/Barn – we are a two mower family, we’ll soon be a multiple car family and we’re considering a tractor with PTO add-ons. We’re going to need somewhere to store all that!
    4. A well – we are currently on municipal water supply and would like to be able to have water with less dependence. (We just had an incident where the water was turned off for a day of repairs. That was an interesting experience.) We already use creek water for our animals, but we can’t really drink that. 😉
    5. Root Cellar – we would love to be able to have a cool, dark root cellar for potatoes and preserved eggs. It will also free up some space in our refrigerator, because right now, we have like 15 dozen eggs waiting to be used up. We have a great method for preserving them without refrigeration, but we’d like to have a cooler space before we risk all our eggs on it. (We’re doing two five gallon buckets this year.) This would also allow us to grow more sweet potatoes and squash because they would keep longer in a root cellar.
    6. Solar panels and batteries – for reducing dependence on the electric grid. If the power ever went out for a long period of time, we could still run the fridge and freezers off of a few solar panels.
    7. Solar hot water heater – there are some DIY options available here that are interesting. And they work really well!

Fear or Wisdom?

The biggest question I have with all these resiliency ideas:

Am I looking for security and safety in this world or is this wise planning and discernment of the times from the Holy Spirit?

We want to rely on God to provide for us, and not be self-sustaining. We don’t want to be so resilient that we forget who sustains us. But we also want to be able to show that God’s way is better, and share hope with the world when things get tough. Hopefully, the Lord will give us some clarity on if, when, and what order in the days to come.