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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a place that currently has no water in neighborhood. I built the house with 3500 gal. Cistern 20 years ago and the system works great. I have 2000 gal delivered about every 4-5 weeks. I installed a float switch and connected to my alarm system to let me know when it is time to reorder.

Now... It seems the city is close to bringing in water lines. It will end up costing a boat load but 85% of the costs will be assessed if I tie in or not.

So... Now where I need some ideas. Since I have this system already in place, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

I probably wouldn't want to just leave it sit full for an emergency as it won't be fresh. I considered leaving my pump system in place and just using the city water to do a cistern fill with a valve. Would probably take a long time.

Maybe just use the cistern every few months?

Thanks for ideas.

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I agree with BPH that is what I would do too. Except I would top it off once a week.
 
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Is the cistern an old fashioned stone and mortar pit, like my folk had? or?
Will the city have a water tower? If so, you could use the cistern strictly for emergencies, filled from the city water supply as soon as the need arises. My city doesn't have water towers and I lose all water as soon as a power failure occurs, so I have to maintain a water supply for emergencies. I add 50% of the recommend dose of chlorine to my stored water and swap out every couple of years, to use in my garden. BUT I have to let the water off gas the chlorine for a week so I don't kill anything.
You could do the same, store city water, add some chlorine to be safe, and filter the water in an emergency for drinking. I'd add some chlorine to the water you use for drinking if it is stored for more than 3-4 months. Just MHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good feedback. The cistern is modern tech, plastic fyi...

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is the cistern an old fashioned stone and mortar pit, like my folk had? or?
Will the city have a water tower? If so, you could use the cistern strictly for emergencies, filled from the city water supply as soon as the need arises. My city doesn't have water towers and I lose all water as soon as a power failure occurs, so I have to maintain a water supply for emergencies. I add 50% of the recommend dose of chlorine to my stored water and swap out every couple of years, to use in my garden. BUT I have to let the water off gas the chlorine for a week so I don't kill anything.
You could do the same, store city water, add some chlorine to be safe, and filter the water in an emergency for drinking. I'd add some chlorine to the water you use for drinking if it is stored for more than 3-4 months. Just MHO.
City water does have a tower (part of project and expense).


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I'm north of Tucson. Now water towers! Boy was I surprised. The have water tanks all over, 5,000 to 20,000 gallons that are filled from the main water treatment plants. At the remote water tanks, 1 to 5 high pressure pumps (120-125 PSI) fill much smaller pressure tanks and then it goes out to homes and businesses. At high pressure, they can use much smaller pipes, making it cheaper to plumb the city. At each home/business, the water pressure is reduced to about 60 PSI. Unfortunately, when there is a power failure, the high pressure stored water is gone in a few minutes.
My first experience, I got up, went to the john about 5 AM. The lights went out, by the time I got to the kitchen to make coffee, I got maybe a quart of water out of the faucet. I guess everyone was showering and the water was gone in a minute. Every power failure that affected the water pumping station has the same results. I now store 12 gallons of drinking water in the pantry, plus my big reservoir for SHTF in the garage. Using a "water bob" or filling the bathtub, is not and option for me. I also catch rain.
The first water main break I saw, looked like Old Faithful. It was unbelievable how high the water was shooting up.
 

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I agree with using the city piped water to keep your tank full, if you're paying for it anyway you might as well be using it. If it's metered as it comes in then compare that to the price of the trucked in water. My guess is if a city is expanding the water lines they are going to charge for every drop. It would not be a bad idea to invest in a basic filtration/UV system. I know the plan is not to rely on the grid but in reality all they are doing is pumping the water to your existing set up thus eliminating the trucked in water.

Stored water is great, but bottles won't keep the tub and toilet going very long. I had a friend who complained that he didn't have a place to store water but he has a 4,000 gallon above ground pool. I helped connect a drain running from the pool to the home (tied in after the meter). This isn't ideal but if if SHTF he will still be flushing and bathing and keeping his bottled water for drinking and cooking only. We also installed a bypass if the sewer is non functional to a hidden underground holding tank.

There is many ways to prep but the key is water, food and protection. The rest can be sourced if you can get out and if not having those 3 make it more comfortable being locked in.
 

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I agree with using the city piped water to keep your tank full, if you're paying for it anyway you might as well be using it. If it's metered as it comes in then compare that to the price of the trucked in water. My guess is if a city is expanding the water lines they are going to charge for every drop. It would not be a bad idea to invest in a basic filtration/UV system. I know the plan is not to rely on the grid but in reality all they are doing is pumping the water to your existing set up thus eliminating the trucked in water.

Stored water is great, but bottles won't keep the tub and toilet going very long. I had a friend who complained that he didn't have a place to store water but he has a 4,000 gallon above ground pool. I helped connect a drain running from the pool to the home (tied in after the meter). This isn't ideal but if if SHTF he will still be flushing and bathing and keeping his bottled water for drinking and cooking only. We also installed a bypass if the sewer is non functional to a hidden underground holding tank.

There is many ways to prep but the key is water, food and protection. The rest can be sourced if you can get out and if not having those 3 make it more comfortable being locked in.
When I lived outside Toledo OH, on the W. shore of Lake Erie, I woke one morning to find the local government had shut off the taps to half a million people because of a bogus scare about microcystine (algal toxin). No running water for a week. The governor forbade the city from turning water back on until he showed up to "save the day" personally. People were fighting in supermarkets over bottled water, it was insane. Not even a real credible crisis. They brought in national guard etc... for that matter right up the road in Flint, MI, those folks STILL don't have lead free water after 10 years or something crazy. That IS a credible crisis.

Anyway I digress... when I lived alone in a city I'd keep a few 15 gallon carboys full of distilled water. That and a couple of lifestraws plus whatever was in the water tank and toilet tank made about 100gal. Theoretically that was enough drinking water for two months, it's certainly enough to keep a small group alive and let you hydrate or boil some food for a week or two. I had about 200 gal stored during that microcystin scar and it rained plenty up on the MI border so that was no thing. Beyond a week or two though, you need collection plans. I now live in a rural-ish area. My local neighborhood has its own water tank, I keep several hundred gallons of fresh water stored in 60 gallon barrels plus rain barrels to collect water. We have some farm ponds and a seasonal stream runs through our property, I have an unused outdoor hot tub which would make a fine cistern if I had any head's up. I have a system to divert rain runoff from my roof to the hot tub in need; that's stored away with enough filtration supplies to take care of my family's needs through anything other than another dust bowl.

BTW about the dust bowl, there's a terrific book called "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. Should be required reading for any prepper.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm seeing a few pretty interesting valves that can be controlled by a float switch. Would be nice if I could get this thing to automatically fill when it hits a certain point.

Also trying to plan for power outages. Need a way to feed city water to house directly also.

Maybe city line comes in house, and tees. One side goes to cistern line and the other goes to house. Each side of tee has a ball valve. Three settings:
1) both valves closed, using the cistern and pump to feed house.
2) valve to cistern side of pump back fills cistern.
3) valve to house side of pump open to feed house from city. May need a second valve to prevent back feed through pump to cistern?

Thanks for all the input.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When I lived outside Toledo OH, on the W. shore of Lake Erie, I woke one morning to find the local government had shut off the taps to half a million people because of a bogus scare about microcystine (algal toxin). No running water for a week. The governor forbade the city from turning water back on until he showed up to "save the day" personally. People were fighting in supermarkets over bottled water, it was insane. Not even a real credible crisis. They brought in national guard etc... for that matter right up the road in Flint, MI, those folks STILL don't have lead free water after 10 years or something crazy. That IS a credible crisis.

Anyway I digress... when I lived alone in a city I'd keep a few 15 gallon carboys full of distilled water. That and a couple of lifestraws plus whatever was in the water tank and toilet tank made about 100gal. Theoretically that was enough drinking water for two months, it's certainly enough to keep a small group alive and let you hydrate or boil some food for a week or two. I had about 200 gal stored during that microcystin scar and it rained plenty up on the MI border so that was no thing. Beyond a week or two though, you need collection plans. I now live in a rural-ish area. My local neighborhood has its own water tank, I keep several hundred gallons of fresh water stored in 60 gallon barrels plus rain barrels to collect water. We have some farm ponds and a seasonal stream runs through our property, I have an unused outdoor hot tub which would make a fine cistern if I had any head's up. I have a system to divert rain runoff from my roof to the hot tub in need; that's stored away with enough filtration supplies to take care of my family's needs through anything other than another dust bowl.

BTW about the dust bowl, there's a terrific book called "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. Should be required reading for any prepper.
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Book purchased!

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An ideal scenario would be 10 thousand gallon in ground swimming pool with a rain gutter from the metal roof of the house dumping into the pool. Keep it sanitized using pool shock but not tabs..those are not good on the kidneys...liver and other internal organs. I can do that all I need is a metal roof on the house. We have asphalt shingles and I dont feel safe drinking that.
 
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