Do you have a backup plan if your well stops pumping?

We love our well water. It’s drawn from 250 feet down, is great tasting and not “hard” at all. No fluoride or chlorine to worry about. No water bill, except for the electricity cost for the pump of course. And up until last Friday, we were fairly used to the idea that whenever we turned on the spigot handle, it would always be there.

All of a sudden, no water! It was a holiday weekend coming up and no water to drink, bathe in, wash, or flush. Dang!

Out of this unfortunate circumstance, we were fortunate to have our subcontractor plumber come out and with our help (we promised to act as assistants since he was coming on a holiday weekend without his), we had everything back to normal by Saturday evening. Whew!

We weren’t caught completely flat footed. We had some back up water stored in Reliance 6 gallon containers and a “Water Bob” storage container half filled and nesting in our hardly used bathtub (we favor showers :-)).  We get ice storms and other weather events that affect the grid. So we had enough to flush, and sponge bath, and wash a few dishes.

The well my wife envisions:

Our actual well ?:

Our well of 25 years… runs 256 feet deep.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 10.03.08 AM

For drinking water and coffee, we melted ice cubes. No big deal, other than feeling a bit grody by the second day from not showering. So our overall interim preparation for a “well-down” 30-ish hours would rate around a C-minus. If it had been a regional power outage for an extended period (several weeks), our prepping would get more of D-minus or F.

Now that our well situation is fixed, it’s too easy to slip back into the “normalcy bias”. You know… where we just presume that what is will continue to be and no anomalies or “black swans” messing with the normalcy. It’s too easy to relax into “normal life” and comforts and to lose the lesson.

We’re now looking into backup strategies to get well water even if the power (or just the well pump) shuts down.

Here’s what we’ve come up with so far. Most of these items we’ve already procured. As usual, we try our best to offer an array of product recommendations based on our own experience and research.

Next pages we cover rain barrels, followed by what we used.

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Coleman Alderson is author of the Mountain Whispers series and frequent blogger on "I see myself as an outlier, a free-market entrepreneur, an eclectic reader and devout learner, a devoted family guy, a plantsman, a home designer-builder-remodeler, a conscious environmentalist, and a friend to humanity." He holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. "But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And the beauty of gardening is that those lessons never end!"