Having access to water is a top priority when living off the grid. And learning how to get water for an off grid bathroom is essential. Water is key to setting up a functioning off-grid bathroom, which is an essential accommodation. This guide will help ensure you have the water you need to maintain your hygiene while living off-grid.
You can get water for your off-grid bathroom using a well, freshwater source, rainwater collector, or hauled tank. These viable sources, individually or in combination, have the potential to meet all of your off-grid water needs.
The water source that is best for off-grid bathrooms is unique for every situation. Luckily, this guide is here to help by explaining each water source option’s advantages and disadvantages, as well as how you’ll use water in your off-grid bathroom. You’ll be equipped with all of the knowledge you need to choose your water supply and make your off-grid bathroom functional.
Also see: Is Off The Grid Living Dangerous? Here’s What You Should Know
How To Source Water for Your Off Grid Bathroom
When it comes to sourcing off-grid water, there are a variety of options available for most locations. The viability of these sources is highly dependent on:
- Legal requirements
- Geographical features
- Intended use of land
Keep these factors in mind as we detail each option to source water for your off-grid bathroom.
Well water is the most common water source used by individuals living off the grid. There are two types of wells: deep wells and shallow wells.
Shallow wells are the traditional wells you see in fairy tales or that Lassie episode when poor Timmy finds himself in need of rescue. Shallow wells give you access to water sources located underground but at shallow depths.
Shallow wells can be hand dug, making them a less expensive well option. However, because the water source is not deep underground, there is a high potential for water contamination due to impurities seeping down from the surface. Shallow wells are not legal in all states and counties, so you’ll need to research the laws of your local area before choosing a shallow well water source.
Deep wells pull water directly from an aquifer—a body of rock and sediment that holds groundwater. These wells are considered the safest off-grid water source because the rock/sediment that holds the groundwater protects it from surface impurities and contaminants.
However, deep wells are the most expensive option and cost as much as $10,000+ to implement. Because the water is sourced from hundreds to thousands of feet below the surface, you will need to hire a professional team to build your deep well. You may also be required to obtain specific permanents and meet legal requirements before installing a deep well.
Wells are a sustainable water source that can be used in nearly any off-grid location. They are reliable and offer a long-lasting solution. Wells are best for those living off-grid permanently and can meet all of your water needs, from a functioning bathroom to irrigating a garden.
If your off-grid bathroom is located near a river or stream, you have the option of sourcing your water directly from there. You can source your water by either building a pipe-system that draws water continuously from the freshwater source or by capturing water in a tank and hauling it to your site.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan to use a river or stream as your water source:
- High potential for contamination: If you are sourcing this water only for use in your off-grid bathroom, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you. (Please remember to keep your mouth closed while you shower!) But, if you plan on using the water for any type of consumption, you will also need to use a purification system to ensure your safety.
- Inconsistent water supply: Your water availability will be highly-related to climate conditions. Your stream, and potentially even river, may dry up or provide non-usable water in times of drought.
- Water hazards: You need to be located relatively close to the river or stream to make this option work best. Living close to a river or stream has the downside of potential flooding, animal encounters, and insect infestations.
Sourcing your water from a river or stream is cost-effective and is excellent for making your off-grid bathroom functional. If you own the land where the river or stream is located, you are generally within your rights to source water from that area. These laws may vary in more arid locations, so be sure to check your local laws.
The least expensive water source available is the rainwater collector. Rainwater collectors are especially useful for supporting off-grid bathroom needs, as the amount of water required is relatively limited. You can easily capture water and store it in a heating tank used to warm your shower water.
Like surface water sources, rainwater has the potential for contamination and should be purified before any consumption. Rainwater collectors are best suited for temporary off-grid living, such as a vacation cabin or campsite.
The major downside to rainwater collection is that it is dependent on the weather conditions of your location. Rain can only be predicted to a certain degree, so you should be prepared with a back-up supply option. If your off-grid bathroom is located in an arid, dry climate, rainwater collection is probably not the solution for you.
The amount of water you need to supply an off-grid bathroom can be estimated to the gallon level, making a hauled tank an excellent water source option. As mentioned before, you can fill up a tank of water from a surface water source, such as a river or lake, and bring it to your site for use. You can also hire a company to come and fill up your tank periodically.
A hauled tank is an excellent option for temporary off-grid living in dry climates or on land that is not close to a freshwater source. It can also act as back-up water when using any of the other options as the primary source. A hauled tank requires planning and knowledge of your water usage requirements as you are limited to a predetermined amount of water.
Also see: Can You Live Off the Grid in California?
How You Use Water in Your Off-Grid Bathroom
Now that you know your potential water sources let’s break down how you need to use that water for your off-grid bathroom. Understanding how the water will be used may help you further narrow down which source is the best option for you.
Off-Grid Shower Water
Most of the water you will use in your off-grid bathroom will be in the shower. There are various off-grid showers that use different mechanisms to store and supply the water that cleans your body.
All of the water source options will more than adequately supply your shower with the water it needs to function. Be aware of the potential for water contamination for your shower source. It is possible to expose your body to the contaminants while showering either by mouth or through open wounds.
Off-Grid Toilet Water
If you are relying on a traditional toilet in your off-grid location, you will likely be depending on a deep well water source to supply your water. In addition to a water source, traditional toilets also require septic systems to store and remove the waste. This type of system is expensive to install and is meant for individuals living permanently on off-grid property.
There are numerous off-grid toilets available that do not require any water usage at all. The most popular of these toilets are compost toilets. If you plan on using a compost or similar toilet, you will not need to allocate a water supply to the toilet. However, you may still need water to clean or rinse your toilet’s exterior periodically to maintain cleanliness.
You can source the water you need to supply your off-grid bathroom from a well, freshwater source, rainwater collector, or haul it in from an external location. All of these options will adequately supply your off-grid shower and toilet.