Flat ground and water pressure – woe betide

Water gains about one bar of pressure, for every then meters of elevation (or delta anyway). You may be taking your water pressure in the home for granted, as it sits ready for you to use at probably anything from 3 to 6 bars. Folks living off-grid or on farms usually overcome this issue in one of two ways: Having an electrically powered water pump that boosts water-pressure, or having tanks sit up hill from them. When we lived in the karoo, the pressure was tolerable (not great) because the tank on the hill was around 15 meters higher than the house.

We are at a predicament now however. I installed a booster pump, which gives very ample and configurable pressure to the cottage. The side-effect is wastage of stored electricity, pump-noise and generally feeling a bit tied-in. Secondly, the pump only supplies pressure to the house. The new garden-beds, other irrigation points and animal areas rely on the water gushing from the tanks at ground level. The 40mm class-3 pipe network delivers water fast, but the lack pressure still makes having sprinklers impossible. A solution needs to be found, and part of living off-grid is to think and act out with a solution-mindset; a mindset I am still learning to develop.

I am thinking of the following solutions, in order:

Have the well-pump push an additional 2 or 3 meters of head, and pump directly into an elevated tank. I can elevate the tank by means of a tank-stand, tower or building. Options are being investigated and researched as we speak. This elevated tank can then push out some sufficient pressure to sprinklers and the other tank/s as and when needed.

Secondly, I will see if this pressure is sufficient to negate the need for the booster pump. This will remove some dependence, which is amazing. I doubt however that a tank at 3 meters will provide enough pressure for toilet and shower (gas geysers need some pressure to ignite). It will definitely be enough for basic irrigation though.

My advice to you is, when you are buying and planning the land, to take this into consideration. It is not a blocker, but it needs planning and may affect your electrical capacity planning. Our property is flat, and the store-room/pump house is not good enough to carry a tank.

Once I have a plan in action, I will report back.

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