I really think that everyone should have to live with a cistern at some point in their lives. When you have to haul your water, every drop becomes precious. No more 15 minute showers or running through sprinklers. Having to haul water for the garden, animals, and our use, has made me quite the water conservationist.
We get our water from a public water supply about 7 miles up the road. I am thinking we pay about $3.00 per 200 gallons. Our cistern holds 1200 gallons. If we are extremely frugal, we can make this last about a month. But I like showers on a regular basis, and being able to do my dishes more than once a day, so we get a load of 400 gallons twice a week.
The tank in the truck gets emptied into a pipe that runs into the concrete cistern. In the photo below, you can see a concrete lid. We can open this if we need to access the inside of the cistern. Before we moved in, we had it professionally cleaned. That guy was obviously NOT claustrophobic. I would have probably had a panic attack being down there.
Having a cistern has some pros and cons. I like that I have a months supply of clean water. Even without electricity we have a hand pump that we can install if need be. Cons, well, you only have a months supply of water. Our long term plans include a well, but until then this is what we've got. Probably about half of the homes in our area have to haul water. We estimate that we will have to drill down about 500 to 700 feet to get to water. At the cost of over $30 a foot to drill, we have to do some saving first.
I am interested to see how many extra trips we have to make once the garden gets into full swing. Rain barrels might have to happen sooner rather than later.