How do I get water to my house?

Submitted by Solar on Wed, 10/13/2021 - 23:00

This is one of those situations where God had placed me in a unique situation.

At the time I had purchased the land, I called a well driller about drilling me a well, he witched the property with a stick and confirmed it with technology, knew where the water was, how much and how deep, and just like my nature, I listened to God, I asked for a job, and just like that, I was drilling wells in the County.

I learned all there was to learn about topography and the massive land upheaval that is the Sierra Nevada mountain range and how water is always forcing itself through fractures from massive aquafers underground, giant lakes and rivers traverse under the surface.

Ca is after all, a damned desert below the Sierra despite the propaganda.

Anyway, while studying my own land, I saw several moist areas above the spring, and since their were still hot days it only made sense that it was coming out of the rocks and not wicking up out of the spring. I found about 20 of the wet mossy spots over a quarter mile, but only a couple were actually producing water worth exploring.

I went to work pounding with a sledge, busting shale and hard ass quartz, went back into the rock about a foot and opened up this fracture that was producing a gallon and a half per minute. This took two whole days. It tasted amazing, had it tested, better than any bottled water on the market and cleaner, just the right amount of minerals in the water to make it taste so crisp and clean.

Now the real problem, how do I get it out of the creek?

During all this time, I had installed a Ram Pump in the creek, oldest know method of pumping water over long distances and elevations. History assumes the Chinese developed it more than 3000 years ago, but no one really knows since the Chinese were the only ones keeping records back then that had a diagram of a working bamboo system, though may argue it was a Greek method.

Anyways, the process is super simple, so I'll do a quick description. Ever turned off the water really fast and heard a clunk in the pipes? This is known as a hammer effect, where the water was happily flowing along and suddenly the flow is cut off, all that water volume and pressure and no where to go but back up the pipe.

The pressure created can be three to 10 to hundreds of times the working pressure in the pipe suddenly when it comes to a screeching halt.

Now apply this same concept in the creek. I installed 6oo' of pipe going upstream to a pond I'd developed by building a dam out of masonry bricks. (that's another story when I found gold for the first time).

Anyway, I had perfect flow, about 5 gallons per minute coming out of the pipe. there wasn't a lot of pressure though, you get roughly a half a lb of pressure per foot of drop, meaning 100' of drop will produce approximately 50 lbs of pressure, house working pressure ranges from 28 to as high as 5o PSI.

The pump consists of a hollow metal bowl, an engine valve and 6 or more bands of metal working as a return spring for the valve to shut off the water.

The process is simple, the water comes through the valve, as the flow increases, the valve slams shut, this creates the hammer effect, sending the excess pressure and water into a bladder, a piece of PVC pipe 6" or more  in diameter, and a tiny hole for the pressure to escape which has a small hose attached to carry your water up the mountain.

Mine was about 230' below where my holding tank was, a 6' long, 3' across galvanized pipe I cemented in the ground.
Took about a day and a half to fill, but by God, I had water, the pipe produced about 3 table spoons every time it cycled, and yes, the creek is also a spring, no single source, it all comes out of the rock so it too was clean enough to drink.... Back then...

There is one huge downside to the ram pump, NOISE!!! every 20 seconds when the valve slammed shut, the hammer sound reverberated throughout the canyon, sounded like your tireless tinkering neighbor pounding in his shop day in and day out for weeks on end. You can adjust the flow and cycle, my was tuned to only reach my tank and no higher.

This was my first pump, and all the while the boss kept saying "Take the rig home, drill a well".

But hey, I was fine, I had water, besides, I hated the noise the rig produced, like standing next to a rocket engine for 8 hrs a day, even ear protection didn't help, if you opened your mouth, it was twice as loud, there was no escaping the impact.

So, no, I never drilled a well, and the spring is still producing a gallon and a half, even through Calif cyclical droughts, this spring has never failed me.

And yes, Ca cycles through drought on a regular basis and has absolutely nothing to do with climate change, it's been on this cycle for the last ten thousand years, back when ca had a real drought, no rain for nearly a millennia, but that's another rant.

Did I mention how my overall plan was to buy raw land, build my home all by myself and raise a family?
Yeah, that was the one big hole in my plan, there weren't any women up here, just a bunch of guys like me trying to escape the idiocy of the city.

I could continue but I don't know if this is too long, so I'll stop here for now.

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