If you have gotten some land 'off-the-grid', then you've probably thought about your electricity and water supply. Many people simply install electric pumps or figure they'll depend on natural water catchments in the vicinity and then stop there. However, it's important to have a manual pump on-hand, as a backup in case your other systems fail. The following are important factors to consider before and when making the purchase:
1. Water table fluctuations
If you've lived in a metropolitan region all your life, then you probably don't know that water tables fluctuate significantly at different times of the year. Getting a manual pump is therefore no substitute for digging a well/borehole that's deep enough to guarantee you all-year-long water supply.
Before getting the pump, learn as much as you can about the routine water-table variations by visiting local geo-survey offices or going online to get your locality's geo-survey data. Also, talk to neighbors who have lived in the area for at least a year or more. Once you know how deep the well should be, you'll be able to get the right pump to push water to the surface even when the well is at its lowest.
2. The landscape
If you live in a hilly area and decide to put up your home on the hill, with the well in the valley where the water table is closer, consider that the pump will have to work much harder to transport water up the hill to your homestead, even with a wind- or solar-powered manual pump. You may be better off getting a ram pump rather than the conventional pumps that have handles, which will give better strength.
3. Water usage
Consider your entire household's daily usage of water when choosing your manual pump capacity – this is obvious. Pollutants, drought and other factors, however, can affect the quality and quantity of water in natural catchments, leaving you with less water than you need. Therefore, consider your full water requirements (as though the well were your only source) and then buy a pump that can give that daily, with an additional margin, say 20% more.
In addition, account for any future expanding water requirements as you make your estimates. Remember that pumps are a long-term investment, so make an exaggerated assessment of your usage needs over a period of 10-20 years. There's no need to spend a significant sum getting a manual pump now only to have to replace it in two years when your household has doubled.
Focus on getting pumps which are solar-powered or windmill-driven or those with torque delivery systems which can be harnessed to oxen or asses, for instance, if your water needs are extremely high. For more information, contact a professional water pump company, such as Slater H & Son Pty Ltd.