Retreat Water Sources

Don’t just focus on the land when planning a retreat or a permanent homestead. Understanding your options for water sources is also a priority. You will need water for drinking, cooking, bathing and for watering crops.

City Water

Though it’s not too likely, it is possible that your rural property does have city or municipal water. That is, water supplied from a central city source and that is likely treated for purification (think chlorine and fluoride). This water supply is also going to cost you, so add that to your prepping budget. Though not ideal, it can mean you don’t run the risk of running out during normal day-to-day operations. Just remember that during a disaster scenario, you will want some backup options too.

Well Water

A good well is like having gold on your retreat property. The water is not going to be treated with chemicals and not controlled by anyone but yourself. Of course, that also means you can run the risk of having no water if the source dries up. Again, have a solid backup supply option even with a good well. You will usually need a pump of some kind, so plan on being able to supply power to that if the grid goes down. A hand pump is an excellent idea to invest in, though it may not be practical for everyday plumbing uses.


Having a way of collecting rainwater is a traditional backup for water supplies at a retreat or homestead. Though if you get enough rain, it can serve as your main source of water as well. It’s free and generally clean (not including any debris that ends up in it off the roof or gutters). All you need is a collection of barrels and a gutter system on your house or other outbuilding. Add screens to the barrels to keep out mosquitoes which will definitely take advantage of the water to lay their eggs. A good rainstorm can provide you with hundreds of gallons, if you have enough surface area on the roof to capture it.

Surface Water

Your last likely option as a retreat water source is surface water, which is any kind of natural water feature like a pond, creek, lake or stream. Just remember that in dry weather, many of thee sources can disappear or get stagnant. You also run the risk of parasites more than in the other sources of water. Be sure to have a good filter or plan on boiling water used for drinking or cooking.

Purifying and Storing

On that note, be prepared with the supplies needed to purify your water too. Coffee filters, bleach and a few pots for boiling should do the trick. If it turns out your retreat just doesn’t have any source of water, you should consider adding stockpiled supplies to your prepping plans. Commercially bottled water is the easiest choice, as it is inexpensive and is already properly sealed for storage. Just keep your water in a cool dark place, and it should last a year or more.