Water Infrastructure

Water infrastructure is one of the most critical parts of any intentional community. It is essential for health, sanitation, and human flourishing. Without access to clean water, it is impossible to sustain life and create a thriving community.

The first step in creating a water system for your intentional community is to decide on a source of water. In the long-term, the best and cleanest source of water is typically rain catchment, but sometimes it’s not going to be feasible. During construction of the initial community, rain catchment typically is not going to work because it needs time after its built to be able to store up the water. For example, during the construction of the Emberfield Community, we trucked in the initial water so that we would have water to drink while we built the rain catchment system.

Whether or not you have enough annual rainfall to meet your community’s needs, having a backup source of water is always advisable. This could mean tapping into an existing well or municipal water system, using surface water sources such as streams or rivers (and filtering it for potability), or even using atmospheric water generators.

Once you have identified a source of water, you will need to consider how it will be stored and distributed around the community. This may require the construction of tanks or cisterns for storing large volumes of water and plumbing systems to transport it around the community.

Finally, you will need to consider heating and cooling your water supplies as needed. Passive techniques such as solar heating can be used in some environments; however, more active methods such as gas or wood-fired heaters may sometimes necessary in more extreme climates.