My Solar-Powered Dankoff Slow Pump System – Part 2, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 1. This part concludes the article.)

The #1303 model of Dankoff Slow pumps has the highest ‘gpm’ (gallon per minute) rating of the less expensive 1300 series. The #1303-24 pumps the most water for the money, and to a height that it will pump that is adequate for most situations. The advantage of a 24 volt system over a 12 volt pump, is that most surface water sources would likely be in a shaded environment, so the panels would need to be located some distance from the water source to obtain the needed amount of sunshine.  We should place the panels where the sun shines most to get the needed solar power output to pump the *maximum* amount of water for your individual requirement.

If we need 225 gallons per day, we only need sunshine for the time needed to pump that 225 gallon goal.  More sun is not necessarily needed. For example, if the system as installed produces 1 mpg with full sun, and 225 gallons are needed, then 4 hours of full sun is required to produce 225 gallons.  On cloudy days it will produce less. However, the garden will require less water on cloudy days. I use 20, or 55 gallon drums, and 40 gallon troughs to store water for times I would like to water the garden using the gravity fed method through a valve, or siphon effect, but slowly saturating, or flooding the garden could also be done.  If enough water is held in reserve for cloudy days, one could just let the pump run and saturate the ground, but we would then be putting excessive time on the pump. It’s best not to expect the maximum output as solar conditions are usually less than optimal, so give your system a real world test, and see what it really does. We should estimate that the actual output will be less, therefore we should have built in, a wide margin of error just to make sure we can easily meet our greatest estimated requirement.

The pump as you may install it, could meet my estimate of 1 gpm, or close to it by using only two 100 watt panels. Under the best conditions, and the given 204 watts listed on the chart, the pump could potentially pump 2.5 gpm x 60 minutes x 6 hours = 900 gallons per day.  My 1308-12 usually puts out only half of it’s hypothetical maximum when wired directly to the panels, so let’s assume the proposed 1303-24 will only produce 1/2 or 1.25 gpm x 60 minutes x 6 hours = 450 gallons per day to height of 100 feet above the water source. That is enough water for one acre of the thirstiest crop during hot and dry weather.

Worst-Case De-Rating

I will now further de-rate the pumps output, because the proposed site is somewhat shaded in the morning and afternoon, and receives only 3 hours of full sun. 1.25 gpm x 60 minutes x 3 hours = 225 gallons per day.  That would be enough water for a 1/2 acre garden. We can justify de-rating the pump’s output another way to hedge our estimate.  If using only two 12 volt, 100 watt panels wired in series to create 24 volts, the maximum amperage that can be made is only 5.5 amps at 24 vdc. The pump needs 8 amps to pump at it’s maximum rating of 2.5 gpm to a height of 100 feet.  This is why we are assuming the pump will not pump at the full rated 2.5 gpm, but only potentially half (1.25 gpm), and because solar conditions are usually less than ideal, I would want assume a worst case scenario, that it produces only one fourth of it’s rating, or 0.75gpm and see if that low amount would be adequate.  0.75gpm x 60 x 6 hours = 270 gallons per day.  That is still enough water for a one half acre garden. I have read that 1/4 acre garden could feed a family of 4, but then I have never tried that. If true, then I would want to double that, in case crop loss is excessive.

If 225 gallons does not produce enough water for your needs, add another set of two 12vdc 100 watt panels for a potential total of 11 amps at 24 vdc, and it will produce twice the water, nearer it’s full rated output of 2.5 gpm in less than full sun, or ideal conditions.  It may then produce say a solid 2.0gpm, but begin pumping earlier in the morning and continuing into the evening, producing more than 900 gallons per day. Again, the maximum potential output with 6 hours of full sun is 900 gallons per day at 100 feet above the water source. Adding 2 extra 100 watt panels will cause the pump to run much longer throughout the day, albeit at a reduce rate, yet produce significantly more.  This is difficult to estimate, yet that is what these pumps can do. I believe these estimates to be realistic, if not conservative. However, as all regular SurvivalBlog readers know: Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).  In these rough estimates, we have given ourselves a generous margin of error, so we will be less likely to be disappointed.

Consider DC Cable Voiltage Drop

IMHO, the 1303-24 (24vdc) model pump is the most cost-effective solution for tight-budgeted preppers who have access to surface water. Look before you leap, and do your own assessment of your property and water needs. If the water source must be more than 800 feet from the location of the solar (photovoltaic) system, the 1303-48 (48 volt) would be necessary. The maximum wire run using 6 AWG (well pump wire), and the 24 volt pump, to run at full capacity, or at 8 amps, would be 800 feet. Using the much less expensive, and common 12 AWG romex wire for our tight budget installation, the maximum run would be 200 feet.  Hopefully a 200 foot run will put the panels in full sun. If not, then increase the size of wire–to reduced  line loss.

Using common 2-wire romex in 10 AWG wire, would increase the maximum run to 350 feet, should the pump be pulling it’s maximum amperage of 8 amps at 24 volts.  Perhaps 10 AWG would work?  Less wire, in terms of number of feet, and less wire in terms of wire size, is less money needed. Use a free on-line ‘voltage drop calculator’ during the design phase to determine the gauge, and length of wire that can be used that does not reduce the voltage at the end of the line more than 5%. This means that the correct size, and length of wire used, will deliver the full potential power output in amps at it’s highest potential voltage it creates when receiving full sun light.

The #1303-24 pump can use no more than 8 amps at 24 volts, so plug those numbers into the voltage drop calculator. Because these pumps can be run directly from the panels, we can use the unregulated voltage output of the panel in the calculator. The actual unregulated voltage of a nominal 12 volt panel is about 18 volts, and 36 volts for a nominal ’24’ volt panel.  Use those higher voltage numbers for the voltage drop calculation along with the amperages given, namely 8 amps that is the maximum draw for the 1303, 24 volt pump.  If the voltage drop is 5% or less, it would be considered to be an efficient system for standard a ‘solar system’ that charges batteries.  Because this is a ‘slow pump’, being electrically efficient is not as relevant. However we’ll use the standard 5% voltage loss limit as a maximum acceptable. This pump is designed to operate on a voltages much lower than it’s rating without damaging the motor, but we are after a production of 225 gallons per day, or more, so we’ll do our best to deliver as much power as we can.

More Amperage!

What this pump requires more than voltage, is amperage.  So let’s supply it with enough watts to make it operate, and not sweat the voltage quite so much. If you live where is it often cloudy, then adding another set of two 100-watts panels might be necessary, or use more water storage, to compensate. 100 panels at 24 volts will not harm the pump. Add as many 24vdc pairs of panels as you need. The pump will pump earlier in the morning to later into the evening, and better on cloudy days, greatly extending the time the pump will run, and provides potentially hundreds of extra gallons of water.

One source recommends that if running directly off panels, in other words, without using a linear current booster that costs $700 bucks, to compensate for the absence, use at least 40% more wattage than is suggested by the manufacturer’s pump output chart.  We may, or may not need the full output, so let’s go with only one set of two 100 watt panels, and see what happens. Add more latter if needed. Looking at the chart, 40% of 200 watts, would be 80 watts, but because we need 24 volts, and because it is less expensive to buy two 100 watt panels than one 24 volt panel, we can supply it with 100% more power, instead of 40% more power, or 400 watts instead of 200 watts, or 11 amps instead of 5.5 amps.  Of course, shop around.

In my experience, because the shipping costs are included, it makes the 100 watt panels from, or, the best deals. And consider that if the pump will only be used 5 or 6 months out the year, that those panels can be used to power other essentials, such as radios, or other during the darker winter months when power is hardest to come by.  In my experience with radio, 200 watts during the winter in Montana is my bare minimum. I would like more.

Pump Assures a Key Resource

This is a time-tested pump, invented in 1983.  The wearing parts are said to last 10 years, given a filtered input.  It is efficient, and reliable. Time tested. Mine is set up to be portable, and will likely out-last me. If possible, spare parts are recommended, and should be the motor brushes, and a spare pump head. A portable rig can service several small gardens, and would be one of the most important item to go with me should I have to leave.

We happen to have surface water everywhere around here in NW Montana. It does, however, require a 10 micron filter.  Get a lifetime supply, one for each season, up to 20. Do not use a 5 micron filter, it does not allow enough water to flow and can ‘starve’ a pump that needs water for lubrication and cooling. This recommendation comes not from the literature provided by the stores, but from the boys in the back, the technicians that build and repair the pumps. I called and asked. If you must run a 5 micro filter, then use two filters that separately feed into the intake. With a clean water source such as ours, a filter should last several seasons, but I would hedge my bets, as it might be used in relatively dirty water such as pond or cistern.

Bleach can be used to ‘clean’ a filter of algae at the beginning of the growing season.  Be sure to also get the low water shut off device, or better, the pump temperature sensor that protects the pump head that is made of brass, or best yet, both, and insure your ability to grow food.  I have the temperature sensor shut off.  My 1308-12 will provide more than I need, but my needs are low, and it is using an LCB that will eliminated when I can buy more panels.

Currently, my tested slow pump in not in use at this time to preserve it for when I will truly need it. I consider it to be one of the most precious of tools, right up there with garden seeds.  It can be taken wherever I go, and irrigate whatever land I might find when I get there, should I be forced to leave.  Irrigating by buckets would greatly limit food production.


Here are links to the best system component prices that I could find. (Of course, shop around.):


  1. Thank you for this illuminating article. I think it will save lives. I was completely unaware of these systems and even the possibilities of accruing so much surface water via a few solar panels. The practicality that it can be portable makes it a win-win solution. I especially love your math calculations for possible worse case scenarios of solar intake. I’m on this blog. Obviously, I do not depend on the best case scenarios. hahaha. Your experience and recommendations are extremely valuable and appreciated! Thank you so much.

    1. You are very kind. Thank you. If this only helps Krissy, then it was worth it. Let me know if I can help should you decide to pursue it.

      I believe I could have done a better job, and did develop better information after this was written, yet this can serve as an introduction. Comments I left under Part 1 are intended to supplement. The 1303 is not the only choice. It is a middle of the road, or a pump that may work for a family of 4, in most situations, yet there are pumps that are more suitable for different situations. If food production can be located within 140 feet in elevation of the water source, then the #2507 would produce 36% more than the 1303, using the same number of panels. A USFS, or another topographical map, Google Maps, or GPS can help in estimating the difference in elevations. Always build in a margin of error in your favor.

      Mine is not in use to preserve it. I do live off grid, but use another electric pump to deliver water to 55 gallons drums that are used to irrigate my small garden over several days. I also have other pumps in reserve, and can fabricate ram pumps with a variety of materials should mine be lost. I go to this extent, because I believe water is that important. Even a Shurflow electric pump can deliver water to a small garden located nearby, but only a few feet above a source. These are designed for RV’s, and are not the industrial grade pumps that are Dankoff pumps. I have many, and use them. They get hot fast and are not made for continuous duty. Yet if that is all you can do, test it at your location, and then get several, plus replacement parts. It may work out for a year or three, and is certainly better than nothing. Another option is a deep well pump that operates on the same principles. If you comfortable with this information, then you may very well be able to install a submersible in your well or any water source. It is not as suitable for surface water as the Slow Pump, but it could be good enough.

      The internet is a wonderful source that has taught us much. Especially in this day, we live in a sea of cross fertilized ideas. Engineer775 tried out this pump on my recommendation years ago. I’ve been at this for years, but in a limited way. And he has proved it works in situations I have yet to encounter. I am an amateur, he is the Pro! His videos are the best place to get started. He has taught me much over these many years, and if it was good for me, then it might be good for you.

      1. Thank you so much for your offer to help. And, yes, I will take you up on it when I am ready. Your comment, “If you are comfortable with this information…” gave me a good laugh. No, I am not comfortable with any of this. You did say from the get-go it was stupid simple, but it is Greek to me. I’m okay with that. It’s just not my thing. I would prefer hiring someone like you who knows what they are doing. Nevertheless, I do not have my land yet, so I do not know what my mathematical numbers will be regarding distance and elevation climb from any water source. I will probably just use worst case/maximum numbers to be on the safe side. Furthermore, I think I replicate what you are doing, and keep it stored for when it is really needed. God bless you for all of your help and information!

        1. Okay. Let me know. It is likely I can save you money, and at least talk you through it. Finding property with surface water would be a smart move. Wells are now expensive. Get some thing with an existing well, or better yet surface water, perhaps a spring that can provide gravity fed water. We have lots and lots in NW Montana. I’ll probably be developing a spring or two on the same land. It is definitely not rocket science. Glad it helped.

          1. I began my research tonight and will definately buy before the rumored 40% price increase in October. I will get back to you with some questions by next weekend at the latest. Yes, I have looked for land in NW MT as well. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

  2. Such a setup – panels, wire, pump, filters and spare parts would make a very valuable barter item in a collapse, or even a regional emergency. A large group with a good water source would do well to have a few of these on hand. Proper storage would preserve value. I am going to put one of these kits together.

    1. Glad some one sees the potential We are spoiled at the moment. Without the grid, pumping water to grow food will be priceless. A portable version can be moved between neighbors to fill tanks, or water a garden or live stock directly. If you decide to get what is known as a pump controller, or linear current booster, do not run any more than 600 watt to it. It can be damaged by excess voltage. A pump controller, or LCB has certain advantages that improve efficiency by about 40%, and gives one the option of running 48, 36, 24 or 12 volts from the panels to the controller, then allows the user to step down the voltage, from 48 volts to 24 or 12 volts to the pump. The downside to the pump controller, and LCB is the expense, and it is yet another potential failure point. Should it be lost due to an EMP, one can of course, run it directly, and do so more effectively, if the system was set up first to run PV direct.
      600 watts feeding a pump controller, would be the ideal power source.

      Another advantage of using a 12 or 24 volt pump, is that either can be run directly off a small 500 watt or large generator, directly, or off batteries charged by a generator, or PV panels. The pump needs only half their nominal voltage to operate. A 24 volt motor will function with 12 volts, but only at half speed. It needs current, or amperage more than it needs voltage. and will not be harmed by the reduced voltage supplied. It is easier to provide 12 and 24 volts, than it is find 36, and 48 volt alternative power sources.

  3. Well written two part article, Tunnel Rabbit. It has the numbers, that people have to understand, when installing a pump for irrigation.
    …… + the article carries a good reminder about all things, “one could just let the pump run and saturate the ground, but we would then be putting ~>excessive time on the pump.”
    Everything wears out; no need to over use the water-pump. +”This is a time-tested pump, invented in 1983. The wearing parts are said to last 10 years, given a filtered input. It is efficient, and reliable. Time tested.”
    …… Tunnel Rabbit, has good replies in the comment section that should be read for information too.

    1. Once again, thank you. There is method in the madness. The reader responses help the author attempt to expand upon the original article, addressing additional issues, and providing other key information and detail, that could be essential for an individual’s particular installation, and concerns of feasibility, as they may continue to investigate. The author learns how to improve the article, ad hoc, and otherwise. Hopefully the grammar improves too…

      Here are more considerations for the record.

      Replacement parts, and Optional High Output Pump, or Pump Head.

      Spare parts should always be a part of the equation if long term sustainability is desired. Although if used only seasonally, the pump wearing parts may last many years. If used only 4 months out of a year, the brushes may last as long as 15 years, and the pump head, up to 30 years, however, the unexpected usually occurs, and there is a failure. In this case reliance upon one method of delivering water is very risky business, as a lack of it would translate into a lack of food. Not good. But it is good, that redundant redundancy is redundantly redundant, and should be SOP (standard operating procedure). This means spare parts should be apart of the purchase of the pump ‘kit’ or system, if at all possible. What to buy? A spare set of brushes, and a spare pump head. And hopefully the Temperature Shut Off Switch. There are several to choose from. Which one? You may by now have given some thought, and have now evaluated, and determined that your particular location has a difference in elevation between the garden, and the water source that is less than 160 feet, and that in any situation where the pump would likely be used, should one be forced to relocate, would be less than 160 feet in elevation from the source. If this is the case, I would consider buying the Dankoff Slow Pump #2507, OR, the #2507 R-pumphead, as an alternate spare part requirement for the 1303 pump. The motor is the same, and according to Dankoff (I checked) will bolt right on…three bolts. Easy. This could be an option for a location known to be lower in elevation relative to the source, and would increase the production potential from a maximum output of the #1303 of 2.5 gpm to 4 gpm of the #2507. Or in terms of gallons per day, from a maximum of 900 gpd (#1303) to 1440 gpd (#2507), when solar conditions are ideal, and the power supply is optimal. However, neither condition is likely, or constant, but hypothetical, optimistic, and fleeting.

      Using a percentage increase of 37% (900gpd/1440gpd) is a better method in this comparison, as it can easily be used in an analysis. If it believed that the pump at a proposed location could deliver enough water for a 1/4 acre garden ( approx. 2,500sft), the #2507 pump head may allow one to grow an additional 37% more, or in this calculation, an additional 925 sqft of garden. This is enough to feed an additional 1.5 persons. (This is estimate assumes that 625 sqft of garden space is needed to feed one person, is unsubstantiated, yet consistent with an old rule of thumb, that a 1/4 acre can provide an acceptable level of nutrition for a family of four.

      In a question to a friend who was raised the old fashioned way, a garden the size of 30′ x 60′ (1,800 sqft), supplied a family of 6, through out the winter. They also hunted, and purchased grains, so they only needed 300 sqft per person.) And percentage as a factor is proportional. I believe the #1303 can with good sun exposure, can deliver enough for 1/2 acre garden (750 gallons per day), if four 100 watt PV panels are used, and more likely, if six, 100 watt PV panels are used to compensate for the lack of a Pump Controller, that is also referred to as a linear current booster (LCB). The term Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is also used. To better compensate, the ‘more’ watts at the pumps nominal voltage, will produce more water. A 37% increase in water production, over the #1303 pump head’s rated output, would be an additional 277 gallons, or a possible increase in a garden’s size of 1,850 sqft, enough to feed another 3 persons, as estimated by my unsubstantiated rule of thumb (630sft/person).

      Initially presented was the 1303-24 pump, as a one size fits all solution to help narrow down the options, to make the choice easier, as an all around pump that could provide irrigation in most terrain, where creeks, springs, and ponds might be found. However, some folks may be able to optimize their pump’s output given an individual situation, and use the 2507-14, or purchase a 2507 R- pumphead (Dankoff’s replacement part number) as an option, and replacement part, as substitute, or as an option to the #1303, and see what works best for them. You can start out with one, yet find the other works better, and still have a replacement part on the shelf. There could be conditions that were not anticipated at the during the planning. That is often the case. There is usually no perfect planning, but there is usually piss poor planning, and poor performance to be avoided. More options, are more better.

      Regardless of your selection, have a replacement head if at all possible. The protective overheat temperature shut off switch can fail, the input line can clog, or the pump fails to be primed, and there develops is a ‘lack of water condition’ at the pump head once in 10 years, and pump could be ruined. I might be able to improvise a new set of brushes, but I cannot repair a brass, close tolerance, rotary vane head.

      To purchase the pump’s replacement brushes, use the identifying characteristics that are the voltage of the pump (12, 24, or 48 volts), and the pump’s horsepower rating of 1/5hp. A spare over- temperature -shut- off switch would be good have too. The float shut off switch is optional, and is usually needed only in cases were a tank, or reservoir is filled.

  4. I really appreciate this set of articles and after my poor brain gets the concepts in order, plan to set the system up in a shallow well.

    I do want to add one concept in here: My emergency plan for water is based on a vehicle source.

    In case I have to go to a source for water for short termand move it to home or BOL ( or to help neighbors out), I bought three basic components to be ready.

    1) barrels and 275 gallon totes

    2) an 800 watt inverter that clips onto my pickup battery

    3) a cheap submersible pump rated less than 800 watts, with garden hose connectors on it

    With these, you can drive to a water source, set up your garden hose connected to the pump with the other end in your barrel or tote.

    Set the pump into a spot where it won’t suck up trash or muck. I have used a rope to suspend mine into an old cistern before, so it wouldn’t sit in mud.

    Hook up your 800 watt inverter to the battery, preferably with engine running so you don’t end up stranded.

    Plug your pump, or most likely an extension cord connected to the pump, into the inverter. Then turn on your inverter with its on/off switch.

    Fill your container. Turn power switch off at the inverter. Then seal container, clean up, disassemble, and load up everything. I keep my inverter stored carefully in my truck cab.

    I paid $65 for my inverter, $85 for a sump pump, $65 for my 285 gallon tote. Secure your barrels or tote in your truck with good rachet straps or strong tiedowns.

    275 gallons of water may be more than you should haul in most half ton pickups, due to weight, and fast stops or steep/fast corners could cause you to roll through stoplights or to rollover. YMMV!

    Warnings on electrical safety around water, working under a vehicle hood with engine running, water quality and treatment prior to drinking, etc., pthalates in water hoses, putting your vehicle parking brake on and chocking the tires, all should be studied if you are concerned.

    While this process would not be a desirable long term solution, it is an inexpensive solution for emergency water when you need to haul it.

    God Bless

  5. Although inexpensive, the rig works. Congratulations! I’m a COB (cheap old bast…) that can appreciate redneck engineering (I am half hillbilly too). The ability to improvise is valuable. Might wanna rig up a bucket or large 4 inch pipe with a ball valve to hoist water as back up. If I remember correctly your drive down the hill to the source is quite aways, perhaps mile or so? You might be thinking about how to improve your water situation. I would. Growing food is essentially to long sustainability. Without fuel, and a reliable vehicle, that goal is probably not feasible in the future we expect. The Dankoff slow pump might solve the problem, but first you’ll need to estimate the difference in elevation, and total distance a pipe would run. Your situation must be carefully evaluated before investing several thousand into, not only the pumping system, but the hundreds of dollars in the piping that is large enough in diameter, and able to handle the very high pressure (up to 240 psi) when pump long distance and up hills. This would require thousands of feet of high quality pipe that is large enough to reduce friction and pressures, that would otherwise render the project a big disappointment. This project requires some serious engineering, whereas the article addresses common circumstances, that require almost no engineering. Without knowing the particulars, I will venture to say that it possible, but it will require some serious homework to determine first if it is feasible at all. It is not a ‘plug and play’ solution.

    Take a look at the chart with the blue back ground in this PDF, and at the extreme end the slow pump’s ability to pump up to 560 feet up in elevation, using a minimum of 365 watts (plus 40% more per Dankoff = 500 watts), and producing only .25 gpm.

    Can I grow a big enough garden on that?
    By my own crude formulas, you’ll need 625 square feet of garden per person, and if the pump delivers the full 0.25 gpm, it will provide the minimum amount of water to irrigate 600 square feet. Looks like the 1322 pump is your best choice if any of the pumps are indeed adequate, given your estimates. If you believe the difference in elevation is not too great, then look into the other topics. If you have to run it up a mile, or 5,280 feet, the pipe alone would be expensive as the pressures it must with stand will approach the maximum pressure the 1322 pump of 240psi in a long run and extreme height, making a heavy 1 inch diameter poly pipe necessary, and it is not the cheap stuff I recommended in the article.

    You may wish to invest in a lots of water storage, fill it up now, and find a way to reduce water consumption to less than 10 gallons per day for all purposes. I’ve done that, and know it is possible. Rain water catchment may be your least expensive, and least risk option. Tractor Guy did an article on that.

    Let me know if I can help… BTW, the Dow dumped over 900 intra-day. We are waaay over due for a serious correction. It could correct big time this fall, 50%+ is possible. Money is leaving markets, and seeking real value. The PPPT (President’s Plunge Protection Team, aka. Exchange Stabilization Fund) will probably erase the dump tomorrow and work to stabilize, but Deutsche Bank implosion is symptomatic of the underlying problem that is eroding confidence, and that they cannot erase. And Trump wants to devalue the dollar as well. The endless and terminal QE may have begun. I did not check the chart, or metals, but why bother….

    1. Yes, yesterday’s current events globally and economically seemed surreal. According to Gregory Mannorino, the bond yield curve is evidence of what we prepare for as well. So much doom and gloom everywhere, during these “good times” prompts me to write and say how much I appreciate your humor. Your “PPPT,” had me laughing out loud. Thank you. The Lord knows I need it. IMO, laughter is medicine that cannot be bought. God bless you!

      1. Some one has a sense of humor, because I did not make it up! Yep, it is not looking good. I would pick a chair, and go for it, because the music can stop at any time.

        The NW is no longer cheap. Check Joel Skousen’s Strategic Relocation, and perhaps he identifies the safest spot in the Ozarks, or Eastern Oregon/Washington. There is a valley in the north eastern part of Washington that I would check out too, but the Ozarks are still affordable. I would not presume this is for you, yet it could be a place for others. It could be as cheap as $20,000 that could get some dirt ,and trailer, or a converted garden shed. Many Christians have chosen the Ozarks. Some areas are better than others. Longer growing seasons, and out of the way. It is not a bad choice, and it would be better than no choice. Water is the key, and reportedly, there is plenty there.

        Unfortunately my email is not receiving notices for the replies to this thread. You are welcome to email me directly at

    2. Yes I will be figuring out how to get a solar setup to pump my house well. I am on a north facing slope, with well and house higher than barn, which is downhill, and the orchard and garden are downhill below the barn.

      I set up IBC totes up to hold water, uphill from the garden, shaded by the barn. They get rainwater from inserts stuck inside raingutter downspouts. Summers here are very rain-free but we get heavy dew every night.

      I forgot that galvanized roofs have zinc, and relearned that water coming from them will kill plants as well as my goldfish that were eating the mosquito larvae in the water troughs I had placed under the barn eaves to collect rainwater and the nightly dew running off during the summer. Bottom line is that I cannot drink or water plants with barn roof water, but it is still good for fire control and washing stuff that doesn’t touch food or our septic system.

      I have irrigation water coming from a district pipeline, and a tiny reservoir on our property. Our water well is only 55 feet deep. Glad I prepared redundancy because the neighbor broke the main irrigation transmission line and it was out of water for 10 days this summer. I used a 100 foot hose to siphon water from our reservoir for the garden and young trees, keeping a cheap ball valve on the downstream end to turn water on and off, keeping the siphon primed.

      I buy cheap hoses when they come on sale, at $19.99 per 100 feet, for running my irrigation water.

      Neighbors with shallow wells were struggling to water their food gardens from their house wells, which are all set up standard with pressure tanks, etc., when the main line got ruptured. Regular pumps pump fast and hard, cycling on and off. Pumps and pressure tank systems here all need 240 volt and 110 volt power.

      Good thing we didn’t have a power outage too. A slower solar pump will work much better on shallow wells and keep right on chugging off of solar panels when the public powere grid drops out.

      The ruptured line was a good test of what happens when disaster strikes.

      I still haven’t tapped into my IBC tote reserves yet, and am now draining down the little reservoir to irrigate our hayfield plot, in order to deepen the reservoir and increase reserve capacity for next year. God Almighty blessed us with a hay crop that is literally overflowing from the barn this year, praise be His Name. Time is now to prepare for 2020.

      In case of total loss of water here, the emergency source of surface water is a creek on a neighbors property and down in a small valley. I would have to get permission to get water there to haul, and would not be able to run a line to it. I have a manually operated bilge-pump style pipe and fire hose assembly as a manual backup to pump water with into my barrels, should inverter and submersible fail.

      Irrigation district rules here prohibit filling ponds with their water. But a solar pump on my shallow house well is perfectly acceptable and could slowly fill up my reservoir and 2700 gallons of IBC tote storage as needed. Next year will be much more secure for food production.

      Thanks again and God Bless.

  6. I would love an article on how this pump could be configured for use inside a well. These were excellent articles. A clean reliable source of water is usually taken for granted even among most preppers. If a person has the water in sewage out issue resolved survivability just went way up.

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