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Old 02-20-2014, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,755 posts, read 16,459,702 times
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witdove wrote: but we can put in a well

Any idea how DEEP you will have to drill, what's IN the water, the FLOW rate, the COST of drilling?
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:34 AM
 
10,873 posts, read 41,184,197 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
witdove wrote: but we can put in a well

Any idea how DEEP you will have to drill, what's IN the water, the FLOW rate, the COST of drilling?
friends in that area with similar starry-eyed dreams of a 40 acre get-away located in a place where they could build a rammed-earth energy efficient house ... off-grid, independent living ... on the cheap ...

and were thinking that because a neighbor managed to find water on their parcel when they "witched" for their well (although it was something like 1 1/2 gal/minute, so they had to build a cistern to store 1,000 gallons for when the well ran dry most of the time)

they built their oversized workshop/garage, a pad site for their RV while they built their dream house ...

and then had over 5,000' of wells drilled on their property. Every one of them a dry hole. IIRC, at around $12-15 per foot.

They've since retired and moved to the place. They have a 2,000 gallon cistern and haul water in with a 200 gallon tank in the back of a pick-up truck. Dreams of an independent garden and landscaping are gone, and they typically use about 2,500 gallons per month. That's a lot of trips to haul water each month, and it's neither close/convenient/cheap for the water and the diesel fuel to haul it. In winter months, they've found out that 2,000 gallons stored can leave them very close to having no water when they can't haul more in for weeks at a time. I know they've had at least a couple of times where they had to use their "reserve" supply which was the 30 gallons in their RV stored in the big shop ... which left them essentially a rationed water supply for drinking and none for cleaning up or other domestic use, such as flushing a toilet or washing up. IF it hadn't been for their neighbor graciously letting them use his shower a couple of times, they wouldn't have had a chance to clean up ... but they've kinda' worn out that welcome mat in the last few years.

What they totally missed in selecting the area in the summer months was that there are many months of brutal wintertime conditions ... where all you hear is the wind howling and the desolation somewhat overwhelming. Back when they were building the place, they had their Denver home and jobs to stay at, and didn't get to the SLV very frequently in the winter, if at all some years. Too tough to get into the place and it wasn't winterized back then.

But once they sold their Denver house and moved full-time to the dream house, they had to contend with the winters there. Found out the hard way that it's not what they thought it would be, but they're kinda' locked into their place ... having spent all their money for the infrastructure wind & solar/battery storage/inverters to run their energy efficient house. Only it isn't ... they still have a woodstove and propane back-up, and the firewood isn't so inexpensive and easy to acquire and have cords conveniently stacked; it's a lot easier to have the 1,000 gallon propane tank filled in the fall to get them mostly through a winter heating season. Any thoughts of enjoying all the wildlife and freedom to explore in the wintertime have long been replaced by the realities of simply surviving until the next spring .... fortunately, they are satisfied with their library and DVD movie collection to stay home indoors and not do much else for months at a time. It's kinda' like a cave in the place in the winter, they've got energy efficient "window blankets" which seal the windows on the inside of the house to conserve heat loss through the double-pane windows, and they don't open too many of them up during the daytime to allow the natural light to come in.

PS: they bought 40 acres thinking that they'd build their place and then sell a few 5 acre parcels to help pay for their place. With the active marketing of the 5's in the area by the pros, they haven't had any success in selling their parcels ... especially in view of them having tried to drill a producing well anywhere on their 40 acres and knowing that water isn't there. They're a little more ethical than the real estate pros in the area, and they're only trying to sell their 5's as recreational RV get-away sites rather than homesteads.

PPS: what really caught my attention about these folks buying in the area and making such a massive commitment of their financial resources and time to their dream of a cheap independence ... they were going to show all of us up about energy independence with a structure that wouldn't pass code compliance (or get bank financing) and use all of these alternative energy sources to provide cheap living for their golden years. All that "proven technology" of alternative energy used in an energy efficient house was gonna' show us how foolish and wasteful the rest of us were. The reality was that the solar panels weren't as effective or durable as they were represented to be and the wind generators simply didn't hold up in the gusty winds; they've had to experiment and replace their equipment numerous times at significant losses/expenses. They'd installed some fancy solar tracking devices for their panels which had worked for a friend in New Mexico, but they didn't take into account the difference in the winds/gusts that showed up in the SLV being in excess of the structural strength or tracking force ability of the units ... a major loss, repeated a couple of times so far.

This was in light of them having good incomes, sizable savings, and projected good retirement benefits and SS. They spent most of their savings trying to prove their point and their defined benefit retirement plans wound up paying out much less than expected. We'd flown over this area past the sand dunes in our travels for many years and were aware that it was pretty much fly-over country ... so they weren't ignorant of the realities of the area. Yet they still tried to overcome the apparent shortcomings of the area with their attitude and large infusion of money. Over the last 17 years, the area has won and they can't get their money out and move on, so they're stuck there.

Can't gloat that we "told 'em so" because we did, but back when they started out, there were serious concerns about water tables/replenishment issues and surface water rights/use in the area ... and the courts have recently found even more reasons to curtail water use in the region in favor of senior water rights obligations of Colorado and delivery for domestic use to other areas. Over the long term now, these folks would have been much further ahead if they'd moved up to Summit or Eagle county areas ... even though on the face of things, the upfront costs and long term higher taxes appeared to be more expensive for their retirement years. The fact is that they could have moved to the Vail down Valley area and spent less money and had more year-round fun options instead of making a lifetime commitment to what is essentially a survival existence for much of the year in the middle of nowhere.

In my view, it wasn't worth moving to the SLV and time has repeatedly proven this to be so for them. What was especially striking about this whole affair is that they'd had a very nice house ... not a cabin, but a nice winterized conventional house and outbuildings property ... in the Buena Vista area for years. The only major drawback was limited access to it in the winter months in some years, but they could have dealt with that using snowmobiles or an ATV to get into the place as needed. It would have been more than suitable for their retirement (and was originally purchased with this in mind 35 years ago), but it wasn't the showpiece innovative energy independent/efficient structure in a low tax area that they wanted to build. As the SLV project became all-consuming for them financially and time-wise ... they didn't use the BV place for years ... they sold it to help pay for the SLV project.

While I've no doubt that there are places where such a project as theirs could be successful given enough money and time to accomplish the independence objective ... the SLV area was a poor choice to try to do so.

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-21-2014 at 06:49 AM..
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Bethel Springs TN
11 posts, read 18,518 times
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Well depth 100=150 but yes possibility of dry holes. Always best to have storage reserves. I agree with Sun if you arnt used to rough living..plan for recreational ..but we are going to try and the price of the property is cheap enough that once we get there if it becomes to much we can then look for other area. But we have been living with no water, did not get power till a few years ago..so we are semi-accustom to rough living..and also if you cant do a lot of things yourself your expenses on building, installations of solar or wind etc is expensive. Living this way is not for the faint of heart. Even in our area many people have given up after a couple years. I am not saying we are going to show anyone anything...but in life if you feel you need to do it try...this is why I am on here to hear more, learn and be better prepared...
I do have a question..postal service..how do you get a street address? Does mail get delivered to your home or the nearest street? Closest Post Office for San Acacio? Thanks everyone and by everyone being so honest I would rather know the problems than the oh its a piece of cake scenario.

Last edited by witdove; 02-21-2014 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:13 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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^One of the striking things about the more remote (and drier) areas of the SLV is the number of abandoned structures--stuff mostly built in the 1970's and even 1980's that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Those "subdivisions" and small parcels that are being pimped by the internet ("mail order" before that) were actually subdivided and created way back in the 1960's, before Colorado enacted its current (and still way too lax) subdivision regulations. So, the parcels "recycle" through a continuing flow of "chumps" to buy them. Most never get built upon, simply because people figure out that it's not really sustainable, and then dump the parcel onto the next chump that they can find. I've watched it go on for decades. With the current situation with the aquifer in the SLV--it is declining--I fully expect to see a moratorium on further well drilling, even small domestic wells, to be implemented at some point.

I've also had my fill, as sunsprit so accurately described above, of hearing about how people are going to "live off the grid" in places like the SLV. They have their little solar collectors (which often don't work as well as advertised) and think that they are "living green." The conveniently ignore that they are often using a 10 mpg pickup to haul their water, have to make constant 50 mile or more roundtrips to town for work or even to get basic supplies, and have to regularly drive or fly hundreds or thousands of miles to see family of friends. The hard reality is that their lifestyle is not "low-impact" at all. If a person wants "low impact," the best way to achieve it is to live in a modest, well-insulated house (on the grid) with energy efficient heating and appliances in a place where one can walk to work, shopping and schools, or have it within very short distance. That's way more efficient and "green" than living way out of town in some rural subdivision--rural subdivisions are structurally inefficient and, in many of the more delicate areas of Colorado, do serious environmental damage just by being there.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Bethel Springs TN
11 posts, read 18,518 times
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It is not just in Colorado that people fail Jazzlover it is everywhere. Not everyone is cut out to live every way..but if people are willing to try and are going in with their eyes open..they should give it their best shot. I also realize this adventure is more for the younger people but we have our experiences and and knowledge and abilities to use before we are too old to be able to build and prepare. As I have aeen on here some people love it some hate it..but we get to hear all sides..so that is great
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:58 PM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,778 posts, read 3,481,811 times
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[quote=witdove;33570527]It is not just in Colorado that people fail Jazzlover it is everywhere.



I agree with you there. I have a ranch and when our relatives visit they act like a coyote is going to run through the front door and get them.

Curious about water rights to the creek. Will your property be on the creek and what stops you from the water. What does water cost to haul.

I drive through the SLV every year it is really neat. Have you looked at the blog from McElmurray's Mountain Retreat. They have a blog and also blog for Mother Earth. They live in the SLV for the past 20 years (I think) and are about 10000 feet up. They built an A frame type house and do give a lot of information on the area. I do believe they are 30 miles from Ft. Garland. Just google their name and you'll get it. You might get a lot of good information from them.

Good luck with your dream home a dome sounds just right for that area.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:58 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbie at bouontiful View Post
Curious about water rights to the creek. Will your property be on the creek and what stops you from the water. What does water cost to haul.
You apparently still don't understand Western water rights. Unless you have a DECREED water right out of a creek or ditch, YOU CAN'T USE IT, EVEN IF IT RUNS RIGHT THROUGH YOUR PROPERTY. Those old-time land sharks that cut up tens of thousands of acres in the SLV to sell to out-of-state suckers knew Colorado water law quite well, and almost NEVER conveyed a water right with any of that land; they retained those water rights for themselves. Use water in the arid SLV (or virtually anywhere else in rural Colorado) without a right to it, and you will get an unpleasant visit from the ditchrider, water commissioner, or sheriff in short order--or, you might just get shot. That kind of violence does happen in "disputes" over water rights. As the old rancher's saying goes, "You can mess with my wife, but don't mess with my water."
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Bethel Springs TN
11 posts, read 18,518 times
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Well latest news..after a talk with the seller, with total lack of answers, a bad contract and would not produce exact plat to land we have decided not to buy this land. So we are now looking else where... Thank you all for your input and helping me to ask the right questions!!!
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,755 posts, read 16,459,702 times
Reputation: 9292
Good for you witdove.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA
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[quote=jazzlover;33581534]You apparently still don't understand Western water rights. Unless you have a DECREED water right out of a creek or ditch, YOU CAN'T USE IT, EVEN IF IT RUNS RIGHT THROUGH YOUR PROPERTY.



I am getting there jazzlover. I asked because I know you can't use it, it just seems strange. Now, here in OK the Indian Nation is trying to control all the ground water which would kill ranchers. I know about water because I raise cattle and without it I wouldn't have any animals. I have two wells that do great a few not so hot ponds but an incredible creek running down the middle of my ranch. I use that water and I know a truck farmer down the road actually a block or so from the creek ran a pipe to the creek and runs spinkler systems non stop (so it seems) on all his crops. I wonder if we're legal or it is so relaxed in Eastern OK that no one questions it. I am not for sure!

Wanting to sell this ranch and move to Northern NM or Southern CO. is why I've been following all the water problems. Found and incredible piece of land I would have loved to built on someday but when all the other properties in the area had wells but this one didn't I questioned that. The ridiculous real estate guy said maybe one of the neighbors would share a well. I laughed. Now, if that property could have a well the owner should have put one on and up the price of the land is exactly what I would have done. But, I am guessing there is no water on that piece of property so we walked away. I do not understand hauling water is why I asked how and price. Can't imagine what kind of container one would have to hold that amount of water. I suppose you couldn't have a greenhouse just water for cooking and cleaning if hauling.
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