Author Topic: Spring Water Usage Rights and Ideas How To Handle Water For Domestic Use  (Read 5299 times)

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Offline rick91351

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I would caution anyone especially in Idaho not to tap into nor develop any spring without proper water rights to such springs.  In Idaho this was brought to the forefront because of the Snake River Adjudication.  Idaho Power during the drought years basically challenged all water right users.  For the most part they lost, but opened a Pandora's Box of what belongs to who.  This also crossed property boundaries.  We had neighbors who filed on a couple springs that head on our property yet are used on their property.  I did the same on another property line.  I filed on a spring that water comes onto our property.  A neighbor and I both filed on rights to creek water that flows through my property for irrigation rights.  That stream flow was granted to my family and my neighbor's property back in the late 1800's.  Yet my neighbor and myself still had to refile.    

In short even if a spring or stream is on your property and you have not filed for its usage you can be challenged, fined for using them without granted right and shut off.  

We are now looking at improving a spring for domestic usage located above where our site plans show the house to be build.  I currently have water rights to this spring.  It is filed under the same document as ten other like springs.  They currently are all filled under livestock usage.  After talking to the Idaho State Water Resource Commission today I had some very good news!  We can split that spring out for domestic usage.  It will cost $100 to do so.  Cheaper than a well head permit, and a whole lot cheaper than another well.  So when it dries up, up there this summer so we can excavate without sinking the back-hoe or excavator, I think we will do a little exploring and see how good that spring really is.  Right now it looks very promising, even back in the drought years there the ground remained very moist!    

If it proves to be large enough we could capture the water out of it in to a tank or cistern.   I am not sure if it would have enough drop for gravity flow spring usage, in fact I am almost more sure that it would not rather than would.  I am 99% sure it would have to flow into an underground tank such as http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=37827  From there pump it into a pressure tank and into the house.  Or another plan would be locate a transport type tank such as http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=74421&catid=808 in a large root cellar with the pump and pressure tank.  Shelves and bins on one side for storage fruits and vegetables  and the other side for the tank and pump.  I really like this idea as it would give us a root cellar and would grant very good ease of access to plumbing and pump.  Or does anyone have any other ideas or experience on how to handle this water for domestic use?
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline archimedes

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What about treating the water to make sure it is safe to drink?
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Offline rick91351

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What about treating the water to make sure it is safe to drink?
Archimedes thanks and that is a very good question.  I think I understand where you are coming from.  Livestock, human and rodent contamination is a huge problem.  However using some very basic sanitary excavation and back-fill methods these springs are very safe to use.  They have been the main stay for many homes, farms and ranches since the beginning.  I even know a hotel in Oregon that uses the same method we would use to capture its water.

They are excavated down three to four feet or however deep they need to go.  Often times excavating right in to a hillside where basically the water is running out of the matrix.  Here it is granite.  In this case we would haul up washed rock for the what I would call an entrapment bed.  After the excavation is complete, this might be a trench forty to sixty to hundred feet long and depends on the geological formation and the amount of water you are finding.  And in most cases this will be a trench about four to five feet deep.  You are looking for in our area a layer almost pure white clay.  The water runs upon out of the granite on to this clay bed.  When you can establish this formation you begin the back fill laying down the washed gravel.  Then you lay down a couple runs of sanitary 4 inch perforated PVC drain pipe.  This is be laid down the length of the trench a couple times.  On top of the PVC  drain pipes goes more gravel.  In essence you are creating a reverse drain field or a French Drain maybe?  You next cover the gravel bed and sides with heavy plastic sheeting to prevent soil from entering a fouling the gravel.  Then it is all back filled with several feet of with clean material.  This is then basically all connected to the same plumbing that as goes in to any home. 

The State of Idaho does test potable water here for a slight fee at the state lab.  It is checked for fecal matter, heavy metals and parasites.  We would have it tested, however using the above method the chances of anything fouling or polluting a spring would be very rare especially with four feet of clean materials sitting on top of it.  There are filters and water treatment equipment for treating water supplies on a small scale such as this.  I do know one home that has to do this, it is clear up in the hills...  It surprisingly has a well.   Our neighbors house down here in the valley is another case both were troubled by human fecal mater.  Neither well encroaches on code for drain fields nor septic tanks.  The neighbors well was treated with something and now shows clear.  The other place they had to go to basically a small water treatment plant.  So I guess no matter how careful stuff happens.... Again Archimedes thanks for thinking of that..                   
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline archimedes

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Interesting stuff.  Thanks for the info.

Didn't want to hijack your thread,  but it sounds like you've given it a lot of thought.

I was wondering how other people dealt with this issue,  since several others here are using springs and roof catchment for potable water.  (I should start another thread)   d*
Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough,  and I will move the world.

Offline rick91351

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Actually I do have a spring on our property that is like you are talking about.  It was used by the people over on that homestead.  It had a spring box and has real lively water flow into a creek.  It comes directly out of a lava flow and I would guess about thirty gallons a minute.  This is a real bad picture of it.  Shows no real size nor depth.  It would however almost carry a four inch pipe full of water out of a spring box. 



It is on a property, 360 acres we added latter.  One down side to using it and building there is we would have to go off grid or bring power over a hill almost a half mile.  Off grid might not even work there because of the winter sun is very short lived because of a major hill.  Damn hills in Idaho they never were put where you needed them.... well maybe a couple of them   ;)

Another reason is the road in there in the winter time it is not very usable without some major plowing because of the drifts.  I mean major plowing six and eight foot drifts.  Another reason we have shied away from this location is if we used it in to-days world.  We would have to destroy the natural setting to pick the water up.  Ellen and I like to go over there by ourselves and sit watch the water bubbling and pouring out of the rocks.  Great rest for the mind and soul.  Contrary to what I have read and heard as of late not all, if very many of us cow type people are out to destroy the world and our surroundings.         

However it would be our number one choice to build there if we were twenty years old and had a whole life ahead of us.  We are pushing 60 and do not seem to be that adventurous any more.  I think one would have to cement a structure into the mouth of this type of spring.  This would capture the flow and then you could divert it as you need it.  I have toyed with the idea but a'la natural just seem to be the best use of this.  By the way it is filed on per the Snake River Adjudication - thanks Idaho Power.  Every time I pay the power bill I get grouchy.                 
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

 

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