by CHARLES on APRIL 7, 2012 - 3 Comments in LAND
Without water, life is impossible. Always buy land with a water source, if you can afford it. If not, make sure you catch the rainwater.
There’s a reason you can buy land in the west Texas desert for next to nothing. The reason is that it doesn’t have a water source. A water source doesn’t have to be a river or stream. It doesn’t even have to be groundwater. It can be rainwater, provided that the rainwater source is steady and reliable.
From the 95th parallel east, most of America gets the type of steady, reliable rain that makes rainwater a viable water source. With the exception of Washington and Oregon west of the Cascades, the rest of the west is a gamble. Don’t be fooled if the area looks green. Some areas get rain in bunches and then go months with none. This may allow you to survive if you have built enough storage, but it makes it very difficult to grow food.
Other areas are green because of irrigation, which may not be an option in the near future. Much of the high plains region is irrigated by the Ogallala aquifer, but the Ogallala is already stressed to the point where farmers are planning for a life without it. The Great Plains west of 100º may eventually go back to tallgrass prairie. Even streams and lakes on the high plains are now disappearing. Texas’ Lake Meredithis one example. Even if it survives, the amount of energy it takes to pump goes up, and since you’re going to be generating your own energy, this is a drain you don’t need.
Choose your location carefully.
2. Tillable Soil
Increasingly, the ability to grow your own veggies is a big part of the OTG vision. We’re not really off the grid if we have to rely on a system of planes, trains and automobiles to get our food.
Avoid a type of soil that Texans call “hardscrabble.” Nothing of any value grew in it. If you wanted a garden, you truck in soil. Then you irrigate it every day. If your idea of OTG is simply gas, electric and water, this might be fine. For the rest, tillable soil is a must.
3. Temperate Climate and Generating Capacity
If you’re going to generate your own energy, live in an area where you can keep yourself comfortable with the least energy. Do not believe you can simply tap the sun, wind and the earth for all our energy needs. Building and maintaining generating capacity is expensive, and if you have to heat 200 days a year in northern Montana or run the AC 200 days a year in south Texas or Florida, you’ve made the job harder than it needs to be.