Ways to obtain Great Falls Montana area rural Drinking Water: Part 3
The City of Great Falls obtains the municipal water supply from the Missouri River. It is treated and used for drinking, household use and to feed your sprinkler system for city dwellers.
But what if you want to live out of the city limits and need water? There are several possibilities, each with their own quirks. Last week I talked about wells and cisterns and water delivery companies. Today I will discuss an alternative to delivery - hauling your own water.
Having your water delivered is handy, in fact it is similar to just being connected to the city water supply - the water is just always there. However, delivered water costs more, and, what happened to me personally once, a missed delivery, can cause you to make some decisions about relying on others to provide you with water. In my case, I did not know about it until Sunday evening when the Cistern ran dry. The water delivery driver had forgotten me on his route. I was on a weekly top-off delivery, since I only had a 1500 gallon cistern and still owned the old clothes washer that used lots of water. The weekends were laundry time, so since the water was not delivered on Thursday as usual, I ran out of water at the worst possible time. Things were not good at the house that night. These were the days before Walmart and 24 hour shopping, so buying water, or a water hauling device was not possible on a Sunday night. I did find out about water stations that night however, and being resourceful, was able to obtain enough water to get me and the wife showers in the morning.
The next day, I started my search for a backup water delivery plan. I purchased a 350 gallon water tank from Big R and a long 3" diameter drain hose. Luckily there was a water station about 10 blocks away and it only took a few minutes to fill and empty the tank. Before this, I was unaware that this water station was this close. From that point on, I vowed to haul my own water so I always knew just how much I had.
I owned a 1/2 ton pickup at the time and it groaned under the weight of this tank of water, so I rarely filled it to the top. Keep in mind that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so 350 gallons weighs about 2800 pounds.
To alleviate this problem of not hauling full loads, I found an old trailer built from a 3/4 ton pickup box and installed the water tank into it. This way it was always available, I could haul full loads, and I just had to run down the road to get water. Yes, it still took several loads to completely fill the Cistern, but every couple of days, I just got a load or two and it worked out fine. My cost to set up my water delivery system, about $400.
I now see people with all types of systems rigged up to haul their own water. I also am now aware of the several water stations in Great Falls.
Between Central Ave W and the Northwest Bypass on Vaugn Road you will find this station:
Just off the Northwest Bypass at Bloomindale Park you will find this fill station:
There is a station at the Skyline Water Tower.
There is also a station off 13th St S behind the City Softball Complex.
Pick the water station most convienient to you and save yourself a few bucks and always know that you will have water the next morning.