If you are considering buying land to build a home on probably the most important thing you have to make sure you have access to is potable water. Without water you can’t grow crops or maintain animals but most important you can’t survive yourself. The alternative is to truck in water and that really isn’t an option for many people.
So how do you find water on your land? The easiest way is to purchase land that is or was established. If you are purchasing an abandoned homestead or just one that is up for sale you can find the water well and test it. This is always preferred but the price of the property will likely be higher than undeveloped land.
Looking for springs or running water on your land is another great indicator. If you have water on your property that is visible at the surface then you likely have a source of water that you can use. One problem is knowing if the spring or stream is year round and that will depend on when you are inspecting the property. If you have water in late August you are likely to have it the rest of the year.
Another way is to look for trees and plants that require a good amount of water to survive. Sycamore trees are one species that is known to need quite a bit of water and they are often found in valley areas. There is no guarantee but it is an indicator.
Talking with your local well driller is another way and they will have a listing of all of the wells in your area. They can give you an approximation of what you can expect based on the survey of your land and typography.
Asking your neighbors is important especially if you are dealing with an abandoned property because it might be abandoned because of the lack of water.
If the property is a significant purchase for you then you might even dig a test well to see what you are up against. Although a home can survive with only a few gallons of water per minute a higher volume is required for irrigation of crops. It might be worth the investment if the well is presumed to be shallow. If you are paying $100,000 or more for the property then a $2,500 investment to see if you have water from a shallow well might be worth it and you would have the sale based on the contingency of finding water.
There really is no great way to know if you have water on your property until you find it. The quality and flow rate of the water is also a consideration along with if the water source is year round. If you have problems with your water source it can be a difficult situation. I know people that will fill a 300 gallon tank in the back of their pickup and transfer that to a holding tank but that is not an easy job when you have to constantly do it.
When you are homesteading you are giving up some of the easy things in life that you might be accustomed to but the trade off isn’t that big if you can develop your own support systems and modify your life a bit.
A good well can produce a lot of water and a UV Filtration System or Chemical Treatment can make your water as safe or safer than many city water systems.