Buying and using land without attracting attention

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Carla618

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. ..they made it sound like a major crisis; so major that it removed the whole SW from consideration because of high risk. Yet for 99+% of the people here, there is nil impact on their lives

But it would impact residents. The post was about retiring in the SW not living as a nomad. Wasn't it?
It's green everywhere, the trees are not dying, everything is fine as far as I can tell.

Should it be green? I didnt realize the southwest has green lawns like here in the Midwest. Naturally green... With no watering.


All of us are only here a short time and I'd hate to waste too much of it worrying about things that don't need to be worried about.
We have to worry, if we care at all about climate change and the future of the planet (which includes our children's future).

BTW, trees are dying. From the LA Times:

 

rruff

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Yes, this thread is about buying land. People who use water residentially are not going to run out. Municipalities will buy water rights from Ag if necessary, and prices may go up. But we waste water like crazy; a little conservation would not be a bad thing. That goes for Ag also, since they get water so cheap they grow crops that take a lot of water.

Nomads living cheap on a parcel in the boonies will collect water off roofs or haul it in or share wells as usual... and conserve as usual.

Very green, no watering. Not really a lawn though, since I don't mow it :eek:. This is the rainy season here; it was pretty dry a couple months ago, which is typical. I live in the mountains, but a lot of the SW is mountains.

I wouldn't call CA SW really, but rather west coast. Completely different climate dynamic with dry summers and wet winters.

IMO being in favor of mitigating global warming, and writing off the SW because of a drought are two very different things. Drought means the recent (20 years) rainfall and soil moisture amounts are historically low. Doesn't mean we are in a dustbowl or about to die of thirst though. RE values are higher than ever and for good reason.
 

Carla618

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Yes, this thread is about buying land. People who use water residentially are not going to run out. Municipalities will buy water rights from Ag if necessary, and prices may go up. But we waste water like crazy; a little conservation would not be a bad thing. That goes for Ag also, since they get water so cheap they grow crops that take a lot of water.

Nomads living cheap on a parcel in the boonies will collect water off roofs or haul it in or share wells as usual... and conserve as usual.

Very green, no watering. Not really a lawn though, since I don't mow it :eek:. This is the rainy season here; it was pretty dry a couple months ago, which is typical. I live in the mountains, but a lot of the SW is mountains.

I wouldn't call CA SW really, but rather west coast. Completely different climate dynamic with dry summers and wet winters.

IMO being in favor of mitigating global warming, and writing off the SW because of a drought are two very different things. Drought means the recent (20 years) rainfall and soil moisture amounts are historically low. Doesn't mean we are in a dustbowl or about to die of thirst though. RE values are higher than ever and for good reason.
RE values are high in part because people don't want to live where it is bitter cold or too hot and humid.

You say they aren't going to run out. Well most of what you say goes completely against what I have read about conditions in the sw for many years. Very confusing. Ive read many times that California is mostly a desert and the lawns (they are not native to the area) require a ton of water to keep green.

It is not just ag that uses vast amounts of water. Computing uses massive amounts of water. And plants like Nestle. Bitcoin mining. Fracking.

Why the talk of pipelines to the Mississippi River if there is not a problem in the west and sw?
 

Carla618

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Interesting article on water reuse in the west and SW:


Is this accurate?

"The American Southwest—and the Los Angeles area in particular—are natural deserts. Only the miracle of engineering has made them habitable. Quite simply, we created human space in a place that, left to its own devices, would have been suitable only by cactus and lizards."

 

rruff

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80% of CA's available water resource goes to Ag, 20% to residential and all other business: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/2022/02/24/california-water/

I don't know what those numbers are in other SW states, but I suspect it's similar. Early settlers obtained water rights for farms and ranches and unless they sell those rights they retain ownership.

I don't live in CA, I live in southern NM, but it's similar in other mountain regions. Mostly pine forest. We get ~22" of rain per year and it looks like this:

iu


Yes, southern CA is mostly dry, but there are plenty of forest covered mountains there as well. And before the LA basin was covered by people it was covered with irrigated orange and avocado groves.

NV is the driest state, followed by UT and WY. Many states in the west have desert areas, but they all have large areas that are quite green, too. https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-annual-state-precipitation.php

Impressions given by the "news" are usually far from reality.
 

Morgana

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Lovely picture, but it doesn't prove anything. I used to live in southern New Mexico, and I know it would be easy to find other photos that show the place looking dry as a bone.

To deny that this drought is serious -- or to suggest that anyone who recognizes the risks is somehow more frightened and not living life fully -- is just not realistic.

I'm probably heading west myself in a few months. The point is not being pro- or anti-Southwest. The more you love a place, the more you ought to be able to look at it with clear eyes. And if you're not rich enough to afford infinite do-overs, it's smart to think through your choices carefully. Precisely because life is short (and getting weirder by the minute). Precisely so that you can live life fully.
 

bullfrog

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I think some people are missing the point here and wondering off the original poster’s question. Temperatures are rising and water is becoming scarcer in the southwest. If you are not extremely wealthy it has became more difficult financially to buy and create a legal homestead here. Many are or are considering doing it illegally in order to have a permanent base because the land least desirable is cheap. My point about the Navajo Nation and those that came before them is that without a lot of money it is a very labor intensive and basically detrimental to health endeavor. Average life span on the nation is much lower and even things like Covid are more deadly when living in areas without shelter from the environment, a good clean source of water and a way to deal with waste. Lots of money to meet minimum standards set by counties is required when dealing with raw land. Money most here do not have and if attempting to do it without enough money foolish in my opinion. There is a lot of free camping in the southwest presently use it if you want to or have to but don’t make things worse by skirting the laws.
 

tx2sturgis

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NV is the driest state, followed by UT and WY.

Impressions given by the "news" are usually far from reality.


New Mexico is doing great compared to Texas. We are in extreme drought in most of West Texas and its been this way for a number of years. Dont forget this part, NM is not a huge agricultural state...but Texas IS, and we need rain to be able to help feed our nation.

Some of the larger cities in West Texas are beginning to 'request' water conservation including restricting lawn watering on certain days of the week based on your address number (which I think is utterly stupid).


Most of the western half of the US is parched and needs rain....
I dont normally say this but...PRAY FOR RAIN!

If that fails, go to plan B....be prepared to haul water to wherever you decide to settle in the Southwest if you are going to be off-grid.



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KD2USM

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Since this thread has gone off into water scarcity. Here is something to think about. A 30x40 cabin roof will collect about 750 gallons of water per inch of rain (1 cu ft of water = 7.48 gallons). A 10x10 cabin roof will collect about 62 gallons per inch of rain. You have to consider how much rain falls in the area you are looking to buy in then decide if you can collect and store enough water until the next rainy season. If I lived in the desert SW, I would try to have at least a 30x40 roof of some kind to collect from even if it's illegal like in Colorado. You would still have to be very careful about water usage, but it can be done. Look up The Field Lab on YT. The gentleman who runs the channel has been living on Terlingua Ranch in Texas for several years. I know it is extremely dry in that area, but he manages to have water to survive out there.

There are a lot of things to consider when buying property and you need to educate yourself before making any purchase.
 

peteg59

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My unsolicited $0.02 on water in the SW:
Is captured rainwater safe for human consumption without some type of filtration/purification?
I would suspect it is not, and someone looking to "make it" in a harsh, typically dry, environment will have difficulty living cheap in those areas...
 

rruff

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Is captured rainwater safe for human consumption without some type of filtration/purification?
I've been purifying the tap water that I drink for a long time. Most tap water isn't really good to drink. I don't think the wells where I grew up were good either with all the toxic chemicals in the ground. Rain will have varying degrees of purity depending on the atmosphere it falls through.

someone looking to "make it" in a harsh, typically dry, environment will have difficulty living cheap in those areas...
Only if you need lots of water. Low budget nomads are pretty good at getting by with little. You can collect it from the roof or have it hauled out by truck, or get your own tank and haul it yourself.
 

Carla618

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Dont forget this part, NM is not a huge agricultural state...but Texas IS, and we need rain to be able to help feed our nation.


Texas exports a good chunk of the food it grows. Plus things like cotton, that also need water.

And, the petroleum companies there have a massive detrimental impact on the environment. Ironic.
 

Frood

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Of course, some types of water simply can not be purified or filtered enough to make it safe...


So drilling a well isn't always an option either...
 

Spaceman Spiff

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..... someone looking to "make it" in a harsh, typically dry, environment will have difficulty living cheap in those areas...

.....
You can collect it from the roof or have it hauled out by truck, or get your own tank and haul it yourself.
Rainwater collection is not viable in places that measures rainfall in a few inches a year. And you need the infrastructure to store it. I don't think you can get by with less than 500 gallons a year.

I don't think you can count on buying water in bulk cheaply from a nearby city waterworks if they have to ration their own citizens as water sources are drying up.

I would not invest in land that didn't have a reliable water source.
It costs about $5000 to drill a 150 ft well.
 

rruff

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Even Terilingua gets 12" per year. A 30x40 roof could collect 9,000 gallons/yr. A new 2,000 gal tank will cost ~$2k. Sure some places get even less rain than that, but most of the SW gets considerably more. The problem with drilling a well is that you don't know if you'll hit water in some places, and you might need to go down 1,000 ft if you do.

The places I've seen where you can load your own water are nearly free. It's the hauling that cost money, but still you can buy 2,000 gal for ~$200, hauled. If you don't need much water, there's zero worry.
 

bullfrog

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Many people here are looking at property as they get older so they don’t have to do the physical activity involved in packing up and moving every 14 days or so. I can tell you hauling and transferring water, sewage, fueling a generator or maintaining a solar system to pump water isn’t easy either. Not near as easy as buying property that is connected to the grid. Truth is filling and dumping an RV is probably easier as you can do it directly once instead of transferring, hauling, dump/fill, then transfer again. You will be noticed as water shortages get worse and have more expenses as fuel costs go up even. My advise is if you are going to buy property to at least buy property where the grid and other utilities are available.
 
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