Rural Water Systems – Controls

The tee at the base of your pressure tank probably has a 1/4 inch tap for a pressure switch, along with other connections for a relief valve, drain valve and pressure gauge.

If you only have one such tank, you can install the pressure switch on the tee.

If you have several tanks in parallel (recommended), mount the pressure switch on the line that feeds the tanks.  Some day you will want to isolate and drain each tank to remove sediment and check the air pressure in the upper chamber.  But you don’t want to shut the entire system down to do it.

Water Diagram

The only valve normally closed in the diagram above is the bypass.  In colder climates, the valve at the exterior hose bibb would be closed during the winter, and water trapped between the two valves would be drained.  If your horses stay off the pasture in the winter you might close that valve as well and drain the line for freeze protection.

This pressure tank is in the loft of a barn.  It is one of several that ‘ride the line’ between the well and treatment system.  Note the tap for the pressure switch is plugged.


To service the tank, you’d shut the valve on the left and open the drain valve near the pressure gauge.  Connect a hose to the drain valve to route the water to a safe location.  Remember, it’s still under pressure even though the isolation valve is closed!

You’ll need 120/240 VAC for your water system.  The motor on your pump probably runs on 240 volts.  Equipment in your pump house likely needs 120 volts but in colder climates you may also need 240 volts for a space heater.

Your contractor will likely install a device that automatically shuts off the pump if it detects low flow or dry running.  If it activates you may have to reset it manually.  The device may be located near the well or in the pump house with other controls.  Ask your contractor so you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

If everything works properly, you’ll have a reliable source of water for your horses.

You’ll only have to worry about a power outage and that won’t be a problem if you have a back-up generator (to be considered in a subsequent post).

Update on NDA Plan for VR Horses

The backlash continues, see this report in the Reno Gazette Journal.

You’d think the people in Storey County would welcome the chance to become guardians of the Virginia Range horses.  But it ain’t so.

Concerns about private owners removing the horses and selling them at auction can be addressed in the bylaws of the new organization.  Those rules could also put an end to harmful practices like PZP darting of mares.

The horses will never be safe until they’re placed into the hands of the people who love them and provide the land for them to roam, via a non-profit corporation chartered for this purpose.


The Slow Way is the Fast Way

The greatest gift you can give your mustang is patience.

Remember, he’s been chased by helicopters, probably for several days, jammed into a chute and freeze-marked, had his boys cut off, brusquely handled by wranglers, and hauled off to an alien world.

Now you want to put him in a confined space and try to make friends when he doesn’t trust you and is ill-prepared for the experience?

How do you give him release when your presence is pressure?

What kind of learning happens in this environment?

The first thing you have to do is sack him out to you.

Let him come to terms with his new surroundings on his own timeframe.  Spend some time with him doing chores (scooping poop and filling water buckets).  Give him a chance to figure out you’re not a threat.  The older he is the longer this will take.

An exception might be when he is aggressive and dangerous (because he was taught bad lessons by someone else) and will be put down or sold at auction.

It’s not the rope.

He’s not flighty.

It’s you.

More Thoughts on NDA Plan for VR Horses

Suppose private party A wants to graze livestock on lands owned by private party B.

1. What happens if an animal (owned by A) is hurt on B’s land?  Is A free to enter B’s land to care for it?  Is B liable?

2. What happens if A’s agent (employee, friend, contractor) trips over a rock on B’s land while checking the animals and breaks an arm?

3. What happens if an animal owned by A knocks down a fence on B’s property and feeds on B’s gardens?

To answer these questions, B may ask A to sign a lease or easement before placing any livestock on his property.  This agreement spells out the relationship between the land owner (grantor) and livestock owner (grantee), sets limits of liability, specifies how and under what conditions grantee may enter grantor’s land, fees to be paid, termination of rights granted thereunder, etc.

In this and other such cases, grantee is subordinate to grantor.  Grantor controls the situation, he specifies the terms of the deal.

Allowing an established advocacy group to take control of the Virginia Range horses, where Virginia Range land owners have no voice in the process, inverts the traditional relationship between grantor and grantee.

That is why ownership of the Virginia Range horses should be transferred to a non-profit corporation with land owners as voting members.