Letter Re: Questions on The Paratus Farms Development--Water Versus Defensible Terrain

Sunday, Apr 23, 2006

Jim,
Is there a stream at all [on the Paratus Farms Property]? Seems like a plateau would not have any streams or open water.

[One passage deleted, for OPSEC.]

By the way, thanks for the insight on silver. Based on your tip, I bought junk silver when it was at $7.80. It's hard to believe it's already over $13. Cheers, - Rookie

JWR Replies: The Paratus Farms project is still stalled because of finances, so your question is largely rhetorical at this point. But it does raise an important issue for retreat site selection: Water versus defensible terrain. Yes, The Paratus Farms property is a plateau, but it is a big plateau (nearly one square mile on the plateau top) in an area with precipitation almost year round. There is one stream that runs off the north end of the plateau. It runs 10 months of the year. In an absolute worst case multi-generational total collapse (when even photovoltaic well pumps could fail), for two months out of the year residents would have to either hike a half mile down to the year round creeks and river (on three sides) for water, or pull water up by hand from wells. The static level of the well water will be around 100 feet.) Yes, both are laborious.

Consider that access to water and defensible terrain have been trade offs since the earliest days of castle construction in Europe. If you want plentiful water, by definition you will not be on defensible high ground. In a societal collapse there will be plenty of rural locales with good farm land and water. But very few of them are suitable for defense by a small group. In my estimation, a well-trained squad on the Paratus plateau could hold off a full company of marauders. There is only one road in to the property and its seven hilltops provide mutually supporting fields of fire. Unless they are suicidal, looters will find easier pickings elsewhere.

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