Back to the Basics: Water

Creating a healthy and constructive environment will require water. From watering crops, drinking, bathing, washing to everything else you can think of, water has always been and will always be the center of all life. Each person and animal requires one gallon of water per day, meaning that if you have a hearty homestead, including pets and farm animals (chickens, cows, goats, sheep, etc.), you will need an endless supply of water – more than the average person – especially in places that are prone to droughts. Water towers or a drilled well are great options for these types of larger operations.

Thinking about collecting masses of water ahead of time is the best way to go about it. Even if the worst never comes, you can save on your water bill, by using rain water to water plants or putting out bonfires.

Filtration & Purification

Filtration and purification are an essential for any person, prepping for a drought or other disaster. There are various ways to purify water, including:

Natural Methods:

  • Boiling Water: The oldest method in the book for water purification. Unfortunately, boiling water does not guarantee good tasting water or that there will be no particles; however, a tea bag will help with the flavor!
  • Sand, Charcoal & Rocks: Layering sand, under charcoal, under rocks will work as a strainer and help filter the water making it safer to drink. While it does not totally sanitize the water, it will make the water taste better and at least reduce the risk of bacteria.

Chemical Methods:

  • Iodine: While it may not be the preferred method, it will work in a pinch.
  • Chlorination: According to FEMA, chlorinating water will kill most micro-organisms.
  • Potable Aqua Tablets: This method is proven against bacteria, Giardia, Lamblia, Cryptosporidium and viruses. It a no-hassle method needed just drop the tablets into the water and wait.
  • AquaMira Water Treatment Drops: This is the same as above, but in liquid form.
  • Chlorine Bleach: Using just 10 drops of unscented bleach per gallon of water is another method of treating water. You simply drop the 10 drops into the water, shake the container and wait at least 30 minutes for the effects to take place. Make sure not to “stock” up and become “prepper obsessed” with hoarding bleach, as it does have an expiration date and should not be used past that date.

In good opinion, the best method is multiple methods. While some may say it is a waste of resources, I would argue that it is a good investment of said resources. One bad batch of water and you may get sick, giving you more of a risk of being overcome and losing resources. And, depending on the methods you choose, it isn’t excessively expensive. Boiling water costs a few wood logs; the sand/gravel/rock method is also relatively inexpensive. The chemical methods are what will cost the most, and you can use it along the way for camping and hiking. Don’t let them go to waste, and it isn’t a waste of money.

Filtration and purification is truly the key to ensuring proper and healthy water for everyone!

  • Paint/Coffee Filters: Coffee filters will help get large particles out of your drinking water.
  • Camping Filters: There are various filtration systems that are portable enough to take on a day hike, or even use long term. My favorite for on the go filtration is the LifeStraw, featured below. Do some research to find the right one for your scenario – and remember, you may need a few to really round out your preparations.
  • Life Straw: The life straw is a filter that allows you to drink directly from a stream or other possibly contaminated water source. It removes a minimum of 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, making it a great go-to choice for a bug out or get home bag, or for a bag that you take on a hunt or something of that nature. While you could use these for everyday life, there are better ways for mass water filtration for daily hydration.
  • H2O Purification Tablets: Most tablets have been proven effective against bacteria( Giardia, Lamblia, Cryptosporidium) and various viruses. Tablets are very easy to use and just require that you drop the tablet in and wait.
  • Brita (etc.) Filters: Brita (and some alike filters) claim to remove 99% of chlorine, fluoride, unpleasant odors, as well as heavy metals, such as zinc, mercury, cadmium, lead and copper. There are four different types of filters that Brita specifically has and each of them filter a little differently.
  • Bleach: To use this method, you will need to dilute 10 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water. The only thing that you have to keep an eye out for is that bleach dissipates and is only good for 6 months to a year.

Carrying & Holding

  • Alternative Water Bottles: Water bottles are great to have around for daily use and keeping up to date on your water intake, ensuring proper hydration.
  • H2O Bladders: Water Bladders bottles have become increasingly popular. These are great because they can be carried easily in a pack and be drank on the move. They typically can hold at least 2 liters, which is more than you are going to want to carry in the general water bottle.

There are even larger water bladders that you can put in your bath rub and fill up prior to a disaster situation. Obviously, these are larger, and not meant for easy transportation.

  • 5 Gallon Jugs: Great for long-term water storage.
  • Rain H2O Catch (Rain Barrels): These are great for massive, long-term water storage. You can connect these up to your gutters and gather the rain water for mass storage.

Other ways to get water in a grid-down crisis are local fresh-water sources, water silos, well water, hot water tanks, fire hydrants and various other locations will also help you keep hydrated.

Lastly, knowing how and which water to avoid will be critical.

  • Toilet Reserve Tank: There may be possible contaminants.
  • Radiators: There may be possible contaminants.
  • Waterbeds: There may be possible contaminants.
  • Chemically Treated Pools & Spas: There may be possible contaminants.
  • Flood Waters: There is the possibility of chemical contaminants in the flood water making it an unideal water source.
  • Salt Water: You should only drink “salt water” if you distill it first. Your body can only make urine that is less salty then salt water, meaning that to get rid of the salt taken in by drinking the salt water, you will have to urinate more water than you are drinking, dehydrating you and ultimately making your thirstier. Not the ideal situation when you are hydrating to survive.

The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to prepare for today. You don’t want to be found dumbstruck when there is a situation; nor do you want to find yourself and your family under prepared.

Water Conservation:

  • Turning off the shower when you are not actively wetting or rinsing. Various countries outside of the United States of America practice this. Water down the drain is, literally, that: water down the drain. This goes for when you are brushing your teeth, washing your hands, rinsing foods, and much more. You may also try taking shorter showers altogether.
  • Being pro-active on pipe maintenance. Staying up to date on your household piping will not only save in the long run, but in the short term too. If a leak goes unnoticed or unfixed, that’s gallons of water going to waste.
  • Wash your car in the rain. It might not be the most glamorous, and you probably shouldn’t wear a bikini doing it, but washing your car in the rain, and getting all the icky off is one way to help you conserve water. Think about it – if it’s raining, you don’t have to rinse the car!
  • Install a rain barrel. As stated above, unfiltered rain water is great for watering plants during the hotter month. And filtered rain water is great for everything else!
  • Purchase high efficiency appliances, and don’t run the dishwasher or laundry washer until they are full. This may sound like it belongs in an “conserve energy” post, but that is only one way buying high efficiency appliances pays you. A key thing to remember though, is that most front-loaded laundry washers are “full” when the pile reaches about half-way up the barrel. You should be able to stick your hand to the back without touching the clothes. Also – use less detergent. You only need about tablespoon.

These are just a few ways that you can save on water. While many of these things may not help you in a disaster, it will help put you in the mindset of not wasting. One thing we must remember, is that every step of the way helps.

Sometimes, I get lost in the mix of this and that and, when I look back, I see a lot of unfinished tasks, lists, and idea. Learning what we can now, is the best way to prepare for tomorrow.

Thank you for reading my blog today. As always, if you have any comments, leave them below; or if you would like to suggest a topic, contact me via the contact bar above!

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