Emergency Survival Solutions - Water Storage and Purification
In the event of a major disaster or crisis, often one of the first things to be disrupted is access to clean running water. Imagine after an EMP attack or a cyber attack for example, and all pumping of water ceases due to there being no electricity. Or perhaps a major earthquake where pipes are shattered and water stops running or it becomes contaminated with sewerage and waste. Maybe an economic collapse during which Municipalities cease to operate at their normal level of functioning. We all know that water is critical to life and we can't go long without it.
But how many of us are prepared for such situations where clean water could be come scarce or unavailable? Is it worth risking being caught off guard with no source of clean water in an emergency situation? I believe the time to get ready is now BEFORE disaster strikes, Don't put it off!
In this brief article I want to give a basic outline of things to consider and how to prepare in advance for a water outage. Also I have added two videos that show you a couple of great simple but effective water purifiers that don't require electricity. They do however require some materials that you may find hard to come by in an emergency, so rather than waiting for one to occur get your stuff sorted now!
How Much Water To Store
It is generally recommended that you store at least 1 gallon (approx 3.8 Litres) of water per person per day. Not all of it will be used for drinking, but at least half of it is likely to be used that way, and the rest is for washing hands etc. I suggest that you aim to have at least two weeks worth of drinkable water stored. So for one person that would be 14 gallons (53 Litres). The more people you have in the home obviously the more water you will need to store.
Basic Water storage:
You may opt to purchase bottled water ( somewhat expensive) or you may be lucky to already have large rainwater storage tanks, but if not then there are options for storing in smaller containers. In the latter case, preferably store your water in food grade plastic bottles or glass bottles. Make sure they are sealed. I have found that used juice bottles are handy. They are generally about 3/4 gallon (2.8 or 3 litters) in size and are easy to handle. Rather than discarding your juice bottles after use, thoroughly clean them out and use them for water storage.
[Editors note - If you choose platic, make sure to store out of the sunlight.]
Should You Treat Your Water With Chlorine?
If you are storing town water from a municipal supply then the chances are you won't need to treat the water before you store it as it will already have chlorine in it. If however, you are not on a town water supply then you probably should treat it before you store it. This will increase it's shelf life. Use only pure Sodium Hypochlorite. Be aware that not all bleaches are pure. Some contain surfactants and other additives and shouldn't be used. Janola for example is not recommended for this. In New Zealand a product called Clor-O-Gene is one that issuer and is recommended for water sterilization. They state on the product bottle to use one capful per 20 liters of water.
It is advised by many people that you replace your stored water every twelve months.
Basic Home Made Water Purifiers
You may find that you run out of stored water and need to resort to gathering water from impure sources. We have here included two videos on how to make very effective water purifiers.
Survivalist Water Filter - Make A Bucket Sand & Charcoal Bio filter
The first video gives you a step-by-step guide on how to make a two bucket bio water filter that can be used to make even dirty brown looking water clean and drinkable. This would be very useful in an emergency situation where you only have contaminated water to draw from. It doesn't kill pathogens however, and so the water may require boiling even though it looks clean once it has gone through this filter. It is cheaper to make than the filter in the second video, but takes more work in the build.
Water Filter - Black Berkey Home Made - Simple Build
The second video shows you step-by-step how to make a Berkey type water purifier at a much lower cost than buying one of the pre-made commercial ones. It is a bit more expensive to make than the filter in the first video, but this is offset by the fact that it is easier to build and it kills the pathogens that the filter in the first video doesn't. As well as being useful for purifying less than clean water, it is great for removing unwanted elements from the drinking water that you may already have present in the water flowing from your taps.