Seven lessons on survival water
Water storage, water sourcing and water filtration go hand in hand.
Preppers live by this fact: a person can live about three weeks
without food, but only three days without water. Among the
survival basics is that water, water filtration and water storage
go hand in hand.
Most preppers fail to stock enough water, though they may have
adequate water filtration methods stocked away. It’s necessary
to have a supply of water not only for drinking, but for cooking
and cleaning as well. What’s more, preppers need to know how to
source water and filter it.
A water strategy for preppers includes storing water; filtering,
purifying, and sanitizing water; locating water reserves; and
creating new water supplies. Discover these methods of water
filtration. Below is your water survival guide…
Seven Lessons About Water for Survival
Take heed of these lessons about your water supply for
emergency preparedness (because the time to build a well is not
when you’re thirsty)… Right is an excellent guide to ensure that
no source of water is untapped. Daisy Luther’s book, The
Prepper’s Water Survival Guide will teach you how to treat and
store your most vital resource.
Lesson #1: Bottled water is only your first defense:
Think about this: the cheapest, fastest and best thing you can do
for your survival is to get bottled water. If you don’t have several
jugs of water, then get some immediately. Bottled water is only
your first defense because for the long term, you’ll need to source
more water and learn to filter it. You’ll also need more practical
water storage options in larger quantities. Even so it’s the fastest
and easiest way to get prepping!
- Why is bottled water so important to store? Bottled water
can last indefinitely, though it’s a good idea to rotate your
bottled water stock to maintain a better tasting supply of
water. Commercially bottled water is the safest and most
reliable supply of water, because the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) monitors all bottled water for bacteria,
chemicals and other contaminants.
- Does that mean all bottled water has no chemicals? No!
Be a label reader and look for water without fluoride* and
other chemicals, some disguised as minerals added for
flavoring. These water additives, although passed by FDA,
are not necessarily healthy! We’ve compiled a list of why you
should stay away from fluoride waters. Bottled water is more
than just water. Read bottled water dangers.
- How should I store my bottled water? Can’t I just put
bottled water in the garage? Possibly, but the garage is
not always the best place to store your water. Take note of
these important tips on storing bottled water safely:
- Store bottled water in a cool dry place, away from
sunlight, and not resting directly on cement, which
could leach chemicals into your water.
- Avoid stacking jugs, cases or boxes of water too high.
The pressure of large cases of water may bear too much
weight, and the bottom cases will eventually give way
and leak. You don’t want water damage to your home!
- Rotate stock and check it often to ensure your water
reserve is adequate.
- Drink bottled water within three days of opening to
minimize the risk of microbiological pathogens or molds.
- Lesson #2:
- You’ll need more water than you think.
- Hopefully you’ll never need to use a water siphon, pictured right,
- or a fire hydrant wrench, pictured below, to get your water
- because you’ll need much more water than you think.
In addition to drinking water, you will also need to store water for
reconstituting dried foods (cooking pastas, freeze dried meals,
rice and beans), cleaning dishes and utensils, and providing
adequate hygiene, along with water intended for drinking.
(Remember also to store for pets and livestock). Having a
personal water filter for everyone is important not only for the
bugout bag, but for your “get home bag,” at the office or school,
and your vehicles.
The effects of dehydration may run the gamut of lethargy, loss of
mental alertness headaches, or urinary tract infections to full
blown kidney stone complications! Even if you are an advanced
prepper and think you know everything about water and
hydration, consider this important fact: you’ll need 20-30 gallons
a month per person, per month.
- How much water should a person store? 90 gallons is a
three month supply of water for one person. If there are
others in the party, it doesn’t necessarily mean you multiply
the number. Group activities, such as washing the dishes,
will consolidate the numbers a bit, but generally you should
count on 90 gallons per person for three months.
- How much water to store for a family of three or four?
- Did you know your bathtub is a good last minute source of
water storage? The WaterBob, pictured right and the
AquaPod, pictured below will help you store 100 gallons of
water. Use it before a hurricane to ensure your family has
clean drinking water. Or use it immediately following a
catastrophe, such as an earthquake, to keep you supplied
with drinking water when services may stop. Filling the
bathtub is one of the first things to do immediately following
an ElectroMagnetic pulse.
Where are you going to store such a supply of water? The
standard size for a residential water heater is only 40 or 50
gallons, which is not nearly enough. The SureWater system, right,
stores 260 gallons of water, about enough for a family of four to
last three months. Make it a priority to find the space in your
home or garage. Or store five 55-gallon barrels!
- Lesson #3: Water purification is an essential prepperskill.
- Either you prepare your water, or you prepare for medical
- complications. Preppers make it a priority to learn about filtration
- methods for their survival. There are several methods preppers
- use to make drinking water safe:
- Boiling water. The oldest method of water purification, tried
and true, is boiling water. How long should it boil? Wait just
10 minutes! Boiling doesn’t guarantee good tasting water;
however, which is why, back in the day, people drank tea.
Beer was another method of ensuring a safe water supply.
Both tea and beer required boiling to make.
- Sand, Charcoal, and rocks. Layer a sock or straining
container with sand at the bottom, then charcoal* and rocks
at the top, and filter your water into a container. Most
preppers don’t realize that this will not remove Giardia from
the water. This method will however make the water taste
better and at least reduce bacteria.
- Iodine. Iodine is not the preferred method of water
purification and yet iodine is an excellent survival tool that
comes in hand for quite some reasons. First, iodine requires
30 minutes if it’s warm and an hour if its hot outside. Next,
iodine drop tincture antiseptic is a poison if not used in
proper proportions! The good news is that an Iodine Tincture
First Aid Antiseptic of 2% USP helps prevent skin infection in
minor cuts, scrapes and burns. You’ll need about 10 drops
per gallon, according to Mykel Hawke in his book, Hawke’s
Special Forces Survival Handbook.
- Chlorination. Chlorinating water will kill most micro-
organisms, according to FEMA, and there are three methods
to purify water through chlorination:
- Potable Aqua tablets are proven effective against
bacteria, Giardia, Lamblia, Crystosporidium, and viruses.
Easy-to-use, just drop the tablets in the water and wait.
- AquaMira water treatment drops. EPA-registered, a
single 1-ounce bottle of Aquamira drops, far right, treat
up to 30 gallons (120 quarts) of water. It’s the same
chlorine dioxide formula as the tablets, but in liquid
- Some rules for purifying water with bleach:
- Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches,
or bleaches with added cleaners” (source FEMA) as
these will contaminate your water.
- Check the expiration date as the effectiveness of
chlorine bleach is just six months.
- Do NOT use pool chlorine. It’s a much stronger
constitute than laundry bleach!
- Filtration: Filtering water provides the essential benefits of
removing disease-causing parasites. You can also filter
fluoride, arsenic and other contaminants out of water by use
of a Big Berkey Water Filter.
- Big Berkey Water Filter: The Big Berkey water filter,
pictured right is ideal for everyday and is portable for
camping trips. It’s a favorite among preppers because it
has long filter life (up to 3,000 gallons per filter
element). This powerful system purifies both treated
water and untreated raw water from such sources as
remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water
supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be
substandard at best! Big Berkey is made of quality
- Katadyn water filter. The tried and true Katadyn water
filter, pictured right, is the most rugged, longest lasting
micro-filter available. Chosen by the U.S. Military and
expeditions due to it’s extreme durability and
dependability, it has the capacity to filter 13,000
gallons (or 50,000 liters) of water. Best of all, the
output is about 1 quart/liter per minute.
- Lifestraw water filter. Lifestraw water straw filter,
pictured right is a lightweight drinking straw to sip
directly from the water source for quick hydration. It
removes a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne
bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites,
making it an ideal choice for a bugout bag. Here’s an
article that touts the benefits of LifeStraw as a viable
option for people of Africa!
Lesson #4: Water is hiding for you in emergency
When the faucets stop bringing water, pay attention to these
hidden water sources:
- Rainwater. Rainwater is drinkable. You need only collect it
in an emergency situation! Even though acid rain causes a
build-up of pollution in the soil, it is techncially potable
water! But if you have any doubts, you can always boil it.
While rainwater is potable we suggest you do not drink
rainwater without filtering and decontaminating it. Rainwater
may contain many airborne contaminants (such as
radioactive fallout or bird droppings) and collecting rainwater
is prohibited in many states.
- Here are more ways to source hidden waters in nature.
- Hot water tank: The hot water tank of your home or
apartment building is a hidden source of water in an
emergency. How to turn off water heater. Your hot water
heater is a supplemental source of water, but you’ll want to
know how to shut off incoming water to avoid contaminated
water to mix the safe water. Watch this short video on how
to stop a leaking water heater, intended for helping deal
with a plumbing problem. This information is good prepper
- Fire Hydrant. The Fire Hydrant down the street is a hidden
source of water in an emergency, but you need a hydrant
wrench, pictured immediate right.
Lesson # 5: Your tap water has chemicals and
Be water safe and water smart. Your tap water may contain lead,
arsenic, fluoride, nitrates, sulfates, radon, Hexavalent Chromium,
Atazine and other chemicals and contaminants.
Get the facts about your local tap water and start filtering your
- Get fluoride out of your water. There’s no such thing as
“beneficial fluoride” in your water supply. If you’re being
medicated with fluoride, get it out with a Big Berkey. A Big
Berkey Water Filter, pictured above left, filters out the
fluoride, arsenic and more.
- Learn the difference between hard and soft water:
Read Drinking Water Quality and Health published by
Colorado State University extension, a thorough article
that discusses Giardia and other micro-organisms, lead,
fluoride, nitrates, sulfates, organic chemicals, and
radon, which you may find in your water source.
- Find out about other contaminants lurking in your tap
- American tap water is contaminated with Hexavalent
Chromium and Atrazine (a weed killer). Discover what you
can do about the quality of your water.
Lesson # 6: Know what water to avoid in an
Think before you drink. Do not use water from toilet flush tanks
or bowls, radiators, water beds, or swimming pools/spas” (source
- Do not drink water from the toilet reserve tank. Toilet
reserve tanks are not suitable drinking water because of
cleaning agent contaminants! Previous tenants may have
used toilet tank cleaning agents, rendering this water
undrinkable. Again, break the rules if you have no other
water source. Toilet flush tanks may have contaminants from
cleaning agents, while radiators, water beds, pools and spas
harbor many contaminants, as well. Of course, if this is your
only water, break the rules!
- Do not drink water from radiators because of contaminants.
- Do not drink water from water beds because of the
- Do not drink flood waters (source: FEMA), as it is loaded
with chemicals from spills.
- Do not use well waters until deemed safe. Well water
could be contaminated in the event of flood, earthquake or
other disaster. Test water routinely.
- “Drink salt water only if you distill it first.“ (Source: FEMA.)
Lesson #7: Prepare for your family today, by
harnessing fresh water for tomorrow.
The time to build a well is not when you’re thirsty. Below you’ll
find a few great books on water storage:
- Water Storage: The Complete Water Storage guide,
pictured right. Learn how to use gray water and rainwater
systems, rain barrels, tanks, and other water storage
techniques for household and emergency use.
- Water Storage Tanks: The extensive guide book, “Water
Storage Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic
Supply, Fire and Emergency Use,” pictured immediate right,
describes how to store water for home, farm, and small
communities. It will help you design storage for just about
any use, including fire safety and emergency, in just about
any context—urban, rural, or village. Learn how to make
ferro-cement water tanks, ferro-cement water tanks, and
much more. A do-it-yourself guide to designing, building, and
maintaining water tanks, cisterns and ponds, and
sustainable managing groundwater storage, this book will
help you with disaster preparedness, including your
independent water system, and fire protection.
Final thoughts about your water supply
No electricity = no water.
Remember, it takes electricity to pipe water to faucets. A big
threat to the water supply is an electricity shortage caused by an
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), which could cause water scarcity for
months on end. Don’t count on the government to supply you
with water, because an EMP will immobilize all vehicles. This
means batteries for virtually all cars, trucks and ATVs will be
Even if electricity and water is flowing in your municipality,
contamination of your water may occur at the source after natural
disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes) or man-made
In short, preppers must:
- Store as much water as possible (and constantly monitor the
supplies for leakage);
- Stock more water than anticipated use;
- Filter water and test for impurities;
- Source additional water supplies (water heater, fire hydrant,
- Know what water to avoid, including avoiding certain bottled
- Plan today for tomorrow’s water.
How to conserve water in emergency situations:
- Skip salty foods. Don’t eat salty foods in time of extreme
water shortage as salty foods will make you more thirsty;
however recognize that sodium is a required element for your
body that’s lost in sweat and urine.
- Consider SaltStick tablets.Consult your physician and
consider SaltStick Caps for use in endurance training and as
a survival mechanism. SaltStick Capsules minimize muscle
cramping, heat stress and fatigue due to unbalanced
electrolyte blood levels and replace electrolytes lost during
activity, including sodium, potassium, calcium and
magnesium. The buffered salt composition helps digestion
and absorption, and Saltstick Capsules include vitamin D to
help absorb calcium properly.
- Don’t brush your teeth with the last of the water!
- Stash up and use lip balms s to sooth dry lips and lotions for
providing additional moisture.
- Store disposable cups for hot and cold drinks, plus
disposable plastic utensils and paper plates to avoid
using drinking water to wash dishes.
Water is the most crucial element of survival. With this water
survival guide, you have the opportunity to ensure you and your
family live happily ever after with clean water.
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