If Your Drinking Water Comes From A Lake – What You Should Do

Lake Water

What if your water supply comes from a lake? There are lots of homes and cabins on lakes. Many of them may source their water from these lakes.

Recently a friend of ours visited who is in the process of moving to a small house on a lake. She made mention of the fact that the water there is directly soured from the lake. Evidently the lake itself is also the water source for the surrounding region. However she is still concerned because the water for the house is sourced directly. Rather than through the municipal system which treats its water first.

She asked for recommendations. I do not know any detail about an existing filtration system which may already be installed for lake water there. I would be surprised if there wasn’t “something” in place. For instance my water source comes from a natural spring. I have an inline filter which catches sediment and also filters down to 1 micron. Her place may have something similar because it’s relatively inexpensive to install an inline filter after the pump or pressure tank.

What About The Berkey Water Filter?

But even with that type of system installed, I still filter ALL of my drinking water through a Berkey. She has visited us many times (and used the Berkey while here), so she asked about it.

I did tell here that it is relatively expensive. HOWEVER I also told her that the cost per gallon of Berkey filtered water is dirt cheap after factoring the expected life of a set of filters. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 cents a gallon. Which goes down to about 2 cents a gallon on the second set of filters!

[ Read: The Berkey Water Filter – Is It Worth The Money? ]

Filter All Water That You Will Consume – Even Lake Water

Once you get used to the daily routine of filling the Berkey, it is such a convenience. Particularly knowing the quality of water that you’re getting! We use it for our morning coffee, making ice cubes, filling some water containers that we keep in the refrigerator for cold drinking water, any water for a given recipe, etc..

One thing I highly recommend is the see-through spigot glass. VERY helpful to know how much water remains in the bottom reservoir. You get used to how much to add into the top reservoir based on the sight glass level. We use a particular Tupperware pitcher that Mrs.J has, and we just know how many to add… You get used to it pretty quick. Just don’t over fill or you’ll end up with some water seeping out!

[ Read: 5 Berkey Accessories For Your Countertop Water Filter ]

I have no idea if she will end up purchasing a Berkey. But one great thing I like about it is that you can take it with you if you move. It will last a very long time. It’s one of those things that’s worth the up-front cost in my opinion.

Anyway, so my recommendation if your water source comes from “the lake” (or wherever!), is to buy a Berkey water filter system. It’s about the best you can do for yourself.

I recommend purchasing from our longtime (10 year!) sponsor,



  1. Great article,Ken. Here in Cali we are not allowed to buy Berkeys otherwise I would have one. I have a tabletop Aquarain which is ok. Also have sawyers, katydine and lifestraw. All are good, especially the sawyer but i don’t believe any would work as an inline filter especially withe volume of water that would probably go through it. Remember also if you treat your water, chlorine bleach alone will not kill all
    Chryptospridium though it should kill Giardia.

    1. Burt,
      If you want one, send it to me in AZ and I’ll ship it to you.
      We used ours at the ranch when we had a shallow well. My daughter uses hers to filter municipal water. What a difference in taste…no chlorine and whatever else is added.

    2. I saw that when I bought mine. WTH is going on with that? WHY would the state not want you filter water? Sounds like a good contraband business.

    3. Some outdoor Berkey products are now available in CA like the sport, travel and go berkey. But for indoor water systems, the state makes manufacturers jump thru hoops and requires high fees to acquire and maintain certification. Only California. Source is theberkey.com or a simple Google search.

    4. I have two Berkeys for drinking and cooking needs. I have two additional low cost water filter setups using each configured with two stacked five gallon buckets with top bucket fitted with a ceramic filter in the basin for cleaning, showering and rinsing needs. Unfiltered on premise creek water for flushing needs. Numerous 50 gallon barrels plus a means to extract water from my well. Got water under control. Now testing my solar oven. It cooked rice and noodles yesterday really well.

    5. I just purchased the Travel Berkey and sent it to my home in california. Several of the Berkeys can now be shipped here.

  2. Where I am at in China, I have no idea where my water comes from. I am in a large city so I would assume our water comes from multiple sources such as ground, lake, or river. We have an inline filter installed but it is mostly for filtering out sediments.
    All drinking water MUST be boiled first before consuming. We have an electric pot for boiling the water. It’s pretty simple. Just fill it up and it will boil the water and keep warm for when we need to get a drink or make some tea. It has a little pump so that you can fill your cup or jugs with just the push of a button. I would imagine it is like having a Berkey in that you get used to filling it up when it’s empty. It first when I got here it seemed an inconvenience as I was used to just filling a glass from the sink and then drinking. After a while it seems normal. Plus, I know that hot water pot stand between me and possibly getting sick.

  3. Ken,

    I don’t have the sight glass spigot, but have become pretty adept at judging how much filtered water is in the lower reservoir by simply tilting the unit slightly and judging the weight of the contents. Of course, this only works when the top reservoir is empty. When I first got my Berkey, I made, what I feel was, a mistake of adding unfiltered water into the top to replace the water I had drawn from the bottom, as I used it. Over time, this resulted in the lower part of the filters doing the majority of filtering, and the upper filter capacity being seldom used. This resulted in turn, with the lower portion of the filters become clogged to the point that the upper chamber would only empty to the level where the clogged portion was. I’ve made it a habit, since changing out my first set of filters, to never add water until I can fill the top chamber up past the top of the filters, allowing the entire filter to share the load. Of course, this requires knowing that the lower chamber can handle the incoming filtered water w/o overflowing. Like I said, I can judge this by weight/feel, but the sight glass would be handy for this.

    1. That’s great advice about utilizing the entire filter elements to maximize life. Thanks for that tip. I’ve been conscious of that, but have not mentioned it before.

      To reiterate (if looking to maximize the efficiencies) — wait until the lower reservoir is getting fairly low before adding water to the upper chamber. Therefore using more of the element surface area – rather than just the bottom portion.

      1. Yeah, I was wondering why there was water sitting in the bottom couple inches of the top tank, and guesses it was either clogging or something about how the filters were made. Clears that up!

        I cannot recommend one of these more highly to anyone that values clean water.

    2. Ken and Dennis;

      Thanks for these tips on the Berkey filter. We recently got one (from The Berkey Guy, of course). I wouldn’t have thought of these suggesgtions.

    3. I really like my glass spigot. If budget allows consider one. Then you can gauge and fill to max.

      1. But only if it’s almost empty! Because otherwise you’ll have a water mess on the floor! (Ask me how I know ;) )

        1. Ken J
          You mean to tell me, yours did not have the silent drip—drip–drip on to the floor an walking barefoot though it find out ohh,, darn over filled it again..lol

          Now I check the bottom before I fill the top.

    4. Wow! I had no idea about filling to capacity. Thanks for the information.

    1. kevinH,

      Yes indeed. That’s the lake she’s going to be living on, so I scraped a photo of it on duckduckgo – just for fun

      It figures you would recognize, being a NH resident ;)

      WAY south of me, but it looks nice.

      1. That is the water supply for Manchester…no swimming, can’t even touch the surface…that picture is on the trail that goes to the left out of the park…I have fished that very spot many times when I lived in the city.

  4. Consider in line UV light and a few filters can be had for $750 total. I use rain water off my barn and I run it through this system and have had no issues.

  5. I have mentioned it before and this group is not very receptive of this idea, but a Reverse Osmosis system for potable water is a good idea. If you want a more robust system that is not dependent on electrical power, get a large bug sprayer as a back up pressure supply for the RO system.
    You may love your Big Berkey for simplicity, but an RO system will even get the salt out of brackish water.

    1. Not so sure,

      I agree 120%, and have mentioned RO systems here several times. People like their Berkeys for simplicity and zero power requirements. I get it. RO, as you have said can be run without power if you have a way to pressurize the water manually, as you said. RO filters out smaller particles than what Berkey advertises, at least from what I was able to find out on their site.
      For lake water (or any other type of water for that matter) I would use an RO system. Start with a 5 micron roughing filter, then UV light sanitation module, then a 1 micron filter, then into the RO system for drinking and cooking, or directly out of the 1 micron for washing and household use. if SHTF, use your Berkey.

  6. If you are drinking primarily RO water you should probably also take a vitamin/mineral suplement. Mineral depletion has been an issue for people in similar situation. Check the web for research on the question.

Comments are closed.