Here’s the thing about water that most of us already know, but many ignore… ‘you can’t live long without it’. In fact, water will rapidly become a NUMBER ONE concern following most any major disaster.
As I’ve said before, I believe that many or most people who are actively involved in preparedness, often overlook the importance of water by making the assumption that water is and will always be easy enough to obtain. This assumption is based on the readily available supply that most of us take for granted, and the fact that we often ‘see’ water in our natural surroundings as we travel here and there.
There are several issues to consider though:
A major disaster will likely coincide with a loss of electricity. Not everyone associates the fact that most all flowing tap-water is dependent upon electricity (pumps). For nearly every home, you cannot have one without the other (water & electricity).
Pumps are required to move the water around the utility system’s infrastructure and to supply the pressure necessary to ‘push’ it out of your faucet. There are some locations and systems that are gravity fed, but in most of these cases a pump is still required to move the water up into a holding tank. When the power goes out, the system pressure will begin to reduce until there is no more – which could happen fairly quickly as people continue to consume the water in their homes.
People also tend to put the water issue out of their minds because they believe that if their faucets run dry, they could simply collect water from a nearby source – perhaps one that they pass every day in their travels like a pond, lake or stream.
There are several problems with this though. One is that water is HEAVY, and weighs about 8 pounds per gallon! Another problem is transportation and the containment vessels to be used to collect and transport the water from the source to the home. Will a means of transportation be readily available? And if so, for how long? How will the water be collected and moved?
Plus, once you have obtained the water, where and how will you store it at home? And do you have the means to purify it for safety and to make it drinkable? If you will be relying on boiling, how long will you have the fuel to continue to boil water? Do you have a quality water filter that is capable of purifying many many gallons over a period of time?
Without solutions to these problems put in place ahead of time, you might not be able to procure the water that you need, which may force you out of your home…
Here are some ideas to consider…
At a minimum, you should have some amount of stored water for use in case you need it. Surprisingly, I believe that many people do not have any more than a case of ‘water bottles’ at home. I wonder how long that will last? You might consider storing some water in bulk, and there are a variety of ways to do so.
You could store many cases of bottled water, and/or you might choose to purchase larger water storage containers such as this one, 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container, which would weigh a bit north of 50 pounds each when full. Here’s a 5 Gallon water jug which might be a bit easier to manage.
Another option (from Tom over at CampingSurvival.com) are stack-able water bricks.
You might also consider storing water in larger containers: 55-gallon water barrel. An issue to consider will be the weight, and the structural support of the floor that the drums will rest on. 55 gallons will weighs more than 400 pounds…
Also remember this… your hot water heater stores drinkable water in its tank. You may have 30 to 50 gallons of water readily available there, and all you would need to do is open the drain valve for the water to pour out at the bottom of the tank. In a disaster, your neighbors may not realize this. If you run out, maybe you could offer the tip to your neighbor in exchange for a few gallons 😉
If the power goes out you might proactively fill your tub with water. A bathtub can hold a-lot of water (between 40 and 60 gallons). You should not drink the water that you’ve saved in the bathtub without purifying it first. There are water bladders for bathtubs that will fit in your tub and will help protect and maintain water purity.
During an emergency in which water may become scarce or contaminated, in addition to filling the bathtub you might also fill any other water vessels that you may have on hand – buckets, pails etc..
Having a water supply storage at home is one thing, but a problem is ‘what if’ it runs out (and it will if the disaster runs on long enough)? You will need a backup plan to procure more water. If you are fortunate enough to have water nearby, you will need a way to get there and back, and buckets to scoop and transport the water. Consider having a wagon or cart to help transport buckets of water from a nearby source.
You might also choose to install a rainwater collection system to capture the rain that falls on your roof. It is stunning as to the amount of water that you could capture. For every inch of rainfall there will be 0.623 gallons of water falling on every square foot of roof surface area. If your roof measures 50×30 feet, you will capture more than 900 gallons of water per inch of rainfall!! There are rain gutter adapters available to divert water into storage barrels.
The same principle applies if using a plastic tarp, which you may set up on four poles and puncture a hole in the middle which drains into a barrel, or whatever. A 9×12 tarp will capture more than 60 gallons of water per inch of rainfall!
You might also choose to have a well dug on your property. This is an expensive option (thousands of dollars), but it is an option to consider. The well will require a pump (which runs on electricity), but you could use a backup alternative energy source such as a generator or a solar-powered system.
Always remember to filter / purify your water before drinking it. This can be accomplished by boiling it for at least one minute. And/or you might consider a quality drinking water filter:
Having a natural source of water on your property is a HUGE asset. The further away you must travel to obtain water, the more difficult it will be during a post-SHTF collapse. Think about it…
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