Chapter 5: Water procurement and storage
Of all your survival requirements - water is a top priority. You can live weeks without food.
You can and will perish in a very short time without water. Sometimes as quickly as 24 to 72 hours in extreme conditions.
Water is relatively abundant and accessible in almost all parts of the U.S. and Canada at this date. This situation could change with any major catastrophe. Water is not always immediately available under emergency survival situations.
Let's discuss getting water both for home use & home storage and emergency field situations. We'll start in reverse order and discuss water storage first.
First of all realize that stored water is limited in its uses. Stored water is for convenience and back up to our other water sources. Mainly, stored water is there as a "just in case" for situations where we might have to "hunker down" for periods of time.
Stored water for drinking and cooking should always be totally pristine prior to storage.
Again, redundancy is the rule for storing water. Bottled water and gallon jugs can be used at home or grabbed for leaving the area. Filled canteens are also a consideration but should always be cleaned and refilled every 30 days.
Five gallon cans provide more volume for both home and vehicle. *Add one cap full of non-scented chlorine bleach for every 5 gallons of water. This should assure water freshness and purity for up to two years in low light storage.
Larger quantities of water can be stored using the same formula of chlorine bleach. Food quality drums, barrels, and tanks are good choices for storage. *Remember - water is very heavy. Containers carrying more than 35 gallons should be placed on concrete or solid surfaces.
There is no skill more important to you than securing water. Redundancy is again a key factor. Learn every single method you can for getting safe, clean water.
City water, of course, is convenient. It certainly is not perfect, but a good filter like the British Berkefeld provides excellent water filtered from the tap. City water however, may not be available in an emergency.
Well water can be an excellent and clean source for water. Electric pumps however are useless without power. Hand pumps always work in shallow wells.
I have a well that is 265' deep. A hand pump will not work in this situation. I use a submersible pump that runs on A.C. current. My pump is wired into the house. I have a 5500 watt progard generator also hooked up to both the pump and four 12 volt car batteries through a standard automotive battery charger. A power inverter runs from the batteries to the pump. This allows me to run my pump on standard house power (A.C.) and from my generator (A.C.) and from my charged batteries through the inverter to the pump (D.C. to A.C.).
Other systems to consider are rain collection, springs, reservoirs and desalinization. Streams, lakes and even swimming pools can be viable sources of water after purification.
There are many other sources of water to consider and we will cover these later.
Basic Water Purification
Pre-filtration - Use coffee filters to remove sediment from water. Sand filters also achieve this goal.
Boiling - Boiling water for at least 10 to 12 minutes will usually kill bacteria, spores and viruses.
Water purification tablets - Chlorine based and iodine based purification tablets are most common. Both are effective in killing all dangerous waterborne organisms.
*Both boiling and water purification tablets are effective. However, toxins and all those little dead critters still remain. A good filter will finish the process when available.
Gravity filters are probably the best. Again we mention the British Berkefeld. Some models and filter types will provide up to 60,000 gallons of water before replacement.
The U.S. Marine Corps ceramic pump filter is another excellent choice.
For water filtration in field situations, both straw and bottle filters are excellent.
Again - purification and then filtration is always better if time allows. This also gives you more uses from your filter.
Filters do no remove viruses.
* Remember - when using purification tablets in your canteen - add the tablets, screw the cap tight, shake the canteen, loosen the cap and make sure solution covers and disinfects the outer cap and drinking surface.
*It should be noted that Iodine based purification tablets may not inactivate crypto. Sawyer products inc. now is selling a filter that is 99.7% effective against viruses.
Several other methods of water purification should be mentioned.
Solar Water Disinfection: Solar water disinfection utilizes the suns rays to disinfect water. Using a clear pet bottle (#1) water is placed in the bottle 2/3 full. The bottle is shaken to oxygenate the water and then filled to the top and cap is then closed. The full bottle is exposed to sunlight for at least 6 hours. This should totally disinfect the water. Large particulates may not be neutralized so prefiltration should be used when necessary.
A similar system is the steripens type of uv water filtration that utilizes a special light that can disinfect water in very short periods of time.