There are plenty of things to plan and prepare for when it comes to emergencies big and small: food, shelter, communications, evacuation routes, and so on. But the most important thing, by far, is a water.
Why? Because you can survive up to 3 weeks without food but only up to 3 days without water… And if you have, say a week’s worth of food, provided you’re not doing much physical effort, you can last for weeks on end if you ration it properly. But water… that’s another story. You need it to stay hydrated. You need it to clean wounds. You need it to cook your survival food (rice, beans, freeze-dried), and you need it for hygiene.
Let’s not forget that in many disasters, whatever water source you have available may become contaminated or non-existent. Floods and hurricanes could result in dirty brown water coming down from faucets. Contamination of some sort or a nuclear meltdown could mean you end up with water with bacteria in it, or even radioactive substances.
Though a nuclear meltdown isn’t high on most preppers’ priorities list, in what follows I want to give you the top ways to make sure you have clean water during a crisis.
#1. Get a personal water filter. Or three.
This is the easiest way to prep water-wise. A personal water filter is lightweight and cheap and it can purify the vast majority of bacteria and pathogens. The only things they can’t remove are heavy metals – not that big of a problem for short and medium-term emergencies.
The best such filters are made by Sawyer and Berkey and they’re available in our survival kits or individually on our website, but if you want something that can rid you of heavy metals, you should look into more expensive Reverse Osmosis filters.
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#2. Get an emergency drinking water storage container.
The most convenient product for this is a Water BOB. It’s nothing more than an oversized plastic container that fills with water and takes the shape of your bathtub when full. Typically, they are sold in 100 gallon or 200 gallon sizes, and fit most standard size bathtubs. It’s better to have a larger Water BOB if you’re not sure of your bathtub size as you don’t have to fill it up all they way to use it. If the Water BOB is too small, it can rupture as it won’t be fully supported by the walls of your tub.
If you hear there’s an emergency going on and you decide to bug in, fill it up right away to ensure you’re getting storing water prior to contamination.
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#3. Get a dehumidifier
You probably saw many videos and articles showing these weird devices that can turn air into water.
There are a few downsides. For one, you need electricity to run it. Another thing to consider, you would need to further purify the resulting water because these machines also tend to draw bacteria and mold from the air.
#4. Install a rainwater harvesting system
This is a much cheaper and higher yield way of obtaining water compared to a dehumidifier, one that I highly recommend you think about. The sweet part is, this works everywhere: at home, at your bug out location, in the wilderness and even if all you have is a balcony. The bigger the collection surface, the more water you can collect, of course.
Although rainwater is probably safe to drink, you should still filter it just to be safe. If don’t have enough money to set one up, simply have ready some clean containers and barrels that you can use. I’ve actually seen someone use an old umbrella to do it (by placing it up upside down over a bucket).
#5. Dig a well
If you live on a farm or have a little bit of land, it might be a good idea to investigate whether or not you can dig a well. Our friends over at Survival Sullivan wrote a well-researched article on how to dig a well. It’s probably best to have an expert help you, as the cost can go up to $5,000. Plus, you need to make sure you’re not destroying the aquifer feeding the spring.
#6. Move near a lake or a pond
Ok, I know moving out is not easy to do, but if you’re serious about prepping, you might have to consider it. And if you can’t get a property with an actual lake on it, why not move as close to a body of water as possible?
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#7. Ensure you have means to boil it
Water distillation with a kettle, tube, and collecting vessel
Whether or not you have a fancy filter, boiling water will always one of the easiest ways to purify it. But you need to store the proper gear in order to do that. At minimum, a propane stove and fuel should be on your inventory. Also, you can easily distill water if you feel the impurities go beyond bacterial or viral.
Water distillation is the process of removing impurities by boiling and condensing into a clean container. There are water distillation kits you can buy, but it’s really easy to set up on your own. All you really need is a kettle, a heat resistant tube, and a collecting vessel.
Water is essential to all life and should be at the forefront of any preparedness strategy. Outside of SHTF scenarios, the crisis in Flint Michigan should be enough of a tell that an emergency can pop up in any town.
Anything you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below!