The Rule of 3’s for Survival is this
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours without shelter
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food
- 3 months without hope
Water is extremely important, if not the most important aspect of human survival. Without it you lose strength, ability to concentrate and very quickly die. We often take it for granted, but anyone
who has done an extended hike or hunting trip can attest that when you don’t have it and cant find it, life is not fun. FEMA states that each person needs around ½ gallon of water per day just for
drinking. That being said for a family of 4 you need 2 gallons per day, and more than likely up to 5 gallons per day for cooking and cleaning/washing. There are two basic types of scenarios that I see
that dictate in what way you seek and store water
There are two basic types of scenarios that I see that dictate in what
way you seek and store water
1) Bug out, on the go. You are actively leaving your home, business, shopping, city, because the situation has gotten bad and it is no longer safe to stay there. In this scenario you will not have the
luxury of storing large amounts of water to carry. Even a couple gallons of water will significantly weigh you down. So this is where the portable water purification systems comes in previously
discussed in the 72 hour kit section. You may think that a stream you have come upon is clean and clear, but unfortunately protozoa arent the size of squirrells and you cant see them in your water! I
have taken chances and drank from many a stream, but just because i was young, naive and stupid doesnt mean you should be! That being said this is a TERRIBLY IMPORTANT and DEADLY
subject. Why deadly? because in a “active bugout” for whatever reason you are not in a position where you can take a few days to rest as there might be a hostile environment that you are in or have
escaped from. Diarrhea is a killer, literally. In this country we dont see it, its a half joke and a trip to the store for immodium will get you right in a few hours. In a true survival situation if you are hit
with diarrhea because of bad water, or worse giardia. Giardia, or ‘Bever Fever’ wil not take effect until a week or two later, but can last between 2-6 weeks, with nausea, cramps and diarrhea. This can
be extremely life threatening in a survival situation as you will become severely dehydrated. All Joking Aside, be careful, be smart, practice smart water habits when your hiking from here on out, so it
becomes second nature when/if you are ever in a bug out/survival situation whatever it may be. The Steripen in the 72 hour Kit section but ill reiterate it again. It works wonderful, but cannot quickly
(takes 90seconds per quart) purify large amounts of water. And also if the water is murky it wont be effective, if its just fullof wood, chunks, prefilter with a shirt or coffee filter, but dark swampy water is a no go.
I have and love the Adventure STERIPEN with the solar case. it comes with two batteries, one charges from the sun in the case while the other is in the steripen protected inside the case as well. You can rig it up on you pack and it will catch light while you hike, and is pretty durable although it does have a solar unit imbedded in it, so do be mindful and not bash it around!
Katadyn makes two wonderful products, the Pocket Water filter and the Vario Dual-Tech Water Filter. The Pocket Water filter will run you about 320+ dollars but it is capable of a 1/quart a minute
through a .2 micron filter and can treat up to 13000 gallons of water before the filter needs to be replaced. The Vario is cheaper, around 90 dollars and can filter up to 2 quarts a minute through a .3
micron filter. It does need filter replacement every 500 gallons, but a 2 pack filter will run you about 10 dollars so its economical in that sense as well. This will allow you to filter out most bacteria and
protozoans even in murky water. Boiling will always be a safe bet, but the water will still be murky and nasty tasting, and you sometimes cant be starting a fire due to time, or to give away your
position with the sight and smell of smoke in the area. A note on Bug-outconditions and water, If youre in the city or in the woods and you come across water where its safe to take a few minutes to
filter and drink, TAKE ADVANTAGE and drink, even if you full, take healthy gulps and refill, you never know when you will have access to water again. Hydration is King, never pass up water.
Although this can take awhile longer, Solar Water Stills can be another method to purify water when you are, as we say in the
military, in the field. To do this, you’ll need some plastic sheeting or a poncho, a digging tool, a container and a rock.
- Choose a moist area that gets sunlight for most of the day.
- Dig a bowl-shaped hole about 3 feet across (91 centimeters) and 2 feet deep (60 centimeters), with an additional sump, or deeper pit, in the center.
- Place the container into the sump.
- Place the plastic over the hole and cover the sides with rock and soil to keep it secure.
- Put your rock in the center of the sheet and let it hang down about 18 inches (45 centimeters), directly over the container, to form an inverted cone.
The moisture from the ground reacts with the heat from the sun to produce condensation on the plastic.
The sag in the plastic forces the condensation to run down and into your container. A successful still can produce up to 1 quart of drinking water per day.
How to Purify Water Using Bleach
Clorox Water Purification
Great File on everything Water Filtering
Well water is the best bet for your water situation if you are blessed to have one, but you do need to tweak it BEFORE an emergency happens to make it work. Why would I need to do that you ask? Well if you do have a well 9/10 times you will have an electric well pump, and in an emergency situation you may not have power. And if that happens, all that water down will do you as much good as water in China!
You can install manual handpumps that flow directly into the kitchen (albeit unless you are going to a true country look they are a bit…large) If you have a creek near the home you can install a hydraulic ram, which is really neat little invention that has been lost in modern society. They require no external source of power, because the waters movement powers the pump, and there are only two moving parts. If you can afford to I would recommend a cistern to hold and collect water that can be gravity fed into your home and will give you the ability to take showers (albeit probably cold ones, unless you insulate and use the sun to heat the water in the cistern).
You can also get Solar pumps that will pump water into the cistern from your well during the day, but it can be a bit pricey, and impractical In northern winters. Another option, that I first picked up in JWR’s book is the “bullet bucket” which is basically a small piece of PVC with a flapper on the bottom to manually bring water up from your well by hand. If your house/retreat doesn’t have good clean working gutters get some!
Have these gutters empty into rain barrels, now you may be saying gross all that gunk on the roof and gutters are going to be in that water! Yes you are right, but that water can be strained and boiled and be made safe to drink, It can be used to water your gardens, clean your clothes and your bodies! Don’t let this free water go to waste! If it fills up your barrels have some more on hand to collect more, you never know when a dry spell might swoop in to ruin your garden.
Building a Village Water Ram
Gravity Fed Water Supply (Creek, Water Fall)
Popular Science Water Ram
How to build a Hydraulic Ram
Rural Water Cistern
Depending on if your home is your retreat location, or if you have a separate location, I would recommend finding some of those big 55 gallon Blue water barrels. If your home is your retreat location and its residential it might be a bit difficult to store these full of water. One option is to fill them, seal them tight and bury them. You of course are now running the risk that the seal leaks, or any number of issues and the water is tainted. Even this is better than nothing as you can always filter and boil it, but the best option is to store them in the basement or in a backyard.
You can never have too much water. If you have a more secluded retreat location you can bulk up on them, or have a reasonable amount alongside a cistern as mentioned previously. Don’t overlook storing water. Now with all that being said, in a northern climate you will not have the luxury of having most of that work during winter months. Cisterns, pipes and pumps will all freeze (note: I hope this goes without saying I hope that you will want to make sure the pipes and pumps are not allowed to freeze full of water, possibly breaking your summer source of easy water?). With that you will need to those supplies of water stored somewhere indoors where it will at least stay slushy or unfrozen for use.
These blue water barrels can be refilled in the home from melted snow when that time comes. In between when it freezes and when the snow starts to fall you may have to hand carry water from the well or closest stream or lake. To do this you will want to have many extra buckets laying around. And no, don’t think of using your food storage buckets if you can help it. When you bring that water inside you will have two options to purify, boiling or a in home filter. Now I had gone over the Katadyn filters for Bug out use, but those can be used for the home, but not ideal.
The Big Berkey Water System is like your Pur filter in your fridge on steroids. It is a 20 inch tall 2 tier system and can hold 2.1 gallons of filtered water in its lower tier. If you kick in for 4 filters instead of the standard two, you can get around 7 gallons per hour of filtered water. This system may seem expensive, but is easier than boiling, even if you have a well, its always good to have a redundancy.
Building a Berkey Water Filter at Home