Monday, December 17, 2018

Water Storage and Filtration

You can live three weeks without food, but only three days without water.

Water is life.

This past week I've had around five people ask me about storing water, and why I store water if I have a water filter. This post addresses those questions, since there is a thirst for knowledge.

I have a bunch of potable water on hand. In the corner of my living room are nine boxes of bottled water, stacked and out of the way. In addition, I keep five gallon camping jugs of filtered tap water on hand and rotate through them. I also have a LifeStraw water bottle that I use on a regular basis, and I have a reverse osmosis filter for my kitchen sink.

"Why do you have so much stored water?"
I live in a desert and have had at least two experiences in the last seven years where I had to dip into emergency water. Having a two week supply for two adults for drinking and household use is on my short list for emergency supplies.

"But then why have a filter?" 
First, in a long-term disaster scenario, there's a very real chance of something like an economic collapse, and there's an equally very real chance that I'll need tap water filtration. If tap water isn't available, then being able to filter whatever is on hand (such as a rain barrel) becomes essential.

Second, because if I use these things in my every day life, it becomes much easier to transition in an emergency. In an emergency, I want as little to be distracting me from the matter of survival (and prospering) as I can manage.

Finally, I dislike the taste of the tap water where I live. It just tastes weird, and that's probably more my body's strangeness rather than a comment on water quality, but it was good motivation to prep.

"What do we do now?"
If you have the space, start with some stored water; 72 hours of drinking water can save your life. If you have a source of water that you can filter to drink (stream, river, lake, pond; even scum-covered man-made canals are filterable  drinking water) I recommend you get a man-portable filter next.

And after that it is up to you.

"Wait! How do I store water?
This one is pretty easy. It doesn't take much to store water for long term storage. 
  1. Get a clean container for your water;
  2. Fill almost to the top;
  3. Put in roughly ½ teaspoon of the cheapest bleach you can find;
  4. Cap it off.
(Note: Some bleach is scented. You want regular, unscented bleach. Dollar stores will often have half gallon jugs of it, and those work just fine).

For short term storage (Less than six months)? I prefer to use filtered tap water, a good quality plastic container, and consuming and replacing it regularly. I use filtered water for my humidifier (because the directions say to), my electric kettle (because it's easier to clean), and to drink, all of which help to rotate the water just fine. The only hassle is refilling my 5 gallon jugs.

To Sum Up
Store and filter. Both storage and filtration have a place and a specific use.
Which one you put into your bug out bag is up to you, but if you are bugging in, you really do want both.

Have fun, and don't forget to practice.

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