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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Water Storage Options...

I'm on a roll tonight!
I posted this on www.bushcraftusa.com tonight and thought it worthy of it's own post on here...

Hey all,
Here is some food for thought...
The human body can survive for three days without water, even less in arid or hot environments, still less when performing hard work.

One needs at least a gallon of water per person per day per household. This is drinking and cooking water. Washing water should be factored in separately.

Since I am at college I have only myself and my roommates to provide for, however I have taken the liberty to stockpile water in plastic soda bottles and milk jugs. I have only enough for a few days; after that I'd have to resort to transporting it from the creek out back of the apartments. I pre-treat my water with 1/8 teaspoon of plain bleach per gallon, or even 1/8 teaspoon/half-gallon. Keep in mind that with this method of water storage, you must dispose of the containers every six months or so (the milk jugs in particular tend to degrade quickly).

Other methods include:

  • Storage in jerry-can-type water-cans, such as were used from WWII through current conflicts. These can be found in varying condition from various sellers. The best are lined with ceramic or some such as this prevents the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria while insulating your wasser for those hot days in the field.

  • Storage in HDPE "blue cans," these are the most cost-effective method to stockpile transportable amounts of water, usually between 3 and 5 gallons.

  • Storage in Food-Grade 55 gallon drums. Food grade barrels can be found for cheap, or even free from suppliers of honey, molasses, and various other types of food industries. You will want to pressure-wash these to remove traces of whatever was in them before you picked them up. Also keep in mind that while this is a viable option, it is hard to refill them or clean them without a pressurized water source, thus, this should not be your only means of storing water. The steel 55 gallon honey drums which my uncle sells from our corncrib back home are great for use as rainbarrels, which is a very effective way to put to use whatever precipitation drains off of your roof. Even a very small roof will collect a sizeable amount of water. It is a good idea to set up a gravity-fed irrigation system for your planters or garden boxes using rainbarrels.

  • Storage in large, buriable tanks. This is a good way to stockpile water, however you will want to have not only an inlet but a way to bleed it and also a way to treat it (such as bleach or pool crystals).

There are three distinct categories of water according to my friend Eric:

1. Drinkable water on hand: This is primarily bottled water. We have roughly a dozen cases on hand at any given time. I hope to double that amount very soon. We add a few cases each time we go to Costco or Sam's.

2. Accessible water on the property: For us, this includes the water in the water heater, a well, any water remaining in the pipes of our orchard sprinkler system, and our pond. I wouldn't want to drink the water from the pond unless necessary, but we could certainly use it for flushing toilets when needed. And in a worst case scenario I have everything I need to make the pond water safe enough to drink.

3. Water in the area, within walking/carrying distance: We have several small streams/rivers within just a couple of miles of our ranch. Water is heavy and I wouldn't want to transport too much of it very far, but it's good to know where it's at.
So following this logic, there is a strong case (perhaps stronger a case than for stockpiling food) for the stockpiling of drinkable water and the upkeep of water-collection systes BEFORE SHTF.

Therefore I recommend a Five-Pronged approach to stockpiling water:

We (as Survivalists) should have:

  • 1. Ultra-portable 1-gallon or Half-gallon-sized jugs or a case of bottled spring water to grab in a "leave-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace" scenario (bugout issue),
  • 2. Vehicle-portable jerry cans or blue jugs (preferably five per BOV in addition to case of spring water),
  • 3. Rainbarrels for sustainable gardening without the benefit of an electric well-pump,
  • 4. A hand-pump for our wells. This is something I've yet to convince my Dad is the most important prep-item you can get. Problem is it's a relatively expensive procedure. However in an emergency it'd be worth its weight in gold. Just be sure to place it in a location unavailable to the general public or its liable to walk off.
  • 5. A dedicated water-tank for SHTF scenarios. Remember that if it's not properly maintained, mold or other nasties are sure to grow in it.

My pal Eric states that the human body needs 80 oz. of water per day in comfortable weather WITHOUT hard work. He says that if one is eating MREs or other emergency rations, the amount of water necessary for digestion rises dramatically, so plan for 80 oz. of water/day/person.

For two people that would be 8.75 gallons of DRINKING water per week, or 35 gallons per month. He says an average-sized dog drinks approximately 1-1.5 gallons per week. A small dog or cat would probably drink less than a half-gallon per week.

So to keep two people and several dogs hydrated for a month, one would need 65 gallons. That is ONLY DRINKING WATER and DOES NOT include water for cooking, washing dishes, clothes, flushing toilets, etc.

What does this mean? This means we should each have on hand at least 100 gallons of fresh, non-contaminated drinking water. This is just for two people and some pets! Add a gallon of drinking water per day per person per household, and you may well end up deciding that you need a 300-gallon water tank IN ADDITION to your stocks of easily-transportable drinking water.

As always, remember that without the benefit of either an artesian well or a hand pump, one is at the mercy of the droughts and at the mercy of the rescuers. Thus it is absolutely imperative that we all have a good supply of drinking water on hand AND have the means to get more from our immediate water table. Those of us who live in the cities or suburbia will have a harder time meeting these needs. In a long-term SHTF scenario, these folks will have to relocate in order to be able to draw clean drinking water from streams, springs, lakes etc.

Some useful water-prep related links:
www.hewsystem.com ---> expensive, holds less.
www.waterbob.com---> less expensive option, holds more.
www.aquatabs.ca ---inexpensive way to treat small amounts of water, (bleach based).
www.berkeyfilters.com ---> expensive.
http://shop.monolithic.com/products/...ic-drip-filter ---> less expensive option, best used in addition to bleach, iodine, boiling or other methods.


Till Next Time,

If anybody has any suggestions as per other ways to store/treat/swap water and boost water collection during droughts, let me know.


Original: http://berserkersbushcraft.blogspot.com/2009/04/water-storage-options.html