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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Water Sources for Remote Property



Thinking about living away from the conveniences of built-in infrastructure such as a city water supply involves careful planning and considerations as to where the water will come from, how the water will be collected, how the water will be stored, and will there be enough water to sustain your needs.

Find property already with a source of surface water

Assuming that paying to pipe in water from the nearest utility will be far too expensive, the simplest and possibly the best approach for a good water source is to consider property locations that already have water, like lakeside, or running water from a river, stream, or a natural spring. A very important issue here is to discover if the water is available year round. Then, it only becomes a matter of building the distribution system from the water source to your home or storage location. This will involve the proper size pump, the interconnecting plumbing, and an intermediate  storage tank. The water will need to be properly filtered before drinking, and could be done entirely separately with a stand-alone gravity fed drinking water filter.

Drill a well for water

If your property has no water source available on its surface, then your next option is to drill for it. Drilling a water well can be tricky in that you usually do not have a guarantee that you (they) will hit water. It can be expensive. The location of the property, the soil type (rocky or not?), and the depth of the well will all bear on the cost of the attempt. In most instances you will be fairly assured of the hurdles, costs, risks and likelihood of hitting water, but not always.

Truck the water in to a storage tank

Another alternative to securing a supply of water on a remote property with no other reasonable means, is to have it trucked in. You could buy a large water storage tank and periodically pay for a water tanker truck to be brought in. The big problem with this is that you are now relying on someone else to provide you with a life sustaining commodity. It may or may not be a problem depending on the other party involved, but if concerned about a very long term disaster scenario, I would not go down this road.


Rain Water Harvesting

But what if you live on rocky ground, in a location where your costs would be quite high to attempt drilling a well with no guarantee? Although I personally would not feel comfortable on a property where I did not have a reliable source of steady water, you could consider collecting rain water. If the region experiences adequate rainfall, especially year round, then this option may not be terribly risky, and in fact quite doable. However if the weather of the region typically has a “rainy season” followed by months with little or no rain, this plan becomes more involved because you will have to store all of the water that you will need, which may involve a very large storage tank. In addition, you will need to calculate the amount of rainwater you might reasonably be able to collect during the rainy season and be sure that it is enough to last through a non-rainy period for all of your needs.
Serious and accurate considerations will have to be given to the quantity of water that you will need over a given period of time. Add up the requirements for drinking water, wash and bath water, sanitary flush water, cooking, cleaning, and very importantly do not forget irrigation water for gardening. This all adds up very rapidly and you may be surprised at the amount of water storage that you may need if relying on an intermittent water supply source.

Calculate the number of gallons of rain water runoff

  • Determine the “square feet” of the roof’s rain water footprint (multiply length x width)
  • Convert the inches of rainfall to feet of rainfall (inches / 12)
  • Multiply “square feet” of footprint times the amount of rainfall in feet (per storm, or per year…)
  • Multiply the total volume of cubic feet by 7.48 to get total gallons

For example, if the dimensions of my house are 50 feet by 30 feet, and I get about 26 inches of rainfall per year,
  • 50 feet x 30 feet = 1,500 square feet
  • 26 inches / 12 (inches per foot) = 2.2 feet
  • 1,500 square feet  x 2.2 feet = 3,300 cubic feet
  • 3,300 cubic feet x 7.48 (cubic feet per gallon) = 24,684 gallons
Wow, that’s more than I thought it would be!
In actuality, the total will be slightly less because not all the rain will runoff down the downspouts – but don’t worry about it.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are using the formula and determining a capacity of gallons to supply you year round, even during long periods without rain, then remember that this calculation assumes that you are able to collect “all” of the rain, meaning you have enough collection downspouts, storage barrels, and a means to get the water from these barrels to a very large storage tank. If you only have four 55-gallon water storage tanks around the downspouts of your home, you will only be storing a maximum of 220 gallons. That’s not much if considering a climate location where it doesn’t always rain often enough to keep topped off. But it sure is plenty if storing for emergency essentials (you reasonably could plan on 2 gallons per person per day for very basic survival essentials) or simply supplementing your existing water source.
It is interesting to note that a normal rain weather event that delivers about 1 inch of rain could provide you with about 900 gallons of water on a 1,500 square foot house!! The problem will be the capability to store it all…
A reader had recently E-mailed asking about how to deal with collecting rain water from roof runoff while allowing for the first rain to clear off the accumulated roof debris. The simplest way to deal with this is to purchase a rain diverter system that includes a diverter valve which can direct the water to the barrel collection system or down through the normal runoff to the ground. Just leave the valve flipped over to ground runoff during the first rain and then flip the lever over to the barrel afterward. Here are a few examples of rainwater diverter valves and rainwater collection barrels.

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Backpacking Tips: Storing White Gas

Author: Vaughan Weather Coleman Campfuel Date:...Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
Backpacking stoves come in a variety of makes and models. These different stoves burn different fuels including wood, propane, white gas and others. White gas is one of the most common fuels used in backpacking stoves. Here I will talk exclusively about storing white gas.

Storing White Gas for the Short Term

While backpacking, store your fuel in an approved fuel bottle. Make sure that it is made specifically for storing such fuels and for carrying in a backpack. These are often made of aluminum, and stove manufacturers commonly make fuel bottles for their own stoves. Your best bet is to buy one of these. Don’t ever carry white gas in a water bottle or other food container.

When you have finished cooking, empty the white gas from the stove back into the fuel bottle. This bottle is much more likely not to leak compared to the stove itself. Using a small funnel will help you make the transfer. Be sure to screw the fuel bottle cap on securely.

Storing White Gas for the Long Term

The main thing to remember for long-term storage is to pour the white gas back into its original container, usually a metal can. Don’t keep it in the fuel bottle. Leave the fuel bottle open for a while to dry out.
Store your white gas can in a dry and cool place away from any heat source, direct sunlight or electrical wires. Check the can periodically for signs of corrosion. Make sure the cap is tight.
by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.

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Survival Without A Paycheck? How Much Time?



If you really thought about it, how many paychecks away from homeless are you?
Survival without a paycheck, becoming homeless, or having to move in with friends or family, is something that most people probably do not ever think about. The belief is that somehow we will never be without a decent paying job, the bills will always get paid, and nothing that bad could possibly happen to me. But please consider this, if you and – or your spouse lost your job and were without a steady paycheck, how much time would you have before things get terribly bad for you?
Serious thought should be given to this “what if” scenario, because the economic times that we are living in today, are uncertain at best. A seemingly stable employment could vanish overnight resulting in no more paychecks, throwing your survival instincts into overdrive. The corporate machine takes little account for many of the qualities that may seem good and rock-solid to you. Instead, it is always about the bottom line, profit, of course. Although rarely said in the halls of the corporation, the longer you’ve been employed there and the older you are, the easier it is to replace you with a younger, eager, “cheaper” and “trainable” body. Face it, your years at the office have probably provided a decent paycheck, raises, maybe bonuses, and you might feel quite comfortable in the feathered nest that you’ve made for yourself at the office. Believe me, the bean-counters notice, and you are a target in today’s hard times environment.
So back to the question. How many lost paychecks, or how long without a paycheck before things get desperate? If you sat down and analyzed your current financial obligations, you might be surprised to discover that it wouldn’t take that long at all. Over the years the system has made it real easy to live large and have the toys that we want. We are all probably guilty to some extent, having not resisted all of the tasty treats during the good times, but have you managed to squirrel away enough cash or investments from your paychecks to buy you some time in the event of a personal financial disaster? Have you taken on more debt than you probably should have? Or are you one of the lucky ones who have been fortunate enough to have built a nice financial cushion and are mostly free from debt. The later is probably the exception to the rule out there.
When the paycheck stops coming and you stop paying bills, bad things start to happen very quickly. Not paying your credit cards is one thing, but when you stop paying mortgage, rent, or utilities, this is quite another thing. Realistically you will only have a few months before you are in serious trouble and are being actively pursued. Soon after, you will be forced to live without your home or apartment and your survival will suddenly become forefront in your mind. Are you certain that your friends or relatives will take you in? If they do, how long will it be before that situation gets tense? Most of us have had friends or family stay at our home for a period of time while visiting (or maybe it’s the other way around). You know how little time it takes before everyone has pretty much had “enough” of each other. It’s not easy.
The point is this… at least consider your current financial condition and what would happen to you and family without a paycheck. Make some adjustments if need be. Base your future decisions and purchases with this in mind. Survival and preparedness is not always about beans, bullets, and band-aids, but is also about your finances, your money. Today’s form of money is what it is, and until it is not, be smart and rid yourself of its debt obligations the best that you can. Be financially cautious and be prepared for a financially secure survival.

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Making Improvised Tools for Survival - The Broken Knife

A situation may arise where you find yourself in a situation where the use of your gear may result in it breaking. It could be accidental, from normal wear and tear or a little abuse on your part. The main thing to remember is that it can still be used to make an improvised tool that will allow it to be useful in a survival situation. One of the more common mishaps that can occur to your gear is winding up with a broken knife.

One of the easiest and most useful survival tools that can be made from a broken knife is a simple spear. Here is an example of an improvised spear that could be used for hunting or defensive purposes in a survival situation that was made from a broken knife. You could also shorten the stick to make an improvised handle that would turn it back into a useful working knife.

A short section of wood about 3 to 4 feet in length split on one end to allow you to insert the blunt end of your knife blade (the blade tang) and then secured in place by whipping the end with some sturdy twine. Thus a blade that had no handle now becomes a useful tool that can be used safely and effectively.
In a survival situation, you will need to be able to make use of all your resources. This includes the ability to turn broken or damaged gear or other items back into useful items. if your resources become limited this will be a very useful survival skill.
Got broken gear?
Staying above the water line!

Food Storage Tuesday

A sleeping bag. A corner of the black sleeping...
Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your 72-hour kit, your 3-month supply, and your longer-term storage. If you are new to our blog, don't worry! You won't be left behind. Just start up where we are and follow along. You will eventually have everything completed! Once the 72-hour kit is complete, we'll be putting together emergency car kits again (week by week). Once those are done, we'll gather the 72-hour kits again. So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

This week for your 72-hour kits, prepare sleeping bags or blankets to be accessible at a moment's notice.  Our sleeping bags are in our front closet, but the 72-hour kits are in the kids' closet.  Even though they are not kept together, that's okay because I still know where everything is and would be able to grab them both if we were leaving in a hurry.  Also  this week, gather toothbrushes and other hygienic items (toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.)- travel sizes are ideal.  Now, space is always an issue and to be honest, I don't have body wash in my kids -- just shampoo (as far as soap goes).  I'd rather wash my whole body and hair with shampoo rather than wash my body and hair with body soap.  Space is limited so I choose shampoo.  Personal preference.

Hopefully you are still working on your three-month supply!  It's certainly an on-going project.  Sometimes it feels like mine will NEVER be done but it's a process and I'm getting closer to my goal.  The hardest part for me is keeping updated records of all the food I have and use on a day-to-day basis.

We are still gathering wheat this month for our longer-term storage!  To be honest, I don't store very much wheat because my family doesn't eat much of it, but I do have a fair amount (I really focus more on the oats and rice and beans, personally).