If you’re preparing for emergencies, then water should be high on the list. If your water supply was disrupted, do you have a plan for drinking, cooking and washing? One gallon per person, per day is the bare minimum. You’ll need about 3 gallons per person for drinking, cooking and washing.
City water can be disrupted at any time. Pipes can burst, or the supply can become contaminated. If you’re on city water, you can be cut off due to non-payment.
If you’re on a well, your pump won’t work without electricity. Solar well pumps are an option, as are hand pumps. Deep well hand pumps are expensive but would be a good investment as a backup. Keep in mind that in the case of flooding, your well can become contaminated instantly.
While I recommend having water stored in food grade containers, you’ll also want a means of purification. Bleach or water purification tablets can be used, as can chlorine dioxide. The advantage to having chlorine dioxide on hand is that it’s useful for treating illness, infection, parasites, autoimmunity, burns, and much more in addition to purifying water. It’ll kill infectious microbes, but it won’t filter out dirt or sediment. So let’s explore filtration.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you have to rely on collected water. It could be polluted rain, or water from a pond or creek that contains sediment and microbes. Some folks have gravity fed filtration systems such as Berkey or this community system by Lifestraw, but the filter would eventually need to be replaced. What if you couldn’t order filters? I’ve been researching how to build a DIY filtration system and came across the Bio filter.
Basically this is a setup made of 3 five gallon, food-grade buckets. The top bucket is filled with gravel, draining into the second filled with sand. The third bucket contains activated charcoal (NOT bbq briquettes which are not appropriate for this application), with a spigot on the side for access. A smaller version could be made from layering the media in a water bottle, but for a long term setup or multiple people, I’d want the bucket system.
I love the idea of not having to order a filter, but I’d have extra activated charcoal on hand to replace it once it’s spent. You can also make your own charcoal and there are lots of videos on how to do that. Depending on the water source, you may still want to apply chlorine dioxide (or bleach if that’s all you have) after the filtration process as an added layer of protection. However, this system should work quite well on its own.
Whichever route you go, preparing for water filtration, sanitation and storage will go a long way toward your prepping efforts and reduce stress in the event of an emergency.