These are the words and thoughts that keep circling my brain and disrupting my sleep, but sadly, they are true. Even our own hapless Government recommends we store 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days which equals just 12 gallons for a family of four. While this is certainly better than nothing, this leaves very little water for needs other than drinking. What about cleaning, washing up and/or sanitation? If your faucet suddenly no longer provides water how will you cook, clean, or flush the toilet? Will you have to sacrifice drinking water in order to wash your face?
If you believe the rule of 3’s which states that you can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food then it’s very likely you need a lot more water than the 3 gallons the government recommends. If you are like most preparedness minded people, your preps likely lean heavily on survival gear and food storage with little or no thought about water storage. May not, maybe you have rain barrels, hundreds of gallons of treated water, access to fresh water and a variety of options for purification, if so, read no further. However, if you are like me, you are looking around thinking you need to take action now. I have taken some steps in this area as we have over 350 2-liters filled with water for cleaning and sanitation, 8 2-liters of water in the bottom of the chest freezer, over 20 cases of bottled water and access to 2 creeks, but this doesn’t fully address mid to long term needs.
I’ve written recently how we (I) had let some of our supplies fall below acceptable levels and were working to get back on track, well, our short term and midterm food storage now exceeds previous levels and we are working on more long term storage. Now, when you think of long term storage you probably think of beans, rice and pasta sealed in Mylar as well as those big buckets of dehydrated meals. Well guess what, it all requires water to prepare. Will all those dry beans actually be of any value without water? What good is all that Mountain House chili mac you stashed in the basement without water to prepare it? You don’t have enough water and neither do I.
So where to start? Researching the subject provides a lot of options, the following are simply a few of the options were are considering or currently experimenting with.
A well with a hand pump or solar powered pump would be ideal for most people, but living in the mountains as we do, drilling such a well is cost prohibitive at this time. We would love to add this to our options, but it will probably be years before this actually happens.
Rain barrels are a great source of water depending on the climate in your area, but if you plan on drinking it you should have some way to filter or purify it as it can pick up a lot of impurities coming off your roof or through your gutters. Rain barrels can also help you keep your garden spots watered in between rains.
Lakes, ponds and streams can be an excellent long term solution, again if you have a way to filter or purify it. Those little personal water filters like LifeStraw or Sawyer are great for your EDC or bugout bag, but far from ideal for regular use. To make this a reasonable option you’ll need a couple of larger gravity filters. As mentioned before, we have 2 creeks on our property so part of our plan is to utilize these as a long term solution. Some of you may prefer to simply store water purification tablets, and we may store some as yet another backup, but I think the filters are probably the better option.
Storage barrels and stackable cubes or containers, though not cheap, will soon be added to the mix. The barrels I’ve looked at give you 55 gallons of storage, but they need to be stored in a cool dark place such as a basement and are basically impossible to move once you’ve filled them. You also have to find a way to fill them where they will be stored which may cause issues for some of you. The cubes are more expensive, but much easier to fill and use while taking up minimal space. With either option you will need to treat the water which then should be good for about 5 years.
As usual with us, we plan on taking an all of the above approach. We will start with a couple of filters followed by storage cubes and ultimately a couple of storage barrels. The rain barrels will come about eventually, but most certainly not till spring. The embedded links are the ones we have decided to purchase, if you have any experience, good or bad, with these items or similar products we would love to hear from you. I plan on reviewing each of them eventually; good, bad or otherwise.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.