If the water went off tonight, what kind of plans do you have in place? As with everything else in my survival plans, water is broken down into 3 phases – short term, medium term, and long term solution.
Short Term – this is your bottled water. Most people have a couple of cases of bottled water laying around somewhere. On a trip to the grocery store most people might grab a case or two of bottled water to have around for guest or parties.
Some survivalist stockpile water in 35 or 55 gallon drums.
When the water goes out, the bottled and stockpiled water will go first. Its convenient, you just un-screw the top of the bottle and the water is ready to drink. Most people like to take the easy way out, and bottled water is about as easy as it gets.
Medium Term – this is your water filters. This may include your Berkey water filters or some kind of backpacking, lightweight water filter.
Sooner or later, the filter is going to reach its lifespan, and that is it.
Long term – private water well that is safe to drink. This could include water wells on farms, or rural water wells where people do not get city water.
Now that we are past the three layers of water preps, lets move forward. “Where” exactly do you get water in an urban survival situation? Lets see, there are – local ponds, streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, rain fall, ditches, bayous,,,,,.
For an example, in the middle of Jasper, Texas (where I live), there is a park with a small pond and creek. Using my bicycle I could cycle to the park, use some water bottles to retrieve the water, bring it back home and run it through my Berkey water filter. Its about 8 miles round trip from my home to the park.
River water – Another example, the Angelina River is just a few miles from my house. Once again, using my bicycle I could cycle to the river, bring several 32 ounce water bottles, collect the water from the river, cycle back home and then run the water through my Berkey water filter.
Rain water – once those 55 gallon drums run out of water, they could be positioned under the down spout of a rain gutter. But this only works if you live in an area that gets rain fall. If you do not have any 55 gallon drums, some 5 gallon buckets should work just as good. If nothing else, refill those water bottles that were used when the event first started.
Waterborne diseases – As sewers fill up and start to back up, people will start doing their “business” outside. The problem here, is when an area receives rain fall, the sewage can be washed off the soil and into the local rivers, steams, ponds,,,, any kind of surface water. If water can stand around the pipe going into a well, there is a chance that contaminated water can get into the well. That is why its recommended that a cement step be built around the pipe of a well.
Possible diseases include:
- E. Coli
- Legionellosis – Legionnaires disease and Pontiac fever
- Salmonellosis – Salmonella (mostly foodborne)
- Typhoid fever
- Hepatitis A – food and waterborne
In my opinion, the ideal situation would be to have a water well with some kind of solar water pump on it, or at least a hand operated water pump. In a worse case situation, having a well and a hand powered pump is better then nothing.
One of the big differences between urban and rural water plans, would probably be that a lot of people in rural areas already have some kind of water well in place. Whether its to water the cows, horses or other livestock, or as their main water source, a lot of people who live in rural areas have access to some kind of water well. From there, its just a matter of getting the water out of the well with no electricity.
I would like to hear some input on this topic. What are your safe drinking water plans in some kind of long term survival situation? Do you have a water well already in place? Do you have a rain water collection system already in place? Do you have any creeks, streams, ponds or lakes nearby that your planning on filtering the water from?