Water – Consider Your Needs and Source
“Food, shelter, and clothing” is generally quoted as the 3 necessities for life. In my opinion this is highly misplaced, for it presumes you have plenty of something far more crucial than any of those – water. One should never assume having an ample supply of drinkable water, not to mention the water needed for cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry, sanitation, and irrigation just to name a few more needs. I am going to break this into several articles, starting with considering your source, especially for urbanites.
IMHO too many folks have a false sense of security as they store merely dozens, or even a few hundred gallons of water. Besides in inadequate amounts for long term survival, there are also some issues of even commercially made plastic water bottles, and far worse, the do it yourself approach where people don’t put some sort of treatment into it, nor ever rotate and clean the containers. Bottom line on trying to store all the water you will need in a crisis is, unless you have a water tower or cistern, you just can’t store enough. In our world of indoor plumbing, most people don’t realize how much water they actually use on any given day. The code and utilities here for development state a home should consider 150 gallons of usage, per day, per bedroom. Even folks with wells and septic tanks take for granted the power that runs the pump and that the septic is pumped every year or two (local code).
As we learned from Rome and its aqueducts, for a city to survive it must have a constant supply of fresh water. You can locate near a lake or a river/stream, but the quality of that water will be far more in question, and you must keep your sewer separate from your drinking water. Further, if you are looking to a river your stream, you don’t want to be down stream of someone’s sewer. Septic will be considered in the next article.
What those in urban areas need to understand is that your water supply is completely dependent upon power and public utility employees continuing to show up to work to keep it running. While a full water tower may provide several days worth of water at normal usage levels, you also need to consider that crisis usually causes extreme usage and “hoarding”. Then consider how quickly a main break, or fire fighting could deplete what water is in the tower. The old advice of filling up your bathtub is good, except using that for drinking water of course. What we have today are inexpensive plastic tubs and garbage cans that can be filled with water if you have that time.
Once that is gone you must consider where you would get water from. If there is no natural water nearby, then rain (or snow) collection comes to mind first. It’s become popular to use 55 gallon drums to collect rain water and use it to water gardens. Having seen some, it did occur to me, why not just run column, vertical pipe, 3 feet wide, all the way to the roof to serve as a mini-water tower, no doubt with better “head pressure” too. Nature has already done the “heavy lifting” – so almost a shame not to store you roof run off water up high, maintaining the potential energy, and let gravity put it where you want it, rather than pumping it, or of course “carrying water”. Water is heavy.
If it is possible for you to have a well, even one not certified for drinking water (small point well), it is something I doubt you would regret doing. In some areas, wells can be extremely expensive, thousands, and even over ten thousand dollars if several hundred feet deep. Seems like a huge amount, until you calculate the alternatives as to not having that source if and when you need it.
There are some survival techniques for obtaining very small amounts of water via condensation. If you needs are that dire, you probably need to make your focus to get yourself to a place with a far more reliable source IMHO. This is why cities and settlement were built on fresh water lakes and rivers. We all need a lot of water to live our lives.
Next week, purification.