Self-Reliance: Drinking Water

Emergency backpack equipment organized on the table in the living room

Question: Why read this?
Answer: Your family, pets, and you will die without safe drinking water.

Fun Fact: You will die a slow, agonizing, miserable death in about three days without drinkable sources of water.

“But.. I never drink water…”

Eventually you will run out of Rock☆Stars, Soda, and Beer.
Then what?
What about your kids?
What about your pets?

Things that are NOT SAFE to drink:
– Your pool water.
– Canal water.
– Lake water
– Any stream or river water.
– Any pond or open water.
– Generally speaking: Anything not already labeled as drinking water.

This is a simple guide to plan and respond to a water emergency. A water emergency is when nothing comes out of the tap, or you were alerted that water is contaminated and unsafe to drink.

This guide is purposeful yet easy to understand and implement. The goal is to give you direction, confidence, and a sense of urgency in establishing your individual water self-reliance plan.

Let’s get the fundamentals out of the way first. This is important regardless of how complex your water self-reliance plan will be.

Thirteen Elements of Drinking Water Self-Reliance by trooper, (N7CAV)…

1) Identification (Of Water Source)
2) Collection (From Water Source)
3) Straining/Screening (Large debris)
4) Transport (From Water Source)
5) Sedimentation/Flocculation
6) Pre-filtration (Remove Particulates)
7) Sanitation/Disinfection (Kill Germs)
8) Primary Filtration (Remove Toxins)
9) Purification/Sterilization (Finishing)
10) Storage (Filling Containers)
11) Mobility (Transporting Containers)
12) Point of Use (Draining Containers)
13) Post-Use/Sewage (Gray & Black)

The Basics everyone must know and understand are Steps: 10, 11, and 12

MOST PEOPLE would not have a clue how to boil or disinfect water. This guide is for those who are on the consumer-end of the supply chain; and do not have the will, desire, time, space, or resources to develop a full-scope, 13-element Water Reliance Strategy.

It would be easier to just say “Buy water bottles and stack them under your bed” – and if you get anything out of this, do that. But how much water?

You need a MINIMUM of THREE DAYS of Drinking Water for every person and pet in your household.

Now this is where it gets tricky…

“Drinking” or “Potable” Water is safe to drink, or mix with things you drink or eat, or wash your face and brush your teeth with. So that is much more than what you would personally need or want to drink by itself. That means “how much water per day?” is more than a gallon or two per person.

So how much Fresh Drinking Water do you need per person, per day? Assume you have no access or skills to obtain or use any other source of water: You need FIVE GALLONS PER PERSON, PER DAY for at least THREE DAYS. So that is 15 Gallons minimum per person and pet in your household.

The next question is “Where am I going to store all that water?!” Not to worry, that is a basic element of consideration. But first, come to terms with this fact of fifteen gallons. Why five gallons a day when you may only drink one gallon a day?

Daily Water Use with 0% drain waste:
– Drinking: 1 Gal
– Sanitation: 2 Gal
– Food prep/cooking: 1 Gal
– Personal Hygiene: 1 Gal

Keep in mind if you and your family have no experience the principles of camping or other extremely-limited water use scenarios, your drain waste could easily be 20% or 1/5th or 1 Gallon a day! Drain Waste is open-tap water left running before or after a cup or pan goes under the water stream, or washing hands under running water, or leaving water running while brushing teeth, or rinsing-out a coffee cup, etc…

If you are inexperienced with dry-camping water conservation practices: You NEED FIVE GALLONS of Drinking Water PER DAY!

Part 2 Self-Reliance Storing Water