In a recent giveaway, the question asked was “What pioneer skill do you feel will be the most valuable following a disaster, collapse or other “stuff” hits the fan scenario?”. There were hundreds of responses and of those, a significant number of folks indicated that the most valuable skill needed was the ability to find and purify water.
The concept of safe drinking water is pretty easy to wrap you head around since it is common knowledge that our bodies need water to sustain life. Luckily for us, there are a myriad of filtering, storage and collection systems available to help us plan for those times when fresh drinking water in unattainable. What we, as prepper’s tend to forget, however, is that there is a lot more to water storage than drinking water.
Think about it. In addition to drinking water, we have our gardens to water, our animals to tend to, our cookware to clean, and our personal hygiene needs. Add all of these up and you can see that in an extended drought or a breakdown in traditional water delivery systems, our precious drinking water may be called into use for other purposes.
Local water is plentiful – but is it drinkable?
To bring this into focus, today I am thrilled to share with you’re the experience of F.J. Bohan who has lived off grid in a drought situation. Some of you may remember F.J. as the author of Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkersand Emergency Air: for Shelter-in-Place Preppers and Home-Built Bunkers, both of which were featured in Backdoor Survival Book Festivals here and here.
Here is his story.
Water, Water Everywhere, but not a Drop to Drink!
Water is life; water is everything to survival and is an essential concern every survivalist must adequately address. Ensuring your ability to convert whatever water you find into safe drinking water is a necessity for all preppers. Unfortunately, some of man’s technical threats are worse than the best water purifying processes most of us can afford; however, there are still excellent choices for survivalists and preppers when it comes to purifying water for drinking.
Having lived off-grid for most of my adult life, I have come to appreciate what water really means to our survival and how important it is for preppers and survivalists living on the grid to share this understanding. When your supply of drinking water comes from the kitchen faucet, a drinking fountain, or even a clear plastic bottle with trendy paper label on it, it’s easy to forget that it’s not an endless supply.
Our time in Arizona saw 15 years of very little rain and countless trips to town to fill our 350-gallon transfer tank in order to keep our 2500-gallon and 1600-gallon water storage tanks full. We could have survived a good length of time had we rationed our storage properly and used the 4100 gallons of stored water for coffee, but my wife quickly put an end to that. She insisted on watering the goats, chickens, cats, and dogs, in addition to watering her tomato and pepper plants. She also required us to shower on occasion, which kept my coffee water storage supply constantly in need of being replenished.
As my wife taught me, eventually you will run out of water. Of course, since we had no rain to fill our animal, shower, and other non-drinking needs, we were forced to use our drinking water supply for other things around the ranch.
When the SHTF you MUST manage your drinking water. Not only will your stored supply eventually run out, but your water filters won’t last forever either. In my opinion, the best filter system available today (the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter ), when used gently in a long-term crisis, will typically last approximately 13,000 gallons. One popular countertop drip filter system will typically last for up to 3000 gallons per filter when gently used. When I suggest “gentle use”, what I mean is that you’re not running mucky creek water through it; instead, you have only run clarified water through the filters.
Every effort must be taken to protect your water filter from sediment which will ultimately clog it and end its service life. Since money is always a concern, purchasing the best and then taking excellent care of it should be everyone’s plan of action. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can skimp here. How much is your life worth anyway?
My own water management plan includes the Katadyn Micro pocket filter, a countertop system, and multiple 5-gallon pails for use in letting water sit and rest in order to allow sediment to sink to the bottom of the pail.
Even the most turbid river and lake water can become drastically cleaner by allowing it to settle for hours or even days. Once the heavy sediment has settled to the bottom of the pail, it can be carefully transferred to another clean pail and allowed to rest for additional time to use cleaning dishes, clothes, or bathing or, if clean enough, run through your water filter system for drinking and cooking needs.
This week I added another water purifying system to my retreat’s equipment options that will see me well past the time all my spare filters become clogged and worn-out. In fact, this system actually does a better job purifying water than any of my other filter systems can do.
The Survival Still offers a long-term solution to water purifying needs in an emergency situation. There are no filters to clog or replace, and it’s made of stainless steel. I don’t see how it won’t last forever when taken care of. Its design is simple and uses your own pots as the boiling base pot and the condenser top-pot. These two pots must meet stated diameters but are common sizes most people would typically already have.
This distillation system works by first boiling the water which kills microorganisms and bacteria, then collects the steam from the boiled water and condenses it back to water in a purified form which travels through a tube and into your collection container. Distilling water with the Survival Still will also allow anyone living along the coast to convert sea water into drinking water. This method is not as fast as using a filter, and it requires energy to boil the pot; however, the water you get from distillation will be pure, and there are no mechanical parts, filters, or seals to wear out. It is basic water purification.
Whether you’re preparing for natural disasters, a societal collapse, or just prepping for the next terrorist event, being able to purify water is essential to your survival. The Survival Still should be found in everyone’s gear. Don’t be caught with water, water everywhere, but none fit to drink!
The Final Word
Since participating in the book festivals, F.J. and I have kept in touch and I have come to respect and appreciate his sincerity when it comes to his desire to help others in their quest for self-sufficiency. He has truly walked the walk in that a number of years ago, he and his wife pull their four sons from public school and set off in a converted school bus to the American Southwest to live life off-grid with a very limited budget.
I am especially grateful to F.J. for sharing his wisdom and knowledge with us and hope that he will come back to join us on another Survival Friday.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Today I feature some of F.J. Bohan’s books and other items related to water, water storage, and water purification.
Survival Still Non-Electric Stainless Steel Portable Water Distiller: With the Survival Still, you can distill and purify water from any source including pond, river, pool, swamp, stagnant and even ocean salt water. It never needs filters and is made in the USA with heavy duty stainless steel. It’s small and compact and is designed to be used in conjunction with standard size pots that you already have in your home. Bottom line? It is on my personal wish list.
Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers: The Free Citizen’s Guide to Fortifying the Home Retreat: This is a guide to readying your home retreat for any scenario. You will learn how to take proven designs for fortified structures and adapt them to your personal defense plan. Examples include barbed-wire fences and entanglements, concrete posts and barriers, and simple but effective sandbags— and a lot more.
Emergency Air for Shelter-In-Place Preppers and Home Built Bunkers This book offers a reasonable solution for an affordable air filtration system. Why should you care? Sheltering in place, or even moving to a bunker is a possibility if things go to heck but what about the air? Sealing in a room is problematic at best since your supply of breathable air is limited. The system detailed in this book allows anyone to breathe safely while under threat and while following FEMA guidelines for sheltering-in-place.
Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter: Built for long-lasting continuous use, the Katadyn Pocket water micro filter features a silver-impregnated ceramic element that’s effective against bacteria and protozoa even in extreme conditions. Unlike disposable filters, the ceramic element can be cleaned several times–even in the field.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.
WaterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage: Have you considered storing water in your bathtub? The Water Bob is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing.
The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
One item I can recommend available is their Do It Yourself SuperPail Combo. It includes 6 x 6-Gallon Buckets with Lids, 6 x Metallized Storage Bags and a 10-Pack of Large Oxygen Absorbers.
Don’t forget that you do not need fancy equipment to seal the metalized bag. A cheap hair iron will do the job.
Conair Flat Iron 2″ Ceramic Straightener: I use a hair iron to seal my Mylar bags. Forget about a hose and a vacuum sealer. A $20 (or less) hair iron works great – just be sure to get one with 2” plates.
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