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Monday, April 13, 2009

Water Storage Options and Hello from PA!

Hey there!
I'm PMZ from PA. I'm attending college in NY State currently but will be back in the greater Lehigh Valley area come May. I'm glad to have the opportunity to learn from you all and occasionally contribute something or other. I've not been prepping for as long as some of you, but once in a while I may chip in.

Here's a short article I wrote regarding water supplies, treatement and stockpiling.
I posted this on www.bushcraftusa.com and http://berserkersbushcraft.blogspot.com/ a while ago and thought it worthy of it's own post on here...

Hey all,
Here is some food for thought...
The human body can survive for three days without water, even less in arid or hot environments, still less when performing hard work.

One needs at least a gallon of water per person per day per household. This is drinking and cooking water. Washing water should be factored in separately.

Since I am at college I have only myself and my roommates to provide for, however I have taken the liberty to stockpile water in plastic soda bottles and milk jugs. I have only enough for a few days; after that I'd have to resort to transporting it from the creek out back of the apartments. I pre-treat my water with 1/8 teaspoon of plain bleach per gallon, or even 1/8 teaspoon/half-gallon. Keep in mind that with this method of water storage, you must dispose of the containers every six months or so (the milk jugs in particular tend to degrade quickly).

Other methods include:

  • Storage in jerry-can-type water-cans, such as were used from WWII through current conflicts. These can be found in varying condition from various sellers. The best are lined with ceramic or some such as this prevents the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria while insulating your wasser for those hot days in the field.

  • Storage in HDPE "blue cans," these are the most cost-effective method to stockpile transportable amounts of water, usually between 3 and 5 gallons.

  • Storage in Food-Grade 55 gallon drums. Food grade barrels can be found for cheap, or even free from suppliers of honey, molasses, and various other types of food industries. You will want to pressure-wash these to remove traces of whatever was in them before you picked them up. Also keep in mind that while this is a viable option, it is hard to refill them or clean them without a pressurized water source, thus, this should not be your only means of storing water. The steel 55 gallon honey drums which my uncle sells from our corncrib back home are great for use as rainbarrels, which is a very effective way to put to use whatever precipitation drains off of your roof. Even a very small roof will collect a sizeable amount of water. It is a good idea to set up a gravity-fed irrigation system for your planters or garden boxes using rainbarrels.

  • Storage in large, buriable tanks. This is a good way to stockpile water, however you will want to have not only an inlet but a way to bleed it and also a way to treat it (such as bleach or pool crystals).

There are three distinct categories of water according to my friend Eric:

1. Drinkable water on hand: This is primarily bottled water. We have roughly a dozen cases on hand at any given time. I hope to double that amount very soon. We add a few cases each time we go to Costco or Sam's.

2. Accessible water on the property: For us, this includes the water in the water heater, a well, any water remaining in the pipes of our orchard sprinkler system, and our pond. I wouldn't want to drink the water from the pond unless necessary, but we could certainly use it for flushing toilets when needed. And in a worst case scenario I have everything I need to make the pond water safe enough to drink.

3. Water in the area, within walking/carrying distance: We have several small streams/rivers within just a couple of miles of our ranch. Water is heavy and I wouldn't want to transport too much of it very far, but it's good to know where it's at.
So following this logic, there is a strong case (perhaps stronger a case than for stockpiling food) for the stockpiling of drinkable water and the upkeep of water-collection systes BEFORE SHTF.

Therefore I recommend a Five-Pronged approach to stockpiling water:

We (as Survivalists) should have:

  • 1. Ultra-portable 1-gallon or Half-gallon-sized jugs or a case of bottled spring water to grab in a "leave-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace" scenario (bugout issue),
  • 2. Vehicle-portable jerry cans or blue jugs (preferably five per BOV in addition to case of spring water),
  • 3. Rainbarrels for sustainable gardening without the benefit of an electric well-pump,
  • 4. A hand-pump for our wells. This is something I've yet to convince my Dad is the most important prep-item you can get. Problem is it's a relatively expensive procedure. However in an emergency it'd be worth its weight in gold. Just be sure to place it in a location unavailable to the general public or its liable to walk off.
  • 5. A dedicated water-tank for SHTF scenarios. Remember that if it's not properly maintained, mold or other nasties are sure to grow in it.

My pal Eric states that the human body needs 80 oz. of water per day in comfortable weather WITHOUT hard work. He says that if one is eating MREs or other emergency rations, the amount of water necessary for digestion rises dramatically, so plan for 80 oz. of water/day/person.

For two people that would be 8.75 gallons of DRINKING water per week, or 35 gallons per month. He says an average-sized dog drinks approximately 1-1.5 gallons per week. A small dog or cat would probably drink less than a half-gallon per week.

So to keep two people and several dogs hydrated for a month, one would need 65 gallons. That is ONLY DRINKING WATER and DOES NOT include water for cooking, washing dishes, clothes, flushing toilets, etc.

What does this mean? This means we should each have on hand at least 100 gallons of fresh, non-contaminated drinking water. This is just for two people and some pets! Add a gallon of drinking water per day per person per household, and you may well end up deciding that you need a 300-gallon water tank IN ADDITION to your stocks of easily-transportable drinking water.

As always, remember that without the benefit of either an artesian well or a hand pump, one is at the mercy of the droughts and at the mercy of the rescuers. Thus it is absolutely imperative that we all have a good supply of drinking water on hand AND have the means to get more from our immediate water table. Those of us who live in the cities or suburbia will have a harder time meeting these needs. In a long-term SHTF scenario, these folks will have to relocate in order to be able to draw clean drinking water from streams, springs, lakes etc.

Some useful water-prep related links:
www.hewsystem.com ---> expensive, holds less, but is much more durable and fits tubs better.
www.waterbob.com---> less expensive option, holds more but is less durable.
www.aquatabs.ca ---inexpensive way to treat small amounts of water, (bleach based).
www.berkeyfilters.com ---> expensive.
http://shop.monolithic.com/products/...ic-drip-filter ---> less expensive option, best used in addition to bleach, iodine, boiling or other methods.


Till Next Time,

If anybody has any suggestions as per other ways to store/treat/swap water and boost water collection during droughts, let me know.



American Prepper said...

Welcome aboard PMZ, great post!

American Prepper said...

I do want to point out, that while waterbob holds more, Hews is specifically designed to fit perfectly in the bathtub. It's specially engineered to handle much more rough situations, much more durable, and is much more puncture resistant. I know, i product tested HEWS and personally know the inventor. Still, great post though! Welcome aboard

Berserker said...

Guess I should've researched HEWS more!:(
Thanks for the welcome!

American Prepper said...

no prob Berserker! I just had to throw in that 2 bits...The inventor is Sandy Scrantom, very nice guy, and an engineer. He designed one heck of a product with HEWS. You can fill that thing up, kick it stand on it, whatever, and it don't rupture (I don't suggest doing that for safety reasons, it wont break but you might fall) Anyway its a very high quality product, plus I have to support him, he is a long time sponsor with us.....No offense to water bob, but they havent been able to copy his product.

PH said...

Welcome PMZ.
I'm your neighbor a few minutes to the north. Great post.

I've got a pretty good stockpile of food grade 55 gallon drums. One option for water you didn't mention is to use a gas powered generator to run a deep well pump. This is my plan. I have enough barrels for close to 300 gallons of water. I keep one filled. At the first sign of trouble the others can be quickly filled. If power goes out I'll use my generator to power the pump.

My plan is to save the generator for water pumping and only rarely use it for other things. With this plan I think I can go at least a year with my saved gas (gas is rotated regularly).

Please keep posting!

Anonymous said...

Be mindful that pop bottles and milk bottles begin disintegrating soon and are bad for the body. Here's some tips on what type of containers to store your water in: http://tinyurl.com/cnzxc8

Berserker said...

Actually PP, it's best (even if you're using tap water) to treat it before any sort of long-term storage. This is a commonly accepted practice not only among "survivalists" but also among humanitarian agencies and the like.
Mold and bacterial spores WILL grow even in cool, sealed tap water, well-water at least. City water may be different...since it's already chlorinated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the blog on my HEWS emergency water system. I appreciate the positive comments made. If you have not checked out Hewsystem.com lately, I reduced the price significantly as a preppers incentive.

I have been asked if the HEWS was invented just
for the bathtub. The answer is no. The bathtub is probably the best structurally sound and convenient place to set it up.

However, because of the design and materials,
it really is a stand alone storage device. It does not need any support structure to function. It can be placed outside or in a enclosed area that can support the weight of the water.

There are people that use the HEWS in their truck beds, people that have only well water
sources, and the list goes on.

Thank you preppers all


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