Editor’s note: Please welcome Patrick Morrow to the site! Patrick is a freelance outdoor writer. His main focus is on fishing, but he also covers survival, prepping topics, and completes several survival challenges each year.
When you find yourself in a survival situation, water should be one of your top priorities. The human body can only survive on an average of three days without water.
However, the issue is not finding water. There are streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, and swamps all over the world. The difficult part is finding water that is safe to drink.
Most of the world’s freshwater is contaminated with dangerous bacteria and parasites. Drinking this makes you more dehydrated, or worse make you very ill. In the worst case scenario, drinking contaminated water can kill you!
In this article, we will cover ways to purify water to make sure that you can safely drink it and avoid dehydration. We will also look at a few methods of finding fresh drinking water.
Methods to Obtain Safe Drinking Water
Take Water with You
How do you make sure that you can have clean water to drink in a survival situation?
Take some with you. These days, I am a big fan of hydration so I take a bottle of water with me almost everywhere I go.
If I were ever to be thrust in a survival scenario, I would have at least one bottle of clean water with me. If I were to head out with my bug out bag, I may even have two or three bottles of water with me in my pack. So no matter what happens, I have clean water with me.
A while back, I wrote an article for folks that are brand new to prepping. If you missed it, click here to read it. Anyway, I got some positive feedback on that article, but I also received a few emails asking me to be a bit more specific. They wanted to know where and what they should start with first.
In particular, one email from a lady told me she was on a fixed, very tight income. She had very limited resources, and was asking me what should be the priorities for her, even more so than in the above listed article. I could tell from her email she was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She wanted to be more prepared, but could not spend very much each month.
That’s understandable. Beginning preparedness can feel like a daunting task. You can also look at everything you might potentially need, and feel concerned because your funds are limited. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I have decided to break down that beginning prepping article a bit more, and go into detail as to what I believe should be your top priorities if you are on a budget. Keep in mind that these are the top priorities in almost every disaster scenario, NOT just a huge SHTF event. As always, I stress that you need to start with the most probable scenarios, and work your way outward.
For this article, I’m assuming that you already have developed emergency plans. That to me is your obvious #1 priority. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and hope is not a plan. Instead, this article will focus on what resources you should be collecting first. (For more info on preparedness planning, click here.)
These categories are listed in order of importance (in my opinion). For each category I list the basics for that category that you should work on first. Once you have the basics in that category covered, move on to the next. Or if you can, try to cover more than one category at a time! For example, I list water storage over food storage. (3 days without water/3 weeks without food.) But if you can cover both categories at the same time, you are that much further ahead.
At the end of each category I will list “additional” items. These are items that while I feel are important, they are areas/items that you can come back to once you have all of your basics covered.
I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.
Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.
There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.
#1 Begin with a Plan
Start off by sitting down and figuring out what your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!
In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.
For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.
Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
For many preppers on a budget, the ability to stockpile goods and supplies might be limited. They may have to stock just a little at a time. And in that case, I hope that they are not stockpiling items which maybe they shouldn’t.
I wanted to take a look at some items that you may NOT want to stock pile long-term and the reasons why. I also try to have some alternatives available as well.
Many of the items listed below are items you SHOULD have in a disaster, so do NOT think I’m saying not to have these items. Instead, I’m saying that in your long-term planning (i.e. the grid goes down for an extended time) these are items you should think about having alternative plans and options for.
Now hear me out. NO ONE out there understands the importance of good, quality toilet paper more than I do. I always have several weeks’ supply on hand. But there is a big draw back to trying to hoard toilet paper long-term.
The problem is that large amounts of toilet paper are bulky and take up a lot of room. For me, in an urban setting, I have trouble storing more than a month’s supply for my family. So if a true long-term disaster struck, beyond 3 to 4 weeks I’ll be in a crappy situation.
The average person uses over 100 rolls of TP per year. Now multiple that times the number of your family members/group. That’s a lot of room for a hoard of TP! And yes, my family goes through AT LEAST that much TP.
Having clean drinking water is the third most important aspect of being prepared and ready in the event of a disaster. (Your need for oxygen is first, and keeping your core body temperature at 98.6 degrees is second!)
Unfortunately, when it comes to water, many people will either a) not store any water at all, or b) put back a few gallons and figure they are all set. But if you are looking at long term planning, than that is simply not enough!
Everyone by now should be familiar with the rule of storing at least a gallon of water per person per day, for a minimum of three days. And if you weren’t familiar with it, you are now.
If you are like me, you are thinking MORE than just 3 days worth of water. Instead, you are looking “long term”. You know that in many cases, a 3 day supply may not be enough, and you want to be prepared in case something more substantial happens. So now what?
Well, let me give you some guidelines and ideas to help you prepare your long term water storage and purification plans.
Knowing which containers you can safely store water in of paramount importance to water storage. Using the wrong containers can easily pollute your water and make it undrinkable. So here are some quick tips when it comes to water storage containers: