It's okay, you can put your tin foil hats away, I'm not digging a bunker, well not yet anyway... This is a post about keeping three days supply of water ready at hand.
I worry about how unprepared people in general seem to be. And I'm not talking about for a coming war or zombie apocalypse, I'm talking just for the bumps in the road of everyday living.
As a nation we've become very lazy in thinking that the government will support us at any time that we need them. If something happens we can just wait for help and it will come. Or a few angry tweets will sort any major problem with a supplier. But I think this year has started to show us that even those at the top aren't in control and a lot of our supply chain is balanced on a knife edge. Shops can be cleared in a day and water supplies can be easily contaminated, pipes burst and rain doesn't fall when it should.
Now I know I'll be preaching to the choir with this post but I wanted to show that a little preparedness doesn't cost very much and doesn't take very long to set up.
We're currently in the middle of a dry spell in the UK at the moment. It hasn't rained for weeks and I think it's worth thinking about if the water supply was disrupted. What if you went to turn your tap on in the morning and nothing came out, what would you do then?
The general prepping consensus is to have an absolute minimum of three days water easily to hand and build from there. Its recommended that you plan for 2 litres per person per day.
Now there are water sources in your house already, like the water tank in your loft if you have one, but this would require boiling before you drank it (believe me I've worked in lots of lofts and I've never seen one I'd drink straight out of!).
So this can be empty plastic bottle you've filled back up with clean drinking water, a large water container, even the bath if you were given enough notice or changed it regularly and had a way of keeping it clean (you can buy great bags that fit in the bath to fill with water in an emergency).
I tend to keep this first three day supply in 2 litre water bottles. These are cheap to buy form the cheaper supermarkets (Aldi or Lidl), costing just 17p each with a long sell by date on them. We're a family of five so I keep 15 bottles in a cool dark place. I rotate these if I need to as well. They're also really easy to pick up, put in a bag and take with me if I had to leave for whatever reason. So for the grand total of £2.55 I've equipped our family with clean drinking water to survive three days of the supply being disrupted. Glass water bottles would also be great for this.
The next step is to think about what you'd do if you had to leave this water source or had to get more clean drinking water after those three days.
Water filters like the one above are the perfect solution for this. Small and compact, they take up very little storage space and have the ability to quickly and easily filter a lot of water. The one pictured above is good for 100,000 gallons and means you can drink from nearly any water source you find.
They cost around the £20 mark which I think is good value if you were trying to find safe drinking water in the landscape around you.
There are many others on the market but this is the only one I've managed to try so far. It's certainly not the quickest thing to use and I wouldn't want to filter loads with it in one go but it is ideal to carry around with you for drinking water or for water to cook with.
A larger filter would also be a great thing to have in storage or even in everyday use. Something like a Berkely filter would be ideal, and would enable you to filter 10000's of litres really quickly and easily. They cost a lot more (£250) but I've been told they're worth their weight in gold should you need them.
|Picture from google images|
Water purification tablets are also another cheap option to be able to make safe drinking water. These can be bought for a few pounds and can treat gallons of water although they won't filter it so you may need to construct something to remove dirt and sediment depending on your source. The same can be done with bleach although you need to be very careful with your dosage.
A good kettle and multiple means of heating it is also a really good idea. Boiling water is the safest way of making sure its drinkable. Having an old kettle that can be used over an open flame or a camping stove is ideal. If you had no power as well you could still use it and a warm drink is a real moral booster when the chips are down. Make sure you boil for the time appropriate for your altitude though! I will talk about cooking and heating water for prepping in a future post.
Learn your local area.
This one is a fun and free activity. Walk your local area and learn it. Know where the water sources are. Is there a lake or a river nearby?
|Teaching my daughter about the local springs around here and using them!|
|If you had slightly more to spend you could then look at more storage methods. Jerry cans and containers can be purchased cheaply anywhere from £5 upwards depending on what you want and how big. So long as water is rotated in them and they are cleaned out periodically it is the perfect way to store safe drinking water and water for other tasks like washing and hygiene.|
The garden would also become a consideration if you're a homesteader or keep livestock of any kind. A hosepipe band would probably be the first thing to be implemented in a water shortage. For £50 I managed to install the setup pictured below.
These were olive containers brought second hand for £10 each off eBay. I've connected them up with simple fittings and connected them to the down pipe of the shed. In total they mean I can store 880 litres of water that can be used to water the garden or to give to my animals as they need it. They do have lids as well which stops evaporation during hot weather and prevents birds drowning in them. Rain water collection is a superb way to make sure you have a regular water supply coming in and once set up its free to maintain.
Any container would do in a tight situation, make sure buckets, watering cans, even pots and pans are full if you know it's going to be a long time between rain storms! Get the kids paddling pool out and fill that as well!
It's really important to think about pets and any livestock you keep when thinking about water storage as well.
|The 1000 litre Iso container (on the left-hand side) keeps this field in water for the sheep.|
The 2 litres a day rule won't keep a cow alive for very long, so plan for whatever you keep. I have a Iso container that can store up to 1000 litres and can be moved where needed with the tractor, it is currently empty though so I need to work on that! They're ideal to position by barns to collect rain water or if you have a small pump to fill from a well or with the proper licence a river. They're also fairly cheap, around the £30 to £60 mark but they can take some cleaning so make sure you know what was stored in them before you use them.
Start small though!
The thought of prepping for anything can feel over whelming when you start!
Don't think you've got to become off grid over night and move into the mountains! Start small, think about preparing for three days with no mains water and then plan accordingly. When you have three days sorted start to think about a week or three weeks and work up to a level where you feel comfortable.
I'd love to take my water storage further. Ideally I'd like an underground water container to store rain water for the garden and one day I'd love to dig a bore hole or a open water swimming pond but fiances certainly won't allow that at the moment! Maybe I'll get another iso container as a good affordable starting point.
I know there's going to be so many reading this who are already better prepared than I am. Hopefully though this might encourage someone to take the first small step in becoming a little more self reliant should disaster hit. I like to think that by being better prepared and not being a high priority to help, then someone else who might need it more will get helped sooner. Most of all don't set yourself up to be the victim.
So for £2.55 you can have the minimum water requirement for a family of 5 for three days stored up. And for a relatively small amount of money you can slowly increase your preparedness in this area.
What do you think?
How could you increase your water preparedness? How many days supply do you have to hand? Do you try to encourage others to take preparedness a bit more seriously? What have you seen in water preparedness that others might not of?
I'd love to hear from you! And I'd love to see your setups if you have any links.