Water Supplies and Preparedness
Hey Prepper Nation
Parts of the country are In the middle of a pretty bad drought, so I think we should talk for a minute about water. You can live without food for 3 weeks or so, but you can’t live without water for much more than 3 days. That puts it just behind air on the priority list. Yet water is one of the things we take most for granted. Only about 1% of the world’s fresh water is easily accessible to humans. The U.S. population has doubled in the last 50 years, and our water usage has quadrupled in that time.
It’s time to figure out how to waste less and save more H2O. The first way to decrease water mismanagement is something I’ve been telling you to do for a while now. It’s pretty simple and, at the same time, pretty hard. That’s to get rid of your lawn or decrease the amount of your yard that is just grass. How would this be helpful in a collapse? Well, before the zombies start roaming the streets, take some of that real estate that has grass and plant some food or medicinal plants. What does it have to do with wasting water? A third of your water usage goes to sprinkling the lawn. That water could be going to growing some veggies or medicinal herbs, or even to some livestock. I know you won’t be watering the lawn much when the you-know-what hits the fan, so let some of the water you’re using for that purpose today, instead, go to helping feed you tomorrow!
The next thing is to work on collecting more water. Now, Nurse Amy and I are lucky enough to live on the edge of a small lake in an area that usually gets a good 50 inches of rain a year, but those of us not so well-located or in dryer climates really need a strategy to accumulate as much water as possible. If you don’t have a plan on how to collect rainwater, your chances of survival go way down if you’re more than, say, 20 minutes away from a lake or a year-round stream or canal. Even 20 minutes might be a lot. Walking at 3 miles an hour, that means water is a mile away. Have you ever carried a 5 gallon bucket of water? I have, and I don’t relish the idea of toting it a mile every day. Yet, no family could probably do with less than that every day, and probably needs a lot more.
We’re also fortunate to have a pool on our property that we can drain to store rain water. This is good if you’re not the only one in your neighborhood to have one. If you are, you’ll probably be a little more popular than you’d like if a collapse ever occurs, especially if you’re in a dry climate like Arizona.
Ok, so you don’t have a lake in your backyard and you don’t have a pool, what’s your next option….
Rain Barrels and Water Collection
I’m talking about rain barrels. I read an article about someone in a magazine that had 8 rain barrels set up to her gutters, and she claimed to harvest over 400 gallons of water every time it rained at least half an inch. That’s a lot of water….An especially good thing about water in a rain barrel is that it has no significant additives, like fluoride. Of course, this is assuming that you don’t spray chemicals that kill moss or other toxic junk on your roof.
When I talk about rain barrels, I’m not just talking about a bucket at the end of your gutter. Sure, it’s gotta be watertight, but it can’t be just any old garbage bin, especially if it’s made of plastic. Be sure to use food grade plastic like high density polyethylene; most of those 5 gallon food buckets are made of this stuff. Besides the actual container, you’ll need an opening on top for the downspout of the gutter to feed into. You’ll need at least some screening for the top to keep out debris and mosquitos. An overflow spout is useful to divert overflow from the foundation of your retreat, and one really helpful feature would be to put a tap in it down low. That way it’ll be easier to drain into your watering cans or whatever.
Your rain barrel does take some maintenance. You might get some algae if the water sits a while. This is not harmful to your plants but it could make your water smelly. There are eco-friendly algaecides like GreenClean that don’t harm fish or plants, although I’m not sure if they can be used on your drinking water. Of course, you should empty and clean your rain barrels periodically. A safe cleaning solution is 2 teaspoons of castile soap and 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a gallon of water. I know someone that just uses very dilute bleach.
Water is basic. Clean water keeps you alive and it keeps you healthy. if you don’t have it, you’re in trouble, so put together that plan of action to collect as much as you can!