A resource that’ll finally get the respect it deserves
Water is the most important survival resource of all; unfortunately, guaranteeing prolonged access to it is nearly impossible unless you live near a freshwater lake or river. Ideally, before doomsday strikes you’ve had the foresight to stock up a hefty supply in the form of a 1,000 gallon plastic tank filled with potable tap water from your home’s mainline. Plastic is important, as it’s less likely than metal to react to the water within. Based on a rate of consumption of a gallon a day per family member — that means no hour-long showers for your daughter — this supply would last a mindful family of three for a year. Store it in a cool, dark place, away from hydrocarbon fumes like gas or kerosene, which may adversely interact with the plastic over time.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), two percent of the earth’s water is fresh. Of that supply, the glaciers and ice caps of Greenland & Antarctica contain about 70% of this total supply. Nearly 50% of the world’s freshwater lakes are located in Canada alone — so there’s finally a reason to visit beyond Poutine.
If you plan on stockpiling for more than a year, your tap water should be treated with a small amount of unscented household bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite for preservation. One teaspoon of bleach will disinfect five gallons. A 1,000 gallon tank needs a full pint. Pour it in and stir for 30 minutes. When the bleach smell fades, you’re good to go. It doesn’t sound great, but this method is actually quite effective at killing bacteria and viruses — and it won’t kill you — we swear.
Beyond initial supplies, the next best logical step is to create potable water via gravity water filters. Boiling and distillation are the absolute best methods for purifying water in a pinch, but both require that the water is heated to work — and cut into fuel supplies. Gravity filters, on the other hand, require no heat or power source, have zero moving parts (so they’re less prone to breakage) and can be left to work without supervision. Big Berkey Waterfilters make great, large scale gravity filter systems for the home. Each filter is good for roughly 3,000 gallons of pure water, and many of their larger models rely on multiple filters to treat water faster. That’s a great use life, but you’ll still obviously need to stock up on plenty of filters to survive for years. The Platypus Gravityworks Filter System provides the same benefits in a portable package for jaunts away from your basecamp. Remember to stock up on filters though for this solution as well.
Solar distillers are the ultimate long-term water solution, because they even ditch the need for filters — but they’re also slow and depend on sunlight. DIY types could potentially create one on their own. A few folks also sell models.
Hat Tip: Gear Patrol
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