How to Save Water Using Water Collecting Barrels, Water Purification, and Other Useful Sources of Water

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Rain Barrel on Downspout

When I discussed water resources in my post about surviving storms, I basically said to have a few bottles of water in a bag, and nothing more.  How is this sound survival advice?  Well, We were discussing an acute scenario.  I have to assume that some people that read this blog have never considered disaster survival and will be starting from zero.  I have also told everyone that it is better to start with smaller steps to overcome the most likely and most localized scenario.  Well a storm that takes power out for a few hours is much more likely that one that will keep it out for a week.  And that is more likely than your house being destroyed.  So we start small and build up.

We need to have a better supply of water if the time factor of any situation gets longer.  Having a couple bottles or gallon jugs of water may be a start, but realistically will not last anyone very long. We need to consider a better method of storing water long term.  There are ways to work up from an intro level system to larger systems.  I will probably not give the detailed ins and outs of storing water, because I don’t have weeks to spend on it, and the more ADD readers, like me, would get bored from that many posts on the subject.  I will give some ideas and explanations of them, and then I will move on.

Cheapest and easiest way to store water would be to fill up 2-liter soda bottles with tap or well water.  Keep some of these about 4/5 of the way full and place in freezer or deep freezer.  If the power goes out, you have a large frozen mass to keep the freezer contents from thawing so quickly.  It will make everything last a lot longer.  They also work really well if needed in a cooler.  When they thaw, now you still have the water to drink.  As you get the bottles, from drinking soda or from other people, you can feel them up with tap water, and stack them.  Make sure you stack with the intent of rotating the water.  Why soda bottles?  The plastic is made to withstand an acidic high pressure fluid inside.  It is much stronger and more durable than, let’s say, gallon jugs.  They stack really well also.  You can use end stops to hold it all up, or you can use some of the bottle stacking crates from grocery stores.

Once we have a plan to work on the drinking bottles, we can move to another efficient method of harvesting water, Rain Barrels.  For 50 bucks at Lowes, you can purchase a 40 or 50 gallon rain catch.  You place these under your downspout and connect a garden hose near the bottom of the catch.  Remember screening material or equivalent to keep mosquitos out of it.  If you plan on drinking this water, you will need a water filtration system for the chemicals that are used on roofs.  It would also be beneficial to install a first catch diverter system.  This water is great for gardening because all of the nitrogen in the rainwater.  It doesn’t take much to fill these things up, so supplying them with your house, a tool shed, or even the runoff from a greenhouse are great sources to fill the barrel.  A little elevation will give a lot of water pressure.  This is key, unless you want to rely on electricity to run a pump.

Another use for almost anything that you can use for rain catching can also be used for a pressurized cistern.  You run your waterline to this container and fill it up.  As you use water, it comes from the container, and that is replenished from the city.  But if you have a 250 gallon tote on city water, and then the water goes down, you end up with 250 gallons of backup water.

Almost nothing compares to having a good well that will not dry up.  Be sure that you have a hand pump for the well, just in case it is needed when the power goes out.  They go deep into the ground and deliver fresh, clean water that requires no treatment.

You can retain tons of soil water if you use full yard mulching.  This needs to be a large scale mulching with a thick layer.

Building a pond or using the permaculture method of swales to create water stores on the land are efficient ways to keep water, and helps the ground retain a lot of water for the plants.

Don’t discount your natural sources for water.  If you have the ability to use them, rivers, lakes, streams, and underground springs are all excellent sources for your water.  They are typically clean water with very little bacteria in it.

If you end up with a really bad water source, but that is all you have to drink from, then get some water purification tablets.  They will kill most bad things in the water to keep us from harm.

I know I don’t have EVERY possible source of water, nor how to store it, on this post, but It’s good to come up with ideas and then learn how to follow through on your plans.  Use this post as a jumping of point to getting a more extensive water storage plan.

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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