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  • Store, Filter, Purify: 3 Ways to Have Safe Drinking Water

    Safe drinking water...not quiteIf you’re out in the wild and see a clear stream or river, you might think you've found safe drinking water. After all, you can see to the bottom and there aren’t any weird-looking floaties. Before you take even a sip from that water source, you may want to treat it.

    Actually, let me rephrase that. You will want to treat it.

    Drinking water that hasn’t been filtered or purified can have disastrous results. Diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting are just a few of the negative side effects of drinking untreated water, not to mention diseases such as cholera that can crop up from it.

    So yeah, you’ll want to treat the water.

    When it comes to securing clean, safe drinking water for you and your family, knowing the differences between filtering and purifying, as well as how and where to store said water, can help you make an educated decision as to which type of tool you will need. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.

     

    Filters

    Safe Drinking water with Katadyn Get safe drinking water with Katadyn's Hiker Pro water filter

    Water filters are like colanders. After you’ve finished boiling your pasta or pot stickers (or whatever it is you fancy for dinner), you dump it all into your colander. The water drains through the little holes in the strainer, while your food is unable to fit through, so it just stays behind. Water filters are the same way. They physically obstruct impurities in the water by not allowing them to pass through the filter. Filters are effective in eliminating bacteria, protozoa, and cysts, all of which can cause diseases. They may not, however filter out smaller floaties such as viruses.

    One of the nice things about filters is that many are small and portable, so you can take them with you camping or hiking, or even to just keep in your emergency kit. Filters like the Katadyn Hiker Pro and the Katadyn Combi are favorites of many hikers, campers, and preppers alike.

     

    Purifiers

    While filters get rid of many harmful substances, purifiers make water safe from the remaining impurities such as bacteria and viruses. Usually this is done by using chlorine or iodine. Purifiers will not, however, take out sediment and other larger, harmful things, such as heavy metals. These purification tablets are a popular choice among hikers, campers, preppers, and travelers, as they are small, easy to carry, and can be used to treat water wherever you are, especially during an emergency. Purification can be used after filtering your water for extra security in your water's safety.

     

    Storing Water

    Another option to ensure you have safe drinking water is to have a long-term water storage. Of course, that water needs to be clean when it was packaged. There are a few options to go about storing water.

    The first is to get pre-packaged water. You know it’s clean and it will last quite some time. It’s also easy to grab on your way out the door in the event of an emergency.

    Another option is the do-it-yourself method. This is the favored way of many people. If you decided on the do-it-yourself method, make sure you use good, food-grade plastic, such as pop bottles. Don’t use containers that once housed milk or juice, as the proteins and sugars can spoil your water.

    Safe drinking water in 320 gallons The 320-gallon water reserve will keep you well-watered.

    Purchasing water containers is a good option, because the quality will be good, and many (if not most) are blue in color, which helps prevent the sun from penetrating your water and helping little organisms grow. As some examples of these kinds of water containers, we carry 5-gallon jugs, 15-gallon, 30-gallon, and 55-gallon water barrels, and even a 160-gallon water reserve (the 160-gallon water reserves stack, by the way, to allow you to have a 320-gallon ultimate water reserve. That’ll keep you going for a while!). While you may not have room for a 320-gallon behemoth, the smaller barrels and containers are great options to keep in your basement, garage, or wherever it is you store water. Just remember: keep them out of direct sunlight, and the cooler the storage temperature, the better!

    When storing water that came from your faucet, it should be swapped out every six months. However, in order to make sure the tap water you’ve stored for a year or more is still safe to drink, Zane Satterfield (engineer scientist at West Virginia University), suggests adding four drops of plain, unscented bleach (per gallon of water) to your water container, let sit for 30 minutes, and you’ll be good to go.

     

    Standing & Stagnant Water vs. Running Water

    Safe drinking water - not this Standing water is a breeding ground for microorganisms.

    If you find yourself hunting for water in the wild, running water is practically always a better option than standing or stagnant water. That’s because water that isn’t moving becomes a breeding ground for harmful microbes that can make us incredibly sick – or worse. Running water, such as in rivers and streams, make it more difficult for such dangerous life to settle down and thrive. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make running water safe to drink, either. There are still harmful microbes floating around in rivers and creeks and streams that you’ll want to filter out.

     

    As you can see, there are plenty of options for securing safe, clean drinking water. Choose the option that’s best for you, but don’t forget to have a backup plan, just in case. After all, if you have a 55-gallon water barrel and are forced to evacuate, you’ll be happy you have your handy-dandy Katadyn Hiker water filter (or other water filter that suits you better). On the other hand, your favorite water filter won’t be much good in case of a drought, but your 320-gallon water reserve will most certainly come in handy. And of course, a combination of resources is always a great option.

     

    How do you acquire clean, safe drinking water? Let us know in the comments below!

    Posted In: Water Storage Tagged With: stagnant water, safe drinking water, Katadyn, purify, filter, water filter, water storage, storage

  • How Much Water Should You Store?

    When things get crazy out in that wide world in which we live – say, an earthquake or a tornado (or both!) come through town – bad things could happen that will disrupt the way you live. The grid could go down, and several water mains could break. It’s not just natural disasters, either. Your local water supply could become contaminated from e.Coli or from a diesel spill, which means you could be without water for at least 48 hours – or longer – until they get the water clean again.

    So now there you are, at home, without the running water you’ve come to rely on. Years ago, you wondered if this sort of thing could happen. You were reluctant at first, but eventually you began storing water, just in case something like this happened.

    But did you store enough?

    How Much Water for Kids?The general rule of thumb is to store one gallon of water per person per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also suggest that, in an emergency situation, you should drink two quarts (half a gallon) of water a day – more if you’re in a hot climate, sick, pregnant, or a child. The other half gallon can then be used for hygiene (thanks in advance).

    Of course, you should remember to store extra water for your pets (after all, they’re part of the family, too). An additional gallon of water should be stored per day for each cat and dog. Now you know how much water per person (or animal) per day you need. Now the question is, how many days’ worth of water should you have?

    As a minimum, you should have three-day’s worth of water. That means, if you have a family of four, you’ll want at least 12 gallons of water stored up. That should keep you going during minor emergencies where you just have to wait a couple days for the city to fix whatever problem it’s encountered.

    Perhaps a safer minimum would be to have enough water to last for at least two weeks. This would enable you to survive much longer should a much more devastating disaster come through. And, going back to your family of four, this would mean you would need at least 56 gallons of water.

    This is where you’re beginning to ask, “Where on earth am I supposed to store all this water?” Wonderful question. Allow me to go ahead and answer that.

    How Much Water?There are plenty of ways to store water. If you don’t have much storage space, you can begin by getting a case or two of water from the store. Those are easy to keep under your bed and therefore won’t take up any extra space. We also carry cases of boxed water as well as cases of emergency canned water. Empty pop bottles can be filled up to store water in, too, but be sure to thoroughly wash them first. This is also a good option if you’re on a tight budget.

    If you have a tad more room, you can add to your cases of water with some 5-gallon water jugs. Those fit nicely in many storage areas and are made of good, clean, water-safe material. In fact, it would be wise to have a couple of those around anyway, as they would make a great grab-and-go option should you have to bug out.

    If you need to store a lot of water - and have the space to do so - then consider investing in a water barrel or two (or three, or four…). They can be small, such as the 15-gallon water barrel, or larger like the 55-gallon barrels. Of course, you could always have more water, and if you do have the room, then by all means, go big or go home! This 320-gallon water reserve should keep you going for quite some time. Remember, water is the most important resource you can have, so the more the merrier! If you do want a ton of water but are out of room, you can always commandeer your bathtub. With the AquaPod, you can store 65 gallons in a clean container that fills up your tub. Of course, bathing might be a wee bit difficult with that in there, but in an emergency, I’d rather have drinking water. Fortunately, it can store nicely under a bed or in a closet, so if you know a hurricane or other disaster is coming, bust that thing out and get filling!

    How Much Water?One more thing. If you’re filling your own water containers, you’ll want to make sure your water is clean before it sits on a shelf for months on end. If it’s coming straight from your faucet and is treated by your city, then you should be fine. If you’re getting your water from a well or other source, consider treating it with bleach before consuming.

    To treat with bleach, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water, and let it sit for 30 minutes before using. If you don’t notice a slight chlorine odor to the water, add two more drops and let the water stand another 15 minutes (these steps can be found at ready.gov). Or, if you prefer a pre-prepared method, get yourself some water treatment solution to drop in your water storage.

    If your water hasn’t been commercially treated, you should rotate it every six months.

    So there you have it. Now you know how much water you need, and have some different options for storing it long-term. Water is so very important during disasters and survival scenarios, so don’t forget to get your emergency water storage in place.

     

    How have you gone about establishing your emergency water storage? Let us know in the comments below!

    Posted In: Water Storage Tagged With: gallon, water barrel, water storage, water

  • What Does Star Wars Teach Us About Drought?

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    With less than 1% of surface water and an average humidity level of 5.4%, Tatooine was a very hostile place to live...

    Star Wars Tatooine Tatooine

    Compared to Tatooine (the desert planet made famous in Star Wars), California ain’t half bad. With an average humidity level of 53% during the day and 4.8% of water covering the entire state, California would feel stiflingly humid for the locals of Tatooine. And that 4.8% area of water is just for the state of California, compared to less than 1% of the entire planet of Tatooine. Yes, compared to Tatooine, California is quite the wetland.

    But if California is fearing a water shortage, how does a place like Tatooine – with even less water – survive? Water was obviously hard to come by on that Outer Rim planet, but with great drought came great innovation.

    Moisture farms made it possible for life on Tatooine. On these farms, moisture farmers would harvest water from the atmosphere. In order to do this, moisture vaporators were used. Moisture vaporators are essentially tall, refrigerated pipes, and when hot, moist air came in contact with these pipes, the humidity would condense onto the pipes, turning into water, and would be collected into underground water storage containers for future use.

    Basically, this is their version of a rain barrel.

    Vaporator (ABC) ABC

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like that? Believe it or not, this type of moisture vaporator actually does exist, and it’s even in our galaxy, rather than one far, far away. Invented by Terry LeBleu from Texas, his machine pulls in water from the air and turns it into pure drinking water. People need about one gallon of water per day to live comfortably. This includes water from drinking as well as sanitation. Properly maintained, one moisture vaporator on Tatooine can sustain up to three people. LeBleu’s version does even better:

     

    “Depending on humidity, the machine can make between five to seven gallons of pure water in one day. All you have to do is plug it in, and one gallon costs only 4 cents in electrical charges.”

     

    This right here proves that Star Wars is real (but let’s be honest, we really didn’t need proof since we all know it’s real anyway).

    But what about California? They don’t have moisture farms (although maybe they should start looking into those), but there are some things people there can do during a drought to help preserve water. The following are a few steps to take to prepare for a drought and help preserve water during one (this goes for all areas, not just California).

     

    1. Store Water

    Just like moisture farmers, we should have ways of storing our own water. Water reserves, water barrels, jugs, cans, and pouches…there are many ways to store water, each with its own benefit. Water reserves and barrels are large and hold a lot of water, but they take up more room. Jugs, cans, and pouches are smaller, so they can fit better in smaller areas, but they hold less water. The point is to have some sort of water storage, so if water does run out for a bit, you’ll have some on hand until help can arrive.

     

    1. Stop Leaks

    You may not think a leaky faucet is a big deal, but did you know that if your faucet is dripping one drop per second, you’ll be wasting 2,700 gallons every year? The people (and aliens) of Mos Eisley do not approve of such waste. Stop those leaks!

     

    1. Don’t Water Your Lawn So Much

    You don’t necessarily have to spray paint your lawn green to keep it looking nice (although it is a tactic some Californians are reverting to), but do try to cut back on how much water you use to green up your grass. Your lawn only needs to be watered once every 5 days in the summertime, so maybe it’s time to put the sprinkler away those days in between. And, in the winter, your lawn only needs a watering every 10 to 14 days. A bonus is if you get a good rain, your grass is good for up to two weeks! Don’t overdo it. You don’t see Jabba the Hutt using water excessively, and he only cares for himself!

     

    1. Recycle

    Don’t waste water if you can find another use for it. Excess shower water, for example, can be used to water your plants. Find ways to capture excess water and use it for other things you’d normally use water for.

     

     

    Star Wars may take place in a galaxy far, far away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their drought-ridden planets. Tatooine is in a constant state of drought, and always has been. California is now in their 4th year of drought, but if it keeps up the way it is, Tatooine may have a new rival when it comes to arid wastelands. But before California turns into a genuine dust bowl, there are some steps to take to reduce water usage and prepare for even harsher conditions. During times of drought, water is the most valuable resource you have. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

     

    For more information on drought, including articles and essential gear and products, visit beprepared.com/drought-preparedness.

     

    Drought Preparedness

     

    Additional Reading:

    When the Well Runs Dry: http://beprepared.com/blog/17715/well-runs-dry/

    Don't Doubt the Drought: http://beprepared.com/blog/17819/dont-doubt-drought/

    Posted In: Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: moisture vaporator, Tatooine, Star Wars, California, drought, water storage

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