Many of the first natural disasters you’re going to want to prepare for as you learn how to start prepping involve a water shortage, a contamination of your water supply, or a complete outage, so learning how to prepare for a water shortage should be high on your to-do list!
Water Storage is a Must
If you haven’t already, you really need to look into how to store water long-term. Having a week (or more) of water storage sitting there ready to use can make a huge difference when you wake up to learn that no water will be running through the pipes of your house for a week.
Having stored water is the first defense you should prepare for a water shortage.
To really prepare for a long-term water shortage, you need to have a resupply plan. Otherwise, once your existing water storage is gone, you’re in a real emergency situation.
Have a Resupply Plan
If no water is coming out of your tap – even fouled water – you may have to do some walking to bring water home. This is another situation where I really like the Water Brick. Because of their slim profile and comfortable handles, they are much easier to carry over long distances than 5-gallon buckets or 7-gallon water jugs.
If you find yourself needing to carry several water storage containers, consider using a water carrying yoke. Just make sure you balance your load to avoid wearing your back out any more than is necessary.
Of course, if you’re thinking ahead, you could put a rainwater collection system into place. Even if you never connect it to a large cistern – which would be ideal – you can drain your reservoirs into other containers which can then be brought inside for use.
Finding Water in Rural Areas
Most folks living in rural areas likely have a pond or know where several ponds are around them. When you come to a new area, take special note of the ponds you see. You might even drive around the area to be as informed as possible.
You might even make getting to know the people who own the land those ponds are on a priority. After all, if there is a severe water shortage, you want to know which ponds you’re least likely to get shot at when trying to obtain water.
Depending on the size and condition of your acreage, you may be able to build a pond on it. Stock it with fish or buy some ducks or geese, if you need a reason to build one.
If you have moving water nearby in creeks or rivers, you may be able to pipe it right to your location, as long as the place you want it to go to is lower in elevation than the source. You certainly can carry the water if needed though.
Finding Water in Urban Areas
Living in a town or city, you may still have large ponds of water around – concrete ponds. Both city pools or pools located at private gyms could be sources for water, if they’re currently in operation.
Yes, water from a pool is typically fine to drink. While you’ll be able to taste the chlorine, the levels tend to be lower than are hazardous to your health. If you’re concerned, you could just pour the water back and forth between containers for a bit. Chlorine likes to evaporate, so you can reduce the levels pretty easily.
Golf courses can be another source, if you have one nearby, and could be a good reason to go play a round of golf. Just tell your spouse you’re performing important research that could be vital to their survival in a severe water shortage.
Let us know how that works out for you!
Heck, even a coiled water hose might even provider a bit of water. The coils can easily trap water and prevent it from flowing out the end of the hose. It’s a one-off, but if you’re really strapped for water it’s better than nothing.
Inside Your Water Heater
Your house will have a lot of water stored in the pipes, but that water will be difficult to get out. A much easier plan is to hook a hose to your water heater and drain it into containers that are easier to manage.
Unless your water source is contaminated, this water should be considered potable. You can drink it without any processing.
Rain Water Harvesting
Depending on the season and the amount of storage your rain water harvesting system has in place, this can be an excellent method of resupply during warmer months. It’s not recommended during freezing temperatures though, since you might damage your system as the ice expands.
Water Filtration or Purification is a Must
According to the CDC, even rain water needs to be processed prior to using it for drinking. While there are things in their plan I disagree with, this is not one of them. See, the thing is that, if you trust and drink (or otherwise ingest) water from a questionable source, you can turn the inconvenience of a water shortage into a very real survival situation.
It just depends on what’s in the water, and there’s no way to know that without a microscope. In fact, some of the things that are the most dangerous can’t even be picked-up with a typical microscope.
Always, always, always filter or otherwise purify your resupply of water!
Use Personal Water Filters in the Field
If you’re going very far for resupply, you might need to hydrate along the way – especially in the summer months. At times like this, a personal water filter, such as the LifeStraw, can be a great asset. Another great option here is the LifeStraw Go, which not only lets you get a drink when you’re at a water source, but also allows you to take some with you.
If you’re concerned about the fact that the LifeStraw (and LifeStraw Go) only filters to .2 microns, you could opt for a Sawyer water bottle and get down to .1 microns. They’re a bit more expensive, but that .1 micron difference can make a huge difference if the water you’re drinking happens to have baddies in it that are larger than .1 micron and smaller than .2 micron.
You could go for larger options, but since you’re going to be lugging empty water containers to your water source and filled water containers back to the house, you probably want something small and light for the trip there and back.
A Hiking Water Filter Can Help a Lot
If your plan is to filter the water before it goes into your containers, a hiking water filter or camping water filter might be your best bet. In this case, you would take your water storage containers with you, and then filter it before storing it in your containers.
There are some great water filter choices for this strategy. The LifeStraw Family and LifeStraw Mission are great choices here, as is the Katadyn Gravity Camp, which is similar to the LifeStraw Mission.
Other options would be a bladder type water filter from Sawyer, or a home-built system that uses an inline filter from Katady, Sawyer, or other manufacturers. A system built out of these could, for example, be built from a 5-gallon bucket and filter into the water storage container of your choice.
Whatever your choice here, get it setup before you need it and understand how it works.
The Best Water Filter for the Home
Ask anyone, and they will agree that when it comes to the hands-down, dollar per gallon champion in water filters, there is no competition with the Big Berkey water filter. The Big Berkey also excels in the things it filters, making it the single best water filter you could buy for your home.
Load the top with water straight from any source, let it filter down, and drain it into your main water storage containers. Another option here, since the Big Berkey holds so much and filters so quickly, would be to keep unfiltered water in storage and then filter it as you need it.
Just make sure you’ve got enough filtered before you go to bed so that you can bathe when you get up!
Final Thoughts on How to Prepare for a Water Shortage
As you can see, a lot goes into preparing for a water shortage, contamination, or outage. While storage can take you so far, failing to have a resupply plan may just extend the inevitable.
Filtering water isn’t difficult though. The main thing is the leg work involved. Water is such an essential part of human survival though that you need to do what you need to do.
What Are Your Thoughts?
I sure hope you’ve found this article helpful. Please remember to comment to help me understand what you liked and what you didn’t.
Also, if you did find this article helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you would choose one of the social buttons at the top or bottom of the page to like, share or tweet this post to your own network.