by Elizabeth Renter
February 5th, 2013 | Updated 02/05/2013 at 2:20 am
In recent years, many of us have heard about the many signs and signals that point to a global water crisis inching near. The world doesn’t have to be ending for the water supply to become unusable and undrinkable – just ask the victims of any major natural disaster. Whether it’s a super storm, a local outage due to a broken line, or the zombie apocalypse, you need to know how to access clean water for your own survival and wellbeing. Fortunately, you have several options for emergency water in the case of a personal, national, or global crisis.
Emergency Water: Recognize and Prepare
It seems like the go-to protocol in emergency preparation is in having gallons of store-bought water stowed away in case something should happen. But, this isn’t without its own dangers. Not only can water in plastic jugs take up a lot of space, we just don’t know how the BPA in the plastic could be breaking down as it sits on your cellar shelf waiting for the day you need it. What’s more, bottled water is nothing more than filtered or tap water, but is priced 2,000x higher than tap water. Stocking up on bottled water or storing your tap water in plastic simply isn’t the safest option.
And in case you didn’t know, this is what your tap water looks like. Tap water is riddled with heavy metals like lead, toxic fluoride, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, birth control, and much more. While it’s understandable to turn to tap water or bottled water int he case of a dire emergency, it should be known that these just aren’t the safest options available.
Here are a few safer options for emergency water.
1. Water Filtration Systems
Mechanical methods like filtration systems is a good option. These range from the expensive and highly effective household reverse osmosis carbon filter systems to the simple and far less pricey personal hand-held devices. You can have them installed in the kitchen for use in cooking only or get them installed for the entire home at a bigger price point. It may be wise to invest in a system that doesn’t require electricity, such as a Berkey system. These devices are portable and gravity fed.
Water purification straws, made for campers and survivalists, are relatively cheap (under $30) and can be great in a pinch. These are great for in your car too.
2. Boil Your Water
One of the simplest options of all—boil the water. Boiling water can remove most biological contaminants. Be sure you bring it to a rolling boil and let it go for at least five minutes in order to purify it completely. Because this method removes the oxygen from the water, it may taste a little flat. Simply shake it up to reintroduce some oxygen after boiling. Boil for around 5 minutes to remove most pathogenic bacteria and parasites.
3. Find a Natural Spring
If you can find spring water stored in glass containers, this is a better option, though it may be more expensive and less convenient. However, if you can’t find true spring water, checkout the website Find A Spring to see if a pure spring is nearby.
4. Store, Store, Store
When you do choose a safe way to obtain your water, don’t forget to stock up on glass containers and store, store, store. Store the water in as many glass containers you have so that you are prepared with clean, safe water for weeks to come.
Finally, you can also resort to chemical means to purify your water. Water purification tablets can be found online and in some outdoor supply stores. There are iodine tablets (which will make your water taste a little funny) and halazone, chlorine, or potassium permanganate tabs. You can even add bleach. The CDC suggests adding one-eighth of a teaspoon of unscented bleach to one gallon of water; wait a half hour, and then drink. If the water is cloudy when you start, add one-fourth of a teaspoon. Chlorine bleach isn’t a healthy drink option, however, so this choice makes a good “last resort”.
As humans, we need water before we need food. And because we can’t depend on the system to always supply us with clean, usable water, it’s important to have other options ready should the system fail.