While the United States and nearby countries are in the midst of hurricane season, some parts of the world are experiencing water scarcity. The global water crisis is not talked about as much as it should. This is quite disturbing considering humans cannot survive without water.
The world’s water supply is in peril and we only have ourselves to blame. India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are all experiencing water shortage. Here in the United States, Newark, New Jersey and Flint, Michigan are facing water crises of their own due to mismanagement on the part of government officials.
The current water situations in these US cities are testaments to the need to prepare in order to survive water scarcity whether caused by contamination or drought. Below are some ways you can deal with water shortages.
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Emergency Items to Survive Water Scarcity
Humans can only last for up to three days without water. If you’re in an emergency situation and you don’t have access to clean water, you’re more likely to make it out live if you know some survival skills and have some survival gear.
According to Ready To Go Survival, personal water filters are the “easiest way” to survive water scarcity. These amazing pieces of portable survival gear allow you to drink water directly from, say, a lake or a puddle. If you prefer not to crouch by the riverbank, you can scoop up some of the dirty water in a container and drink from it with your LifeStraw.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filters, for example, can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water. That’s 4,000 liters of drinking water that’s just about what one person needs for a whole year. It can kill 99.99% of bacteria and parasites while also reducing turbidity.
The LifeStraw, made of durable ABS plastic, measures 22 cm long and 3 cm in diameter plus it weighs only 2 ounces. It’s so compact and lightweight that you can bring it anywhere you go. In fact, you should have one in your emergency kits, bug out bags, or even among your everyday carry, especially if you’re dealing with water shortage.
(Related: Top Portable Water Filters Every Prepper Should Have)
Katadyn Vario Water Microfilter
Unlike the LifeStraw, the Katadyn Vario Water Microfilter lets you and your family or friends drink dirty water without sucking from the same thing.
The Katadyn Vario uses three different filters to make sure you get pure drinking water every time. The ceramic pre-filter removes sediments and debris while the charcoal filter makes the water smell and taste better. The glass filter gets rid of dangerous chemicals and pathogens.
The Vario is pretty portable and easy to use. It comes with a camel-back hose adaptor and an adaptable screw on top, which lets you filter water into a container without spilling your precious resource. You can collect up to two liters in just one minute of pumping and filtering.
Water Purification Tablets
Water purification tablets are another popular way to survive water scarcity. These iodine tablets converts dirty water into safe drinking water by killing bacteria, viruses, and other harmful organisms. They are, however, incapable of killing cryptosporidium, a certain kind of parasite.
Each bottle of Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets has enough to last for two weeks. You only need a couple of tablets for every quart of dirty water you collect. It’s pretty small and light, which should make it easier to stock them up in your home.
Bottled water is perhaps the most readily available source of drinking water. You can find one in almost every store. Buy them by the bulk and store them in your pantry.
Another good thing about store-brought bottled water is it’s pretty portable. Pack three days’ worth in every bug out bag you have. This will help you survive water scarcity if you have to evacuate your home until you find a safer place, ideally, one with a good source of water.
Since we’re talking about how to survive water scarcity, every source of water is vital no matter what form they come. As mentioned, you can stock up on bottled water. However, the safer choice is to hoard emergency drinking water pouches.
The water first undergoes Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization (UHT) and then packed in sterile pouches with hermetic seals. The emergency water is prepared in such a way that it is safe to use on wounds.
The US Coast Guard -approved emergency water pouches last for more than five years. They can be frozen and safely stored in any condition. The pouches will not release any deadly chemicals to the water.
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Water Options At Home
Water crisis or not, you should have water stored in your home. Aside from hoarding bottled water and water pouches, you should also have some way to store a large volume of water.
Perhaps the best way to make sure you have running water even during a water shortage is to own a water tank. The larger the tank the more water you can store. You can also save on your water bill when you have a water tank at home.
The Norwesco 45223 35 Gallon Horizontal Water Tank is made of polyethylene, which is free of BPA. However, you need to install it somewhere away from direct heat to keep antimony from leaching into the water. The materials used for these tanks have passed FDA and NSF specifications. To be sure, have your supplier apply treatment methods particularly reverse osmosis.
Norwesco storage tanks come in different sizes with the largest capable of storing 15,000 gallons of water. If you have the means, get the biggest water tank you can afford so you don’t have to worry that much during water shortages.
For clean drinking water, you need the right kind of containers. Use food grade or BPA-free containers so you don’t have to worry about hazardous chemicals leaching in to your water over time. Skilled Survival pointed out that the safe kinds of plastic containers are labelled 1, 2, 4, and 7. Take a look at the bottom to see if the container is safe for food and water storage.
Personal water bottles, hydration packs, and the collapsible kinds such as Coghlan’s 5 Gallon Collapsible Water Container are limited in terms of storage space but pretty useful when you’re on the go. These are perfect for campouts, picnics, and even for emergencies.
It’s also a good idea to have rain barrels you can fill up with rainwater or water from tap. The RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel comes with a brass spigot for easy access to your stored water. An aluminum screen, meanwhile, keeps insect and debris out. These barrels and other similar containers take up too much space so you probably can’t have as many as you’d want to.
Before disaster strikes, you should store as much water as you can. Once a hurricane passes, for example, the water grid could be affected and probably rendered useless. If this happens, you’ll be glad you stored all those water in whatever container you can find.
You’re even more fortunate if you have a bath tub. If a natural disaster or even an apocalyptic event is looming, fill your bathtub with water. As Art of Manliness pointed out, your bathtub is likely not that safe to drink and is pretty much exposed. You can at least use this water for hygienic purposes.
There is a way you can take advantage of your bath tub for drinking water purposes, though. Invest on a WaterBOB. This BPA-free emergency water storage container can keep up to 100 gallons of water. You can place it in your bath tub and fill it with clean water during emergencies. The water can last for around 16 weeks.
Wells were the thing back in the day. Nowadays, you’ll mostly find them in farms and homesteads. If you have a portion of land, a well would be a great idea to help you survive water scarcity. Check out this article from Survival Sullivan to know how to dig a well.
Rainwater Collection Systems
In case it rains during a drought, don’t just go out and dance with your mouths open. Take advantage of the situation and collect as much rainwater as you can. You don’t know when the next downpour will be so there’s the possibility that the water shortage will continue.
It’s not enough to take out all the basins and other wide-mouthed containers you have and hope they would collect enough rainwater. While this will work up to a certain extent, it is far better if you have some way of harvesting rainwater more efficiently.
The good thing is that you already have something that makes collecting rainwater a lot easier – the gutters on your roof. Take a look at this DIY rainwater collection system from Homesteading.com. It uses the downspout from the gutters on your roof. You’ll need a large drum, a 5-gallon bucket, downspout fittings, gutter strainer, a spigot with turn ball valve, the right power tools, and other materials.
Instead of plastic drums, Mother Earth News suggests using rain barrels made of wood or metal. You can also recycle opaque food-grade plastic barrels. The barrels need to be opaque to prevent growth of bacteria and algae. They should also be tightly covered to keep mosquitoes away.
Another method of collecting rainwater is the use of catchment structures. If you don’t get up on your roof and clean the gutters regularly, you’re rainwater collection system will be dealing with a lot of debris.
Your best option is to build a catchment structure that’s low enough for you to check regularly. Basically, it’s just a small shed with your tank or drum under a sloped roof with gutter. Downspouts and tubing are then used to guide the rainwater from the gutter into the tank. Check out the catchment structure from The Prepping Guide so you get a better idea what it is exactly.
The best thing about rainwater is it’s free. As long as it rains, you’ll have one source of water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering your crops. And if you prepare well enough, you’ll have a better chance of surviving droughts or water shortages.
Water Scarcity Prevention
Dought or water scarcity is not something you deal with when it’s there. Everyone should prepare for this possibility even if there’s an abundance of water wherever you are. This is not just about stocking up on water, digging up wells, or building water collecting structures.
Preparing for a water crisis should be more about preventing it. Start at home. Every member of the household, even the children, should know the importance of conserving water. You should also teach them how they can help in preventing a water crisis.
First and foremost, avoid wasting water. Make sure there are no leaking faucets or pipes. Don’t let faucet water run when you’re washing your face or brushing your teeth. Double-dip dishes instead of washing them over running water.
Shorten your showers. Better yet, use buckets of water instead of the shower. Collect rainwater and use it to clean your car and water the lawn. There are plenty of ways you can save water. Here are more than 45 ways you can help prevent water scarcity courtesy of EarthEasy.
The negative effects of what’s happening to the Amazon rainforest right now will be felt for years to come. The world’s largest rainforest is responsible for 3,700 cubic miles of rainwater each year, according to the National Geographic. The recent wildfire in the Amazon rainforest, along with those in Siberia, Alaska, Canary Islands, and Greenland will definitely have a negative impact on our water resources not to mention our air.
As a matter fact, any kind of wildfire affects our water negatively. The ash and fire debris build-up along with soil erosion will affect the quality of water, particularly the taste, color and smell. Plus, the level of soil and water chemicals may increase.
Not everyone can go to Brazil or it neighboring countries and help stop the wildfire. What we can do is to make sure there are enough trees to help our water ecosystem.
Aside from planting trees, mulching is also an effective method in preventing water loss. Mulch covers the soil to keep moisture trapped in the soil. This lessens the need for the soil to be watered thus letting you conserve water.
There are lots of reasons why you would experience water shortage. We’ve already mentioned the possibilities of the water system shutting down during emergencies. There’s also water contamination due to human error. Wildfires can also affect the world’s water sources. Drought and heat waves are also common occurrences, which are worsened by global warming.
(Related: How to Prepare Your Heat Wave Emergency Kit)
If you look closely, you’ll see that the main reason for a water crisis is you. Humans have been lording over the planet without considering the effects of their actions on the future. If we don’t get our sh*t together, future generations will no longer have bountiful sources of water. Tips to survive water scarcity like what we’ve listed here for emergencies will become their norm. I’m pretty sure we don’t want that for our children.
Visit the Gentleman Pirate Club to know more about water storage for emergencies. You can also learn different skills that will help you with your water problems.
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