When it comes to planning for TEOTWAWKI, one of the first things we think of is water. Though the Earth is made up largely of water, it is not all immediately safe to drink. Without water, survival would be impossible. Upon begin deprived of water, the human body dehydrates and becomes unable to function with death soon to follow. Because of our need for water, we make having it priority, but just how can we ensure that there will always be plenty to drink? You can only stockpile so much water, after all. Is there a such thing as ever really having enough?
Photo: Real Clear
We already know that depending on a municipality is a no-go when the SHTF, but what can we expect as far as the continued function of a well? Although it is comforting to have a well, it is important to remember that wells are subject to failure in multiple ways. For starters, electricity is necessary to power many current day wells. Although lever action pumps were common in the past, modernization has resulted in electric pumps which face failure when the power goes out. This is not to say hand pumps aren't without their own set of problems as they can fail due to lack of suction or if the well itself being too shallow. Also worthy of consideration is the possibility of mechanical breakdown or part failure, both of which can render wells inoperable when the days of running to the store for replacement parts are over.
Photo: We Find Water
The biggest failure point of a well is that it could simply run dry, possibly due to drought conditions or not being deep enough to handled continued use. As it stands, 18 states are currently experiencing drought conditions with 40 states on track to experience water shortages within the next decade, all of which can be responsible for a depleted well. Indications of a well running dry as opposed to a part/mechanical failure include running out of water after heavy use, air in the lines, low water pressure or pressure that builds very slowly, and pumps that run for extended periods of time. You may notice that in addition to your own problems, neighbors are experiencing the same issues, which indicates a widespread, growing dilemma.
Once a problem such as a dry well rears its ugly head, what steps can you take to ensure plentiful water for yourself and your family? Behaviors such as reducing water usage, using appliances that conserve water, and lowering the pump deeper into your well can keep you going, but in some cases it becomes necessary to deepen your existing well or creating a new one. Seismic surveys done before digging can aid in finding water so that any new well that must be dug is well placed. Ultimately, however, it may be more beneficial both for economical and survival reasons that other avenues of collecting water are pursued.
Photo: Village Craftsmen
Cisterns and rain barrels are useful for catching and storing water, but these things only work if rain is present to fill them. In order to utilize these, it is necessary to divert rainwater into containers that can hold and store water for later use. The easiest way to do this is to establish storage that uses existing rain diversion to fill, such as the gutters on your home. This water may require some treatment prior to drinking, but having it to treat is half the battle. Before you begin the process of diverting and collecting rainwater, there is one issue with which you should concern yourself, that being the law. Believe it or not, diverting and collecting rain water is actually against the law in some areas so it is important to check your local laws before you act.
Natural bodies of water can go a long way towards supporting life after TEOTWAWKI but not all of them offer water that is safe to drink. In some cases that water could be loaded with microorganisms that will make you ill and dehydrate you further. If you plan to depend on natural water sources, having a treatment or filtration plan is vital. You can purify water through the use of sunlight, filtration tabs, or may other avenues, but having a handy filtration device is tough to beat. This is where tools such as the LifeStraw can be invaluable as they can be used immediately. Do note, however, that such devices do not filter chemicals, salt, viruses, heavy metals, smell, or taste.
Photo: Dynamic Inventions
In order to make saltwater safe for drinking, it is necessary to desalinate it first. This can be done by simply boiling it in a pot to remove salt and capturing steam which is then converted back into water. Another method for doing this includes a solar still, the upside of which is that it is easy to transport and does not require one to build a fire. The downside, however, is that desalination via still is a slow process. Other methods include reverse osmosis (passing water through a barrier that blocks sodium and chlorine) and electrodialysis (creating an electric field that separates sodium and chlorine ions from purified water). The problem with these options is the supplies and complexity involved often make them tough to achieve, especially if plans are not already in place before the SHTF.
Photo: Climate Tech
The bottom line when it comes to water is that if there is none, survival becomes impossible. Because of this, you need to plan to have access to water ahead of time, ideally in the form of a source with long term potential. Cisterns will do you no good if you live in a desert climate and even Lake Mead is thought to be drying up. Additionally, the best desalination skills in the world will mean nothing if you live in Nebraska. Know your state and the water sources readily available to you, taking into account where you live and what water challenges you will be faced with in the present and make the necessary changes now. If you live in a place where water obstacles already present regularly, there truly is no time to wait. After all, a stash of bottled water will only go so far.
What plans do you have in place to ensure continued water access in a survival situation? Let us know in the comments.