Now since we’ve discussed how to purify drinking water, some food options, important notes about gardening for preppers, and some simple cooking gear for preppers… let’s now discuss some options for preppers to acquire their water first (so that they can purify it if and when the grid goes down and the water quits running out of your tap):
My main go-to is rain barrels where I collect rainwater, but we’ll discuss that in a little bit since not everybody can install rain-catchment barrels (especially if they live in an apartment).
Probably the simplest option for new preppers to stockpile water is to save empty 2-liter bottles, wash them out with hot soapy water, then fill them with tap water from your sink, and then store them in a closet or in a cool dark room (don’t use old plastic milk jugs, they’ll make your water bad).
With this method, the water should remain fine to drink for about a year; and then after a year you just simply dump the old water, and then re-wash the bottles, and then refill them with fresh tap water.
*note: when it was time for me to dump my old water, I simply dumped the water into my gardens so I didn’t waste the water.
So if you don’t have a fresh water source nearby or if you cannot collect rain water: simply saving empty 2-liter bottles to store water is a very cheap way.
And you can also usually purchase gallons of water at the store; usually for about $1.00 per gallon.
Now if you opt to stockpile gallons of water, you want to make sure you get the thicker plastic gallon jugs and not the thinner plastic jugs that’s akin to the same thickness that most milk jugs are. Those thinner plastic jugs will degrade fairly quickly and before you know it, you’ll have water leaking in your house.
Now there’s also plenty of water storage containers for sale on the internet that are geared towards preppers and water storage, but if you don’t have the extra money then the re-using empty 2-liter bottles is a very cheap alternative.
Now I am very blessed to have a lake near my house, and I also live in an area that has regular rainfall. I also have a small stream that runs through my bugout location, so that will also produce thousands of gallons of clear water should I have to bug-out.
And so I think it’s important for preppers to have access to a lake or a stream or to rainfall… beyond being reliant on only the water one can stockpile or store.
Let’s face it: most of us cannot afford to have a giant cistern built that will hold thousands of gallons of water… so most of us are forced to be reliant on more affordable methods of procuring water (such as nearby lakes or streams or catching rain water).
Now regarding getting water from a nearby lake after SHTF: a major concern of mine would be that criminals and other predators may target watering holes in a Without Rule of Law situation.
Just think about it: most subdivisions across the USA have those retention ponds; and if the grid goes down people will be going to the retention ponds to collect their water.
First: you may have the people that live on that retention pond to become very protective of the pond. They (and the others that live on the pond) may try to control access to the pond.
And then like I mentioned above, criminals may target ponds because they know people will be drawn to it.
So, I just think it makes sense if you can have a renewable source of water on your property if you can do so…. a place that you can possibly defend or keep relatively safe if you have the support network to do so.
So what works for me is having rainwater catchment; as this gives me about 400 gallons of water at all times… and this 400 gallons of water is in my backyard and surrounded by a privacy fence and away from prying eyes.
Now I realize I’m lucky that I live in an area that receives regular rainfall; and I always risk that my area has a drought. And if we have a drought, that’s when the nearby (and less safe) lake would come into play as a back-up.
But they suggest at least one gallon of water per person per day; so this 400 gallons of water would barely suffice my family of three(3) for a year.
Of course, when you start factoring in bathing, cooking, washing clothes, etc., a person actually needs more than one gallon per day. The one gallon per day (I believe) is the bare extreme essential amount of water to allow us to keep from dying from thirst and to have a little water to cook with.
And there’s many options for rainwater catchment: some people use the large totes that hold hundreds of gallons of water, while I chose (at least for right now) to go with multiple 55-gallon food-grade drums that I linked together.
Now I chose to go with multiple 55-gallon drums instead of the large totes because I think the drums are easier to clean. But I must admit that I have flip-flopped on this; as having just a couple of large totes would be more convenient… whereas the drums with removable tops are probably so much easier to clean out.
It’s just natural, no matter what steps you take, that when the rain comes down your roof, that the rain will carry dirt off your roof and down into your rain catchment. So those 55-drums are just much easier to scrub out a couple of times a year.
I generally clean my barrels out in the spring when the heavy spring rains start hitting; and then I’ll clean them out again in the fall which is another rainy season for my area.
What this does is ensures that I have fairly clean rainwater throughout the summer; and then also refreshed and fairly clean water throughout the fall and winter.
And by doing this twice-a-year cleaning: the water remains fairly clear in the barrels throughout the year… even during the dog-days of summer.
So if SHTF were to hit, I’d have a constant source of fairly clear water that wouldn’t strain my Berkey water purifier too much.
And if you’d like to check out a video of my rain barrel set-up and how I clean them out, here’s a link:
And with having said that: obviously I would disinfect and purify my rain water before I utilized.
Actually, I would probably only add a little home-made chlorine to the water that I would use to bathe or wash clothes with… and then only run the water that I’m going to cook or drink through my Berkey.
Now a final tip on if you decide to catch rainwater that comes off of your roof: I highly suggest that get the First Flush system. It’s hard to describe it in written word, but basically this allows the first few minutes of rainfall to bypass your barrels. This is the rain water that will have most of the dirt in it.
And if you’re interested in checking out the First Flush system, here’s a link to it:
So if you’re a brand-new prepper, I hope this article gave you a lot of useful information!