Thursday, April 24, 2014

Survival Skill #2 Procuring Water (Part 2 of 10)

During any disaster, one of your first priorities will be to procure water.  You can live without a lot of things in the short term--food, shelter, etc.  But you can't live long without water and often a disaster wipes out your most common water sources (city water supply, well water supply, etc).  Here are the most common sources of water you may be able to access after a disaster:

  • stored bottled water
  • water stored in your home (in the hot water tank, in the cistern or rain barrel, in the bathtub that you filled up ahead of time)
  • water from your city water supply (if the lines have not been broken or the water rendered unfit to drink.  Note that water from your city water supply may be contaminated but still drinkable with purification).
  • water from your well (again, water from your well may or may not be drinkable after a disaster if you treat it; it depends on the type of disaster.  A chemical spill or flood will render your well water supply undrinkable).
  • water from local, natural water sources (lake, river, stream, spring, etc).  This water must always be treated and depending on the disaster may or may not be drinkable even with treatment (see flood and chemical spill above).
  • standing water (can be found in puddles, discarded items like tires and cans; ditto the chemical warning above).
  • collecting water (rain water, melting snow, making a still to collect dew).
  • drinking from vegetation (tropical vines, young coconuts, the pulp of some cacti, the roots of a banana tree, etc)
Remember that all water of uncertain purity must be purified before you drink it.  Water that is biologically contaminated can usually be treated however water which has been contaminated with chemicals, gasoline, etc. should not be ingested even if treated.  More info here.

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