Guest post by David Michaud, Survival Food.net
The human body needs water even more urgently than it needs food, with death by dehydration occurring in the absence of water in as little as three or four days under the right conditions, and in one day or less in extreme heat. At the same time, water is the perfect habitat for many dangerous microorganisms, which can slip into the water supply in many different ways – from leaking sewage, contamination by animal droppings, and so forth.
Securing a good supply of drinking water is vital in any survival situation. You can store some water for a temporary solution, but since each person in your household requires two to three gallons per day for drinking, cooking, and hygienic purposes, the logistics of storage severely limit the amount you can keep on hand.
Plastic vs. stainless steel barrels
Both food-safe plastic barrels and stainless steel barrels can be used for storing water over a long period of time. Stainless steel is more expensive but also slightly safer, since there is no chemical leakage into the water as there is with even the best plastic barrels. Of course, there are insufficient chemicals to cause harm to most people except over the very long run, but, strictly speaking, your water will be cleaner if it is stored in stainless steel.
There are a number of special considerations to bear in mind when you are storing water for later use. One is that you cannot place chlorinated water into a stainless steel barrel, because the chlorine will gradually etch away the steel and the barrel will eventually spring a leak and drain. You must obtain non-chlorinated water for a steel container. In a city, this probably means that you will need to buy containers of bottled spring water and empty them into your storage barrel. This adds to your expense, of course, but if you buy the largest bottled water containers possible, then this will cut down on your costs somewhat.
Water should not be stored longer than six months in plastic containers, and for slightly longer in stainless steel ones. You need to rotate your water supply over time to ensure that you always have fresh, clean liquid on hand. There is no need to actually throw the water out – you can remove it and use it for drinking, cooking, and so on.
When choosing barrels, you should naturally use only those which have never contained any other substance. If you are unsure of where a barrel came from, then do not use it – old chemical traces could still be lingering in it from a previous use and might make you sick. The only plastic barrels which should be used for water storage are those with the recycling number “2” on them, since all others tend to leach more chemicals into the water.
Keep safe with clean water
Once you have exhausted your stored water supply, you will need to make sure that you can still obtain wholesome water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. There are far too many microbes, parasites, and chemicals which are carried in water to risk yourself and your family by using collected water without first processing it for safety.
Boiling water is the most obvious and most ancient method of cleansing it, and is completely effective at wiping out all microbes that the water may contain. You should let the water come a strong, rolling boil for at least 6 minutes, plus an additional minute for every 1,000 feet of elevation above the first thousand feet. For example, if you live at 2,200 feet above sea level, you should boil water for 8 minutes to ensure all microbes and parasites have been killed.
Boiling is one of the certain ways of killing microbes in water, but it will not remove chemicals or other contaminants. A multi-stage filter is the best protection against all waterborne contaminants; not simply a carbon filter, but one which incorporates different layers, with carbon, glass, and ceramic providing different types of protection. Be sure to find a good, high quality filter and obtain plenty of spare filter assemblies in whatever form they take (“candles”, plugs, etc.), and you can ensure yourself years of clean, safe drinking water under any circumstances.
Learn more about Survival Food & Water by visiting us at www.survivalfood.net
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved."