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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beyond the BabySteps: Water: Alternate Sources

BabyStep 2: Water

If you are new to food storage and following along with the BabySteps please refer to the Step 2: Water page before you read this post and get overwhelmed. In BabyStep 2 we recommend to store a 2-week supply of water for your family. This should be enough to sustain you through the majority of shorter-term emergencies. But what if water is unavailable for a longer period of time? Do you know where the closest source of water to your house is? Are you sure the water is drinkable? One of our readers over at the Fun With Food Storage Network Forum posted a picture of his ONE YEAR supply of water. (GO CONNOR!) but I would guess that most of us are not this prepared yet. This post will discuss some other means of finding drinking water in case you are not as amazing as Connor is yet ;)

Alternate Water Sources

Water in your home
- Hot water heater tank
- Toilet tanks (don’t use water that contains colored disinfectant!)
- Water pipes
- Ice in the freezer

Traditional bodies of water near your home
- Rivers and streams
- Ponds and lakes

Collect water from the air and plants
- Snow and ice
- Rain water
- Morning dew can be mopped up from rocks and plants (especially effective in desert areas). The easiest method is to use a handkerchief or shirt to gently mop up the dew and then wring it into a container. It is possible to mop up almost a quart an hour using this method!

Obtaining water from the soil
- A hole dug in a damp or muddy area allows water to seep in and accumulate
- Mud wrong in a shirt or other cloth will force out water (muddy water can be partially cleared by allowing it to stand overnight and then running it through several thickness of cloth)
- Make an evaporation still (we will do a separate post on this later)

Locate sources of groundwater (in mountainous areas)
- Sloping side of the hills in dry mountain ranges
- Small seeps and springs can be found by following narrow canyons and gullies up to their heads
- The water table is usually close to the surface and you could locate it by digging at the base of cliffs and rocks where lots of vegetation is thriving, at the base of large sand dunes on the shady or steep sides, anywhere the ground is damp or muddy, in low spots where patches of salt grass, cattails, willows or elderberries grow

Please note: Depending on the nature of the emergency situation you are in, some of these sources may be contaminated so make sure you have a plan in place for water purification. It never hurts to purify just to be on the safe side.


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