Water, Water Everywhere . . .

1If you have been following the news then you know that the scenario of social and economic crash in the book The 14th Reinstated is not only plausible but may be inevitable. It’s becoming clear that the dollar is on a downward spiral and that government is dysfunctional. We have elected our way into a mess and it might not be fixable. Nearly half of our population does not pay income taxes and a similar percentage now receives money from the government. So it’s not likely we will ever fix this at the ballot box.

I quote Ben Franklin in the book when he was exiting the Constitutional Convention of 1787. A lady shouted out, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” To which Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Perhaps the smartest of a group of very smart men, my boy Bennie also said: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Well, guess what; we are there.

So you better start thinking about how you are going to get through the hard times ahead. It’s a lot more than stockpiling beans, bullets and band aids. For example, without a source of clean drinking water none of it will matter.

 

2Water is necessary to live, but it can harbor some nasty stuff. People used to die from things like cholera and typhoid. They will again once things fall apart. It would be a shame to survive the end of the world as we know it only to be brought down by a disease we thought was a thing of the past.

No water source should be considered safe after things fall apart. You simply cannot know what may be in the water you are drinking. Even a private well like I have may be contaminated from the water recharging the aquifer. No water source will be 100% safe and even washing your hands or dishes in contaminated water can make you sick. Without a medical system to rely on, simple things that were just an inconvenience when life was good can kill you.

In the event of a long term survival situation, this problem will not abate and you must remain vigilant about insuring a safe water supply, perhaps forever. So planning ahead is critical.

3There are three viable, long term ways to deal with the bad stuff in water, filtering, boiling or chemicals. Each has its own problems, so it’s best to consider a combination of at least two.

Boiling

 Perhaps the best known and easiest way to deal with contaminated water is boiling the water. But even that is not 100% safe. At high elevations the boiling point of water drops. To be sure, boil for at least ten minutes at sea level and add ten more for every 1,000 feet of elevation.

There are some pathogen spores that must be heated to 244 °F to kill them. Boiling will not heat water past 212 °F at sea level. So boiling is not a 100% solution.

4Also, pollutants will not be removed.

Chemicals

 Effective chemical additives can kill off the bad critters in water. But, they can make the water taste bad and some of them are not recommended for long term use as they can have a negative, accumulative effect on the human body.

There are a lot of commercial chemicals available, most are chlorine or iodine based, but Clorox is one of the best approaches. It’s inexpensive and readily available. One gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach will treat 3,800 gallons of drinking water.

5The trouble with chemicals is that most are not 100% effective against Cryptosporidium, Giardia and some other critters that have a hard outer shell that is resistant to chemicals.

Filtration

 Portable water filters come in two basic forms. The first one uses a pump to force the water through the filter. The other system relies on gravity to pass the water through the filter.

It’s smart to have both. A gravity fed, high capacity filter will work at making safe water all day if it is tended well. These work well for a home or camp based operation where water can be filtered into a large holding tank or at the very least a clean five-gallon jug.

The portable filters are designed for backpackers, hunters and other people on the move. They are light and fit easily in a backpack. (You should have one in any bug-out bag.)

Portable filters can remove pathogens down to 0.2 micron in size. The best filters remove most bacteria and protozoa, but not viruses which are small enough to pass through. For 100% safety, disinfect by boiling or with chemicals after filtration.

Some filters also utilize activated charcoal filtering, which helps remove pollutants and chlorine to improve taste. Granular activated carbon filtering utilizes a form of activated carbon with a high surface area that absorbs many compounds, including many toxic compounds. This can be helpful by eliminating pollutants from the water that might accumulate in the body’s organs and cause long term health issues. Water passing through activated charcoal will also improve taste and eliminate odors.

If you are planning to stay in your home and know that there will be a supply of water if the electricity and municipal waters systems shut down, it would be a good idea to install a system to filter all the water entering your home. There are commercial systems that will do a very good job.

It might be best to use a double approach, filters along with chemicals or boiling, just to make sure you get everything.

Overkill? Of course it is. But in a survival situation where you need to stay healthy, why not overdo it a bit just to be sure?

For more information on safe water and some suggestion on products to use check out my article in Be Ready Magazine on sale now at newsstands.

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