Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority. Lack of water quickly leads to an inability to think correctly, soon after, the body starts losing the ability to function. A day without water is enough to impair even a healthy person; two days causes severe problems; three days without water can kill many people, particularly people stressed by injury.

The points to ponder:…Do you want to be thirsty? Do you want to be a strain on community resources during a crisis? Do you want to beg others to dribble water in your mouth? If any answer was no, then self reliance is for you. It isn’t hard. Just gather a few containers and store water in them; maintain the storage so it is drinkable. Encourage others to do the same.

We do this as a matter of course, we only drink from our purified water as we do not trust what comes out of the tap.

Most people who live in industrialized countries don’t drink water anymore. There are so many ‘alternatives’ that are pushed by ‘vested interest’. But nothing quite beats pure, fresh water to fill your bodies needs.

• On Average, People Need To Drink At Least:

2 liters / 2 quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people need even more. In addition, you’ll need water for food preparation and hygiene. Take yourself out of the automatic pilot trap of taking water for granted now! Learn to conserve water, how to purify it and the location of your closest alternate sources.

• Indoor Sources Of ‘Hidden’ Water

Look in the water pump pressure tank; the water pipes; the water heater; the sink and tub traps; toilet tank; coffee machine; water purifiers; dishwasher; clothes washer; refrigerator and the freezer for ice.

• Outside Sources Of Water

Outside your home: find puddles; ice and snow; water mains; wet biomass; wet earth; sewer drains; springs; rivers and lakes. Arrange to collect rain water.

• The Need To Purify Water

Contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause beaver fever, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis . . . Purify all questionable water before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.

• To Purify Water

Bring water to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Once the water is boiling, apply just enough heat to keep it boiling, in order to minimize the water lost as steam. Also to minimize the energy used to purify the water.

Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water and chlorinated water.

• Chemical Disinfection To Purify Water

Use chlorine or liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. (see Red Cross side bar)

Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water; stir and let sit 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

• Distilling To Purify Water

While boiling and chemical disinfection will kill most microbes in water, distillation is the best method of purification. It will remove heavy metals, salts, most chemicals and microbes that resist other methods. Distilling allows you to extract pure water from extremely impure sources like salt water, wet biomass, urine and sewage.

• To Distill Water

The process involves boiling water to steam, moving the steam to somewhere else, then cooling it to turn it back into water. Virtually all the ‘impurities’ will stay behind in the original container.

To distill water you need a pot to boil the water in; a way to collect the steam; a way to cool the steam into water; and a way to put the pure water into a clean container.

The most effective household distiller is a pressure cooker. Remove the weight from the lid of the cooker. Attach a long tube to the steam outlet on the lid after you have boiled the tube to sterilize it. (Tubes can harbor microorganisms.)

Once the tube is attached to the pressure cooker lid, coil the tube in a second pot containing cool water to cool the steam back to water. Finally, allow the open end of the tube to drop into a third pot of water. The third pot must be clean because it contains your distilled (purified) water.


Keep the pot with the impure water on a slow boil till most of the water is gone. You do not want to boil all the water away because then the impurities will start to boil out.

• Oxygen

I’ll make honorable mention of using oxygen to purify water; it’s done in many countries in the world to kill microorganisms and works well, but will not clean out chemicals and other impurities.

• Points To Check, Before Crisis…

• Have a two-week supply of water for each person. Base stocks on a minimum of 4 L / 1 gal. per day.

• Locate alternate sources of water. If you are close to a dependable source of water you do not need to store so much. However, carefully check into possible purification needed. Much fresh water is polluted these days.


Water Rations

must never fall below 1 gallon per person, per day. Use what you have. Seek alternate sources.  

Water Conservation

Obviously, we can’t learn to live without water, but we can learn not to waste it. Take steps to reform your habits now, before a crisis creates a shortage.   Turn off the taps: while brushing your teeth; lathering your hair; washing dishes  

Water Recycling

Under ‘normal’ conditions, most Westerners use 54 gallons of water a day! It’s always important to use water wisely. In a crisis, it’s vital that you think through the water use cycle.  

Using Water Wisely

  • Set aside drinking water. It should never be rationed.   • Within healthy guidelines, ration and reuse all other water.   • Save the water from cooking vegetables to use as soup stock.   • Water that has been used for washing dishes can be used for flushing toilets or doing other chores.   • Reuse food washing water for watering plants and for light clean up.   • Clean-up water with a little disinfectant in it can last the whole day or more. Just be sure to think through the hierarchy of use.


Take it From The Red Cross

The Red Cross, states that liquid bleach or chlorine are the only agents that should be used to purify water. (Do not use scented bleach, coloursafe bleach or bleach with added cleaners.) Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping stores that do not contain 5.25% sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended.  


 How To
  • Keep cool. Stay in the shade.  
  • Avoid exertion. Move slowly to conserve water and energy. 
  • Eat only high water content foods. Digesting heavy foods uses fluids, increasing dehydration.   
  • Breathe through your nose and avoid talking.   
  • Refrain from alcohol which takes fluids from vital organs to break down.   
  • In hot weather, dress in light clothing, but do not remove clothes. You may feel cooler because sweating has increased, but you will also lose more water.   
  • Drink in small sips. Don’t gulp even if your water is ample. Only moisten your lips if your supply is critical.