Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Water Sources

Because we have to have potable water to survive, my family and I have made sure that we have multiple sources. Regardless of circumstances, we’re able to find drinking water, and that makes us all a little bit more relaxed despite the problems that are coming.

The first source is, of course, the tap. Turn on the faucets and the well magically brings us water. This is easy and convenient when the electricity (our well pump isn't solar powered, I'm sorry to say) is working and the pipes aren’t frozen or broken. However, things go wrong, so we have alternatives.

For starters, we have extra plumbing parts lying around, as well as pipe glue and tools. More often than not, when part of the plumbing breaks, we have the gear on hand to fix it. We can always use more fittings, and you really can’t have too much pipe glue, but we have a good start on the stash.

A bunch of one-gallon jugs of drinking water are on hand, which will keep us going while we work on one of the other backup plans. These jugs won’t last long, but it won’t take much to access the other sources.

We can drain the plumbing, then grab water out of the toilet tank, if we need it. This won’t provide much water, but it will give us something to drink while we work on one of our other backup plans.

The next water source: the creek and ponds. There’s always water in the ponds, and the creek runs when it’s raining. None of this water is potable, though. I wouldn’t bathe in any of it, even with tons of antibacterial soap.

Fortunately, my family and I have fire. We have plenty of firewood here at The Homestead as well as buttloads of lighters and matches. There are, of course, other fire starters as well. The wood smoker, and the two wood-burning stoves, offer perfect surfaces for pots and pans. We can easily boil as much water as we can scoop out of the creek or ponds when needed.

Rain water is not a given – we do have long dry spells here – so we don’t count on it. If it is raining when we need water, we would of course take advantage of that. We have plenty of ways to collect rain water, so it wouldn’t take much effort to make this happen.

Collecting rain water is a simple matter of placing containers in the open so that tree bark, gross stuff from our roof, et cetera, don’t contaminate the supply. Food-grade containers of various sizes will catch enough rain to keep us going while we boil water, or whatever else we’re able to do.

And if we get enough rain, the puddles and craters scattered all over The Homestead will fill up. Our property contains lots of clay, which acts as a natural filter. Let the clay settle and the remaining water is fairly clear. I would still boil it, however, because there have been meth labs in the area in the recent past. Meth-lab owners tend to bury or dump all sorts of toxic chemicals and other items, which would make the water very, very bad for us.

There’s also the possibility of locating a hand pump for our well. This is on my family’s to-do list. It’s not considered high priority because, hey, we have other sources of water. Eventually, though, we’ll probably add this anyway, because we’re talking about water here. We all agree that having yet another water source, or way to get to the current source, is a fine idea, because we’re dead without the stuff.

You just have to think outside of society’s boundaries, that’s all. We’re used to turning on taps, so pretend that your water lines are broken. If you live in a decent area, you’re surrounded by other water sources. If you find ways to make that water potable, you stand a very-good chance of surviving whatever disaster or problem has hit your region.


Edit (June 23, 2009): Okay, so I was wrong about boiling water to remove toxins and other crap from water that's possibly contaminated by garbage that meth cooks dumped all over the place out here. Thanks, anonymous commenter, for pointing this out - seriously, good catch.

Anyway: I know that the well water is good to go, but I'm not sure about the other sources - as far as meth-related chemicals and crap goes, that is. Fortunately, it turns out that you can create a solar distiller, as the folks over at have done. The link's a how-to guide, and it looks relatively easy to do. The happy people over at Mother Earth News also have some interesting ideas about this.

However, I have zero experience with any of this (obviously). Does anyone have any experience with this, and have some advice to offer? I mean, I could just go buy a distiller from, but they're kind of expensive.


  1. A great post on an issue many forget to attend to!

  2. very nice post; thanks

  3. Boiling won't help with contaminates like heavy metals. Better look into distilation.

  4. You can use a large pot to distill water to remove contaiminates.

    Here is a free PDF from FEMA that talks about distillation breifly.

    A book I recommend getting is "When all hell breaks loose" by Cody Lundin. He talks about distillation, soda method and lots more ways of "cleaning" water. The book really is good and when the binding broke on my first copy I contacted the publisher and they sent me a new one for free. Can't get better than that for service.

    begin self promotion :)
    Of course if you buy the book I'll expect you to buy it through my amazon store
    end cheesy self promtion


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