Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WATER: Prepping Steps in the Right Direction

I like the layered approach to prepping - some people call this the one-is-none/two-is-one/three-is-two principle.  If you've never heard the saying before it means that having a backup to the backup is a good way to go because sometimes your first and most obvious choice gets broken, doesn't work out, runs out of gas or you can't find it when you need it so it's on to Plan B or C.  It works for just about anything.

For example: Water.  We all expect that clean and purified water will just pour out of every tap whenever we want it. Most of the time this is true however one camping trip showed me that depending completely on someone else wasn't very wise.  About ten years ago we were camping in a provincial park on a busy Thanksgiving weekend and woke up Monday morning to no water.  This wasn't a simple problem that would soon be fixed - there was absolutely NO water because the beautiful weekend had brought scores of visitors to the park and basically they had run the water reservoir dry.  It wasn't coming back on.  No tea.  No shower.  No way to wash your hands. Not a nice wakeup call.  Anita-The-Calm turned into Anita-the-NOT-VERY-HAPPY-CAMPER!  Of course in hindsight the solution was obvious - fill up the large camping containers as soon as they were empty, have a water filter in the camping equipment and have bottled water on hand.  You can bet THAT situation never happened with the same results again!   Did you notice that was THREE ways to deal with the problem? 

I also remember when we first were married and living in a town-house.  We were informed that because the neighbour needed to do some plumbing the water would be turned off the next morning.  I didn't believe them!  Why wouldn't they have installed individual shut-offs?  I was sure they were mistaken.   I WAS the one mistaken!  Half way through my shower the next morning they shut off the water and being young and foolish I hadn't filled any containers either. 

The other NO-WATER story I've shared in an earlier post.  You can find it here:  Power Outage. The power went out for 2 days soon after we moved to the farm and we found out the hard way that with no electricity we also had no well pump or sump pump which meant too much water in the wrong place - namely my basement floor - and none coming out of the tap!

These are just a few examples from my own life - can you think of any in yours?

My shelf in the basement doesn't have quite as many bottles on it as on the rack in this picture but you can bet we are stocked up on large jugs.

We also have a collection of old juice and water bottles that we refill with tap water.  Those bottles are mostly used for flushing the toilet which of course ALSO doesn't work without water.

The water gets rotated out regularly to water plants or poured through our Berkey filter and used as drinking water.  We use our Berkey daily because we get our water from a well.  It doesn't require electricity and the ceramic filters are washable and do not need replacing for a very long time.  We love our Berkey - it takes all the stress out of wondering if last nights big rain storm overwhelmed the well and contaminated the water with the run-off . has this to say about their water purification system.

Berkey water filters provide the ultimate in water bourne contamination removal. Berkey is used worldwide and sets the international standard for water filters used in clean or hostile filtration environments. Able to utilize almost any outside natural source and transform it to the best tasting, purest drinking water possible, using a natural method without the use of chemicals or complicated processes.
The Berkey water filter system is so powerful it is Classified as a purifier, this classification shows that Berkey far exceeds the abilities of the standard water filter. The portable Berkey can be used to filter non-potable or unhealthy water in situations where electricity and pressure are not available. For normal everyday water filtering applications from your faucet or for challenging filtration environments like wells, rivers and lakes, Berkey is the most flexible and adaptable filtering system available. Berkey water costs just 1.7 cents per gallon to produce, the cleanable replacement cartridge provides an economical, reliable and powerful long term solution to poor water quality issues that cannot be equaled. Our most popular model, the Big Berkey has a long standing reputation for quality and service, this reputation is the reason we are trusted around the world by numerous international relief organizations to provide clean emergency drinking water to workers and citizens during times of crisis or natural disaster.

That's already three ways we deal with water on a daily basis and in an emergency at our home.  We could also use the Berkey with water from a rain barrel or the cistern but it would be a really good idea to pre-filter the water to remove debris by at least using some coffee filters.  Some people go as far as building elaborate sand filters which are pretty cool and would make a great home schooling project.  Here's a YouTube video that gives a simple explanation and you can find many more with a Google search.

If you are in a desperate situation boiling the water will kill micro-organisms - to be on the safe side allow the water to boil rapidly for 1 minute - but it won't do anything about chemical residue so be careful where you find your water.  Since I am not a scientist nor  a mathematician I will bow to someone with more mathematical skills than I when it comes to purifying water with bleach and other chemicals.

Other sources of water in a home are the hot water tank and even the toilet tank - if we're drinking water out of the toilet tank we have big problems indeed!

If ONE-IS-NONE what's your two and three?


  1. I have a friend and EVERY TIME there is a power outage she has to drive to town to buy bottled water. I keep wondering, why doesn't she just keep it on the shelf, ready for the next power outage? You just know that there WILL be another one! (Well, not at my house, as you know.... :)

  2. You my friend are like the advanced class in One/Two/Three - completely solar and wind powered...still in the dream stages for most of us :) Water water everywhere - and not a drop to drink!

  3. I have three freezers and when I take something out of one and have room I replace it with a jug of water. This helps to make the freezer run more efficiently, keeps things frozen longer during an outage and provides water for drinking in an emergency. It's not long term but until we get a Berkey it works.

    1. Oh Sista - what a great idea :) I put a row of them in the bottom of my chest freezer but I never thought to add and subtract as I go - very smart!

  4. You are definitely not talking to yourself ! You might be preaching to the choir by talking to me, because I agree with your perspectives anyway, but this is one nice blog. I enjoy both your perspectives, your detail and your photographs. Thank you.


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