General Facts About Water

Water is very abundant on earth. It covers seventy percent of the earth’s surface. Despite that fact, not all water resources can be consumed by the human body. Only three percent of the water on earth is fresh water and can be transformed into something potable and for human use.

Water is very important to ensure your survival during an emergency situation. The average time that a human can survive without water is two days to a week. Water is also important for cleaning, cooking, and more.

Importance Of Water To The Human Body

It’s very important to stay hydrated because numerous physiological processes in the body rely on water. Every living cell in the body contains water. Water keeps the body oxygenated, transports nutrients, lubricates the joints, moistens the body, flushes out toxins, keeps the tissues healthy, and more.

Dehydration is a common occurrence during an emergency since you’ll need to ration your water usage. The symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dry tongue, sunken abdomen, high fever, irritability, and dry skin. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay sufficiently hydrated.

Facts About Water Consumption

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), humanity is currently facing a water crisis. A billion people on earth have no access to clean water. Water is also a medium for the spread of various water-borne diseases.

The average American citizen uses up to fifty gallons of water per day. This includes water for drinking, cooking, showering, flushing the toilet, and more. During an emergency situation, you need to learn to budget much less water. It also helps to know how to filter water so that you’ll always have a source of water.

Preparing For A Disaster

During a disaster, you can expect the water supply to get shut off. Some water lines need electricity to be transmitted which means that the absence of electricity might also cut off your water supply. Water is vital for your survival but that doesn’t mean that you should just settle for any water source.

Polluted water from canals or bodies of water contains a lot of chemicals and water borne diseases that will harm your health. It’s also not enough to just filter the water for physical debris. You need serious chemical treatments to kill off the bacteria that can harm your health.

Storing Water

It’s not advisable to stockpile water. Even the purest and cleanest water can easily be contaminated and become a breeding ground for various bacteria and microorganisms. You may keep gallons of water but make sure that the water is thoroughly clean and stored in a clean and airtight container. They must also be rotated to keep your stock fresh. Whenever you’ll use up the water in the containers, wash the containers first before refilling them with fresh water. However, keep an eye out for leaks when reusing containers.

You can extend the shelf-life of your stored water by adding household bleach or calcium hypochlorite solution. Simply add four drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water. For larger vessels, add a teaspoon of chlorine bleach for every thirty gallons of water. It’s better to purchase chlorine bleach without any scents or additives. After treating, make sure to label the containers with “Non-Potable.”

You can use a wide array of containers for storing water, such as small plastic bottles, giant water tanks, and IBC totes. It’s inadvisable to repurpose containers, like milk jugs or food containers. That’s because it’s hard to clean them thoroughly and you risk infecting your stock with the residue.

Where To Collect Water

As aforementioned, our planet is covered with so much water which means that you can always find numerous water sources.


Deep wells are pockets of fresh water deep within the ground. You can dig one in your private property for prolonged emergencies. If not, it helps to ask around your community for anyone with a well. You can extract the water through old-fashioned pumps or by using a bucket tied to a long pole.


Prepare your water-collecting equipment and lay them out once it’s raining. Set up a tarpaulin that funnels into a container. You can also put containers under the down spouts that are attached to the edges of roofs. Just make sure that the spouts are thoroughly cleaned.

Rivers, Lakes, And Streams

These bodies of water carry freshwater that you can use. Locate nearby bodies of freshwater by using satellite images from Google Maps. The application can be accessed through your smartphone or your laptop.

There will be more bodies of water in rural areas. The bodies of water in urban areas will mostly be polluted. If the polluted water is your only option, then you need to know how to purify water.

Purifying Water

There are three main ways by which you can purify water: mechanical filtration, heat, and chemical treatment.

Mechanical Filtration

Take the brown or green water and allow it to sit, undisturbed, for twenty-four hours. This will make the dirt and algae settle at the bottom. After twenty-four hours, carefully siphon the clean water and transfer it to another container. This water is useful for flushing your toilet or watering your plants.

To clean the water even further, allow the water to run through filtration setups that involve mesh, fabrics, or filter paper. You can also pour the water through sand. Purify the sand by soaking it under the sun. The ultraviolet rays will disinfect it.

Another filtration method is by using a ceramic filter. This is used by campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts because it is a convenient way to access clean water. It involves a hand pump that forcefully runs the water through the filter. This will block out debris and some microorganisms.


Heat can be used to kill off various bacteria and microorganisms. Using proper cookware, make sure to boil the water for at least five minutes before using it for cooking or cleaning. In emergency situations, it might not be advisable to use a stove or open fire to boil your water because your resources can become depleted. If you don’t wish to use heat, you can opt for water pasteurization.

Bring your water to a hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit and retain that temperature for six minutes. You can accomplish this by using a solar oven and a thermometer.

Chemical Treatments

As aforementioned, the most basic water treatment you can do is to use household chlorine bleach. You can double the amount if the water appears turbid. Mix in the chlorine bleach and the water should smell faintly of chlorine. Make sure to stock up on chlorine bleach and calcium hypochlorite in your survival kit.

Other Methods Of Purification

Water distillation involves boiling your water and then trapping the steam. The steam will condense into pure water. Any contaminants will be left behind in the remaining water. Distillation is inadvisable during emergency situations because it consumes a lot of resources just to make the water boil for a very long time.

Reverse osmosis uses high pressure to force the water through a fine membrane. This is the exact principle involved in the aforementioned ceramic filter. The water forcefully passes through a semipermeable membrane to leave behind the debris.

Water Conservation

It’s important to conserve your water supply during an emergency situation. There’s no way of knowing when your normal supply will be back so it helps to ration it to the best of your ability. It’s also very difficult to treat water so you’ll always have a limited supply.

One way to conserve water is to reuse gray water. Gray water is the term used for water that is already used once. This can be water used to rinse the dishes or wash the clothes. You can reuse it to flush the toilet.

Water Checklist

  • Countertop water filter
  • Portable water filter
  • Water storage containers
  • Plastic drums
  • Calcium hypochlorite
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Tarpaulin
  • Bottled water
  • Water treatment tablets
  • Know the location of bodies of water near your area
  • Ask around for any wells
  • Install a functional system for collecting fresh rainwater

Chris Green

Chris has always had an adventurous soul, and his love for the outdoors eventually led him to become a professional life skills advisor. He explains a multitude of different topics ranging from disaster preparedness and wilderness survival to self-sufficiency.

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