First, there is no practical way to store potable water in bulk. I keep 40gal of it in (8) 5gal USMC Jerrycans in the storage room, but that’s just to ride out small power bumps up to a few days.
Last Winter the pipes on our holding tank froze , (record cold for area) the first time I had only one 5gal container full because I had not gotten around to filling the rest since moving in.
Then a few days later they froze again, and guess who still had not filled the rest of the containers when the pipes had thawed out for a day? Procrastination is an ugly thing to live with! All’s well that ended well though and now they are all full and the pipes are being better insulated.
A year’s worth of potable water would be next to impossible to keep on hand, but there is an easy way to filter a year’s worth of water when the taps stop pouring it out.
My primary method of getting potable water from local streams and rainwater is through a high quality filter system called the “LifeSaver Jerrycan”.
I purchased this item for my BugOut trailer years ago (10yr+ shelf life if bought in Mylar wrapper) knowing that my only option for water would be from rivers and streams.
You can not find a better mid-size system. I encourage you to do you own research on it and get one.
One filter will last for 5300gals (5 years @ 3gals per day) of water and is swappable when it’s finished, I have an extra main filter along with charcoal filters for taste. Water will not come through it when it’s done so there is no issue with drinking untreated water.
WHAT ABOUT THE BERKEY?
I use a Berkey for everyday filtration of our well water (which actually tastes great) because I don’t like anything but pure clean water in my water. 🙂
I would not trust my life to a Berkey filter though and would not use it on anything other than already potable water. I’ve had the filters fail on me twice, and the design allows for bypass of unclean water easily.
The Berkey is a great table top filter for tap water but not good enough for SHTF, get the LifeSaver!
If you have a septic system, all you need is a bucket of water and you are still in business with indoor plumbing when SHTF. Indoor plumbing is a huge moral booster my friend and should be the result of good prior planning as I mentioned in the “Life without Grid Power, coming to a town near you!” post.
Hauling water from a stream of river even if it’s within a mile of your location is going to suck in SHTF, but more than that, it takes away from other tasks you will be needing to get done in a long term situation.
Gardening, security, chopping wood, preparing meals, etc. all take a lot of time using off grid methods. Walking to a water source each day is not optimal.
I’m currently working on a rain catchment system. For around $1000 you can setup an 1100gal system off the roof of your house using a real water tank.
If you go cheap and buy several of the 250gal used totes they have never contained anything that was not food grade. There are many hucksters out there selling old silicon totes as “food grade”.
The system I’m working on now is actually a reinstall of the system I had at my previous location. I will be putting up a post on it in the next month or so and sharing the hard learned lessons from my first go around.
I bought an 1100 gallon container (on sale for $500) the first time because of limited funds and limited space. I suggest getting the biggest tank you can afford.
While plenty large enough for two people’s minimum water needs (1100/3gal a day)/2people = 183 days of water, that is just scraping by the dry season for two. Barely enough water for drinking let alone washings, cooking, etc.
Considering the average American uses between 80-100gal a day when the power is on, I want to have 10gal a day if possible, 3gal per person minimum.
The 1100gal tank is barely enough to water the animals and the garden through the dry season (at least in my calculations, this year will be the test) but it sure beats having to lug water for a garden from the nearest stream a mile away. It would be just too time intensive to lug water for a garden, but when you have to grow everything you get to eat, what can you do?
The real answer to water needs of course is to keep using the potable water in your well if possible. If you have a well < 500ft down, this can be done with a Bison or Simple Pump setup and preferably a holding tank.
I had been putting off this expenditure because the outlay is $1500+ dollars and at the end of my property is an agricultural well hooked to a windmill pump that I figured I could barter with the neighbor for use of, but it creates two problems relying on someone else’s provisions.
One, you don’t know how they will act in SHTF, and two, it requires me to go out into an open field to get water each day in 5gal containers. Shorter distance, but still not much better than the 1 mile trek to the river.
I plan on getting the Simple Pump as soon as I have the cash and using it to pump over to our 1500gal holding tank then setting up a solar powered 12vdc RV pump to keep pressure on the house system or running an inverter and using the existing sump pump in the tank, depending on the current draw.
When the power goes off, the only difference will be a pressure drop from 50psi to 30psi (w/ the 12vdc pump) in the house and the need to put some hand cranks on the Simple Pump once a day to keep the holding tank full.
Once this is accomplished, the 1100gal rain water tank can be used solely for gardening and watering animals.
At a minimum, we should all have a good filtration system so at least when we do find water we can drink it.
Water is life, don’t scrimp on the process to clean it or it can also be death.
Make a plan on how much water your need, how you will get it and purify it if needed and then get to implementing the plan.