By Rob “K12”
According to the “survival rule of threes,” a person can go approximately three days without water. But hydration is still a key element to your survival in any emergency situation. The three key issues regarding water are finding it, purification, and storage.
When out in the wilderness, traveling downhill will increase your chances of finding a natural water source. It is a myth that running water is cleaner than still water.
Water contains microorganisms that can be dangerous for you to ingest. The most common microorganisms that you need to protect yourself from are bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Their size is measured in microns (one micron = 0.000039" or .001mm), and when choosing your water purification device, pay particular attention to the micron level the device is designed to filter.
Boiling is the most effective method to disinfect your water. However, it takes time and requires additional resources such as fire and a fireproof container. There are chemical treatment options such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide tablets, iodine tablets, and sodium dichloroisocyanurate tablets.
There are also commercially available filter/purification devices such as the Life Straw, used worldwide in underdeveloped countries, that instantly removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium (causes of diarrhea and various gastrointestinal ailments). The Steripen Ultra uses advanced UV technology to remove 99.9% of harmful, viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in less than a minute.
The All-in-One filter gives you the flexibility to use it in the backcountry or right on your kitchen faucet during an emergency. The Life Straw Family is also designed to attach right to your sink faucet to provide safe drinking water in your home after an emergency situation.
You can also use a combination of both chemical treatments and a filtering device to ensure your water is thoroughly disinfected. However, it is common that even after your water has been disinfected, it will have an unpleasant odor or taste.
Now that you have procured and purified your water, you need to store it. While in the wilderness, the best place to store your water is in your stomach. Ration your sweat – not your water.
It is recommended that you store at least one gallon of drinking water, per person, per day for home emergency storage. Water storage at your home should be placed on pallets and kept off of concrete floors. The Waterbrick stackable water and food containers are perfect for your home emergency plan. They can hold up to 3.5 gallons for water and stack tightly on top of one another.