Water Procurement: Setting Up a Low-Budget Water Catchment System and Why It Will Save Your Life

How are you doing, Ready Nutrition Readers?  This article is the final segment of a three-part series dealing with obtaining water in a preparedness and survival stance.  We will focus today on home and small group needs for water, incorporating knowledge from the prior two segments to complete the picture.  The needs of each home will differ considerably due to varying needs of water consumption.  A two-story home with five children, two parents, and an elderly grandparent with a long-term illness, for example, will need a different amount of water than two brothers in their thirties living in a small cottage.

Enviro World EWC-10 Fr... Best Price: null Buy New $88.18 (as of 11:39 EST - Details) The basics we’ll cover can be tailor-made to fit the situation that governs your needs.  Conservatively speaking, each person needs between 1-2 gallons per day for intake; this does not include use of showers, toilet, sink, and laundry.  As we covered in part 2 of this series on water, during a survival/grid down scenario, there are a number of diseases that must be taken into consideration.  There are filtration and purification methods as detailed inpart 1 as well as large-scale considerations.  First things first: let’s discuss obtaining water.

I have included a diagram that shows how to make a water point for the family.  Prior to doing any of this, consult with your lawyer or your local and state guidelines concerning laws, statutes, and Oatey Mystic Rainwater... Best Price: $16.37 ($0.34 / oz) Buy New $18.95 ($0.39 / oz) (as of 12:25 EST - Details) regulations in the state you live; they may prohibit your obtaining and storing water (surface, rain, or other).  Your best bet for catchment is a simple system using the roof.  Tar or asphalt roofs are “no-go’s” because of the chemicals that will contaminate your water supply.  Slate or tile can be used, and this author believes steel (coated or non-flake-painted) roofs are the way to go.

Your collection barrels can be purchased for $35 – $50 in your local feed or hardware store.  Be sure to not pick up a translucent barrel, as your water supply will develop algae; they should be dark in color.  I have found some decent 50-gallon barrels that are brown with black lids and a ring-type screw-on seal complete with rubber flange.  You want to find a color that camouflages the water barrel or paint it with plastic-bonding paint to make it blend in your environment.  If you have a straight roof, you can do at least two collection points.  Four (4) 55-gal barrels per point is optimal.  Then you’re looking at 440 gallons total when they’re filled.

For those who can afford it and those who don’t have a 6’ (yes, six foot) frost line, there are 225-gallon holding tanks that can be set in-ground, or you can set in a brick and concrete underground cistern.  There are plenty of plans and sites available on the web, and (depending on your family’s needs) you may wish to consider them as options.  There are other variables that you must consider as well, and some are as follows:

  1. Time of the year/season:  Obviously you’re not going to collect much rainwater in the wintertime.  The water point needs to be shut down during the winter to prevent your barrels from POP VIEW Pest Repeller... Check Amazon for Pricing. freezing, splitting, and/or becoming a giant, fixed, “cool-pack” that weighs around 418 lbs. (a gallon of water is 7.6 lbs).  It is best to gather snow and melt it (5 gal snow = 1 gallon water), or pour it into non-splitting containers for big blocks of ice you can melt down.
  2. Neighbors:  How are things on “Sesame Street?”  Are the neighbors friendly, or are they just “friends in need” when the time comes, or even worse?  Would they complain about your water point(s) to your friendly neighborhood housing authority?  Or will they want to take your supply when they have no water?  Best advice here is some type of security system around your water point.  You may even wish to enclose your barrels in some type of shed or storage building.  Camouflage, ad infinitum, in all things you do; blend in and do not stick out.
  3. Budget:  The system I diagrammed is low budget.  You can do it (total) for under $300, if you’re sharp and cut corners.  You need to spec it out on paper with a good working diagram of your own as applicable to your home.

OK, so we have a good method of collecting water and some suggestions to store it, but what about those “creepy crawlies” from Part 2?  Disease during a disaster is going to run rampant.  You need to be prepared, and here are some methods to do it.

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