skip to Main Content

Water Collection, Purification, & Storage in an Urban Environment

In the event of a catastrophe, whether natural or man-made, water is perhaps one of the most crucial elements lacking in an urban setting. Earthquakes can disrupt water mains, or water treatment plants can be shut down or destroyed, leaving us with only the water we have in bottles and storage. Careful planning and forethought can help you maintain a sufficient supply of water when natural sources such as streams and lakes are unavailable.

Collection: If you find yourself at home during a catastrophe, you should run to the bath tubs and sinks and fill them up first. Doing this can ensure a supply of fresh water for several weeks (or months, if you ration it). The water will most likely be filthy from soap suds and grime, so we will go over some simple purification methods later in this article. Another lesser-known source of water is the ice in your fridge, especially if the power is still on.

Now, assuming you are not in Arizona where the water never hits the ground, there will be rainfall for collection purposes. The simplest method is to place buckets or barrels at the end of a water drainage downspout. During a mild rain this should allow for the collection of a few gallons of water. Using a tarp to form a collection pool is very effective when buckets are not available. Simply tie up the tarp and allow a sag for the water to collect, or dig a wide, shallow  hole in the ground and line it with the tarp. Remember that rain water is not always pure and may require purification.

Storage: Barrels and garbage cans are great storage devices for water. Just be sure to clean them well before the first use. But water stored in a plastic device exposed to the environments and changing temperatures can breed bacteria and bugs. Therefore, pour a small amount of gasoline into the water. Gasoline is lighter than water and will float on top,l acting as a barrier against bugs and some forms of bacteria. We have already mentioned that you can store water in tubs and sinks at home, and in any jug you might have. Try to use store-bought water last, as it is already sealed and can therefore last several months without becoming contaminated by bacteria and bugs.

Purification: This is the most important step, as not purifying your water can lead to illness, loss of energy, and even death. Boiling water for several minutes is a common method if man-made purifiers are unavailable. Many sports and outdoor-enthusiast stores carry portable water purifiers for around $100 dollars a pop, and these work well in most situations. Boiling leaves a weird taste in the water, so adding Tang or some fruit flavoring is recommended.

In the end, water is necessary for survival. Without it you will perish, but with it you can clean yourself, cook food, and survive. Be sure to purify the water thoroughly and use proper storage techniques.

– Stay Safe

Back To Top