Clean, drinkable water is critical to emergency preparedness. You can live about three weeks without food, but only about three days without water. You need a supply of clean water and this requires water filtration and water storage.
Getting Started: Water Filtration
You must be able to generate clean, drinkable water (water filtration article). In an emergency the water supply can be compromised and you need the ability to filter extremely fouled water. Normal water filters remove contaminants down to 0.1 to 0.3 microns. If the water supply is compromised then you should have a 0.02 micron water filter. There are many excellent and affordable water filters. You can start with a more affordable filter and upgrade later. The key is to start NOW!
- Good: [Hiking/Home Kit] Start with a Sawyer Mini filter. These are small, very effective (filters to 0.1 microns), and affordable (less than $30). Use the filter for home use also until you get a higher-grade filter. This filter is affordable and sufficient for most water purification needs. Use this filter exclusively in your hiking kit after you purchase a better filter for your home kit.
- Better: [Home Kit] Upgrade to one of the pump filters or to a gravity filter such as the Sawyer Squeeze. Take your Sawyer Mini and move it to your vehicle or hiking kit. When you upgrade to a 0.02 micron filter then move this filter to your vehicle kit.
- Best: [Home Kit] Upgrade to a 0.02 micron filter such as a Sawyer Zero PointTWO or the MSR Guardian. These can filter extremely fouled water and remove down to virus level. Take your other filters and move them to your vehicle and hiking kits.
The end goal with water filters is to have (1) a Sawyer Mini in your hiking kit, (2) a Mini, Squeeze, or other filter in your vehicle kit, and (3) a 0.02 filter in your home kit.
Getting Started: Water Storage
Have some water stored in case the water supply is compromised. In the event of an earthquake water lines could be severed and they could take time to repair. You need some sturdy, BPA-free containers to hold the water. You will need about one gallon per day per person. Click here for details on long-term water storage. If you are on a budget you can use clean 1-liter pop bottles or sturdy, clean juice containers.
- Good: [Vehicle Kit] Have a few bottles of water in your car at all times. These can be used for drinking, cleaning wounds, filling the vehicle radiator, etc.
[Home Kit] Have a WaterBrick (or 3-gallon container) of tap water for each person. At one gallon of water per day this provides about 3 days of water per person.
- Better: [Home Kit] Two filled WaterBricks per person should be enough water for one week.
- Best: [Home Kit] Have 4-6 WaterBricks per person. This should provide enough water for 2-3 weeks.