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How we need to prepare

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The stuff of Life

The second leg of the basic survival stores is Water. We normally look at consuming 6L per day and this is the amount we recommend that you put aside for survival. From previous articles we have calculated that for our 15 months head down we need 2736L each. That is a lot of water and it is heavy and awkward to store.

I’m going to look at the recommendations slightly and make some caveats. 6L of water can last most of us more than a day. In desperate times we can forgo bathing, washing our clothes and can drink less. Our reduced requirements because we will not be moving about much. The first step is to ration our water and we should adjust our water intake to a lower level and extend what water we have. We should only consume the water we need and no more.

The issue we have though is that this calculation can be quite tricky. Our bodies do not report our liquid requirements very well. We will stop feeling thirsty when we are still dehydrated. So we need to drink more than we feel we should. It is much better to monitor our usage by amounts and by our body.

The calculation for the minimum amount of water in our current climate is to take your weight in pounds. Divide by 3 and then double it. That gives you the amount you should drink as a minimum in ounces. So for a 150 pound person, you need to drink 100 ounces a day. That is 2.95L or under 3L. Normally, you would add on for work but we are not doing any so we won’t bother. If you are working then drink more. You split that water up throughout the day and drink small amounts of 12oz on a regular basis rather than all at once. These requirements change if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, ill or in hot weather. Being sick or having diarrhoea means the liquid is leaving your body as fast as it goes in.

Also if you are having headaches and your urine drops off to zero then you are dehydrated and need to drink more. You need to be careful here. Drink as much as you need to live.

Bear in mind that some of your liquid requirements will be met by your food. Some of the water you cook your rice or pasta in will be retained and that will help a little, plus any fruit or vegetables that you eat will also have a small around of water in. However, I would treat that as a bonus and not go reducing your intake at all because of this.

Obviously when you start getting out all your requirements will go up.

Also avoid alcohol. It does not quench your thirst but makes you dehydrated.

So now we have identified we need water just to live and we have calculated roughly what that is we should go about trying to maximise our storage and production. After all we have no idea how much we will need in total as we won’t have an end date for when we won’t need our stores.

The recommendation is that not only do we put aside enough water for our needs but we put aside the tools to prepare more. We don’t make it here. It falls from the sky but it needs treatment to make it safe for our fussy stomachs. So as well as putting aside as much water as you can we need to put aside some filtration equipment and some collection equipment. Personally, I’m putting aside as much water as I can safely store, several filtration items, some plastic sheets to collect the rain and the components for a sand based filtration system, the same system nature uses. Preferably I’m looking at building that now along the side of the garage and I can add the output to my water stores as I go along. You can feed the contents of the rain barrels into it when the rain is insufficient. Like all filters they will eventually need replacing but between the stored water, the bought filters and the garage filter I should be able to keep going till I manage to build another and then I can use both until I need to replace the filter material in one. All the ingredients for a filter can be made to keep it going long into the future but for now we need to put the components in our stores.

Finally, water is critical to life. The water I am talking about here is the water for our 15 months head down. Again, we hope it won’t be that long but we had better prepare for making it last as long as possible.

11 comments to The stuff of Life

  • Tonka

    That is exactly what has been troubling me this week. Drinking water is my usually number first priority.

    When at home, all it takes is for no power to the water pumps for a few days and people start dying… and rioting and the rest.

    I was out looking at water butts, and camping water containers yesterday (I have a few, but not enough to store the volume I need) and then I had an idea. Why don’t I simply use plastic bottles. They are free, plentiful, and water keeps better in smaller containers. So I am now slowly filling and storing bottles of water.
    At the moment they are in my sizable workshop (most important part of a house) but I kind of have motorbikes, outboard engines and stuff taking up most of the room. So the trouble I am having is were to store them all. They are heavy and I need loads. I was thinking under the floorboards… but I have concrete floors. Where to store a thousand bottles of water?

    The other thing I was thinking about is treating sea water. From my porch I can throw stones in the sea… well a catapult helps. So that is a lot of water close to hand. In my mind it would be simple to evaporate and condense the sea water… but it seems too simple… I feel that I am missing something?

    • Skean Dhude

      Well worry no more.

      Plastic bottles are fine but make sure they are food grade or they could leech polysomethings into the water after a while.

      Keep them stored in a cool dark place. Asda sell 2L bottles of water for 17p. You can stock a lot of water there and they fit in many spaces. Some in the loft, some in cupboards, some in the sheds and garages and some buried in the garden.

      We won’t have the energy to treat sea water in any quantity. However, mother nature does this for us. First way is simply to catch rain water but be aware that some winds can blow sea water into your collectors. Another way with being by the sea means that the air will be moist and open to be collected in a solar still. Sailors use these at sea to collect water to live. You can do the same. Summer, solar still, winter rain.

  • Bug out Bag

    Hi guys, I’m collecting Coke bottles to fill and bury on my land, should I be adding something to the water to preserve it? I think this was discussed on the forum somewhere and I seem to remember that several people found it stored perfectly well without any addition … Have I remembered that right?

    I am in the process of setting up a rain water harvesting system, grey water catchment and sand filter. I am interested in building a solar still too as I’m close to the sea as well but I think you’re right SD, we may well be lacking the energy to implement that as part of the plan.

  • Tonka

    Thanks. I always liked the idea of a solar still, but there aren’t many days a year they will work. But I suppose on the days they work well will be the days you need them most.

    The nooks and crannys in my house are already pretty full, but I will look into burying the water too.

    I have a rainwater gathering plan, but I believe there are legal implications involving your run off water (particularly the way I’m looking at doing it) so I’m not doing that in advance.

    • Bug out Bag

      I have the same problem with lack of space to store it hence burying it! I found a great plan for building a nifty looking still and I am thinking about ways in which I could get it to track the sun, the problem being the weight of the water! At least we won’t be stuck for salt Tonka!

      • Skean Dhude

        Don’t make it complicated. These ‘enhancements’ are always the bits that fail. A simple solar still put in the open will catch the sun all day.

      • Tonka

        Yes. Pasta cooked without salt isn’t nice. It’s also a good antiseptic and preservative.
        I believe the key to storing water is to leave no (or very minimal) air space in the bottle.

        • Skean Dhude

          Funny. I always cook mine without salt. I had heard you could use it as antiseptic but have never looked into it. Must be worth a look.

          Good point about the water. Air does make a few things go off.

    • Skean Dhude

      They work most days just some days they are more productive. We can heat the water ourselves in the cooler times and as long as we have enough stored to last through the lean we will be OK.

  • Bug out Bag

    Thankyou 🙂

  • Chanes

    A high grade portable water system can filter most river and stream and even some heavily contaminated sources. Expect to pay 150 to 200 GBP. Clean water is the single most important item you need.

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