Survival: Water Preparation

water survival preparation water filtration

One of the most important aspects to any survival preparation plan has to be survival water, water collection, and water purification. During any form of survival situation, a water resource is going to be a main priority. Having the right supplies, knowledge, and skills can get you through many different kind of problems or survival situations. Think about your current water survival plan, how many days, weeks or months do your currently have worth of water for you and your family?

Water is potentially one of the most difficult resources that you will have to scavenge for once the current water grid stops working. Within the first 12 hours of any natural disaster striking, shelf’s of stores have already been cleared. Here in Portland Oregon about a year ago, a simple radio notification about someone having E. coli possibly being linked to the cities water supply caused a mass panic by consumers. Every retail store in a 20 mile radius  was stripped bare of it’s water supplies in less then 5 hours. I heard of some people traveling north across the river to Vancouver to buy water.

Why you should have backup water plan.

It was a serious mad house after this unverified, random tidbit of a message came floating across the airwaves to listeners sitting in traffic. I remember hearing later on that people were even turning away soda’s while ordering their fast food because it’s mixed from a local water source. Thousands of people panicked because they were unprepared. I imagine countless people driving frantically from one store to the next in hopes of finding just one case of water.

But what would of happened if your were a prepare who plans for situations like a water shortage? The first major advantage to having a backup water plan as part of your survival water preparation, is not having to worry about getting to a store if there is an emergency. Let’s say this water contamination was real and not some lousy hoaks to test our local people. While everyone is busy trying to gather supplies to take home to their families, you are already on your way to your family. If this water problem is preemptive in any way, I will already be one step ahead of everyone else.

How long could your survive on your current supply?

Something very important to ask your self, is if required, how long could you last off your current supply of water? One thing I have noticed over the many years of prepping, is that at most people have about one weeks worth of water on hand. In most cases this is an acceptable amount of water, but being a prepper you know that one week is not nearly enough.

We would recommend you keep at least two or three months worth of water for your family. This is plenty enough water to give you a clear buffer that will cover the recovery times for most natural disasters. If you want to be truly prepared, having several additional months worth of supplies, as well as a water renewal system in place.

Storing Water: The safe way to store water for your family.

It’s important to remember when making your long term water storage plans, that you maintain a level of safety. The first step to ensuring your water supply is safe to drink, is making sure you have the proper storing procedures in place. If you purchase your water in plastic disposable containers, you may want to keep in mind that these are designed to degrade in quality fairly quickly. Manufacturers of bottled water expect the product to be consumed by a certain period of time, and thus design their plastic in a way that accelerates decomposition, thus potentially releasing harmful chemicals into your water supply. Rotate these products out as frequently as you can manage, doing your best to rotate stock.

If you plan on storing large amounts of water for an extended period of time, it may be worth your investment to purchase food grade water drums. These plastic drums are specifically designed to hold water in large quantities, and work great when incorporated into your water filtration system.

It also important to remember when storing large amounts of water, that you will want to ad a small amount of chlorine to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

As part of your water storage and backup plan, you should have an emergency supply of water stored inside your go bag, your bugout bag, and your full feature/homestead bag. The best product we have found for this the Datrex Emergency Survival Water Pouches as they are affordable, last long in storage, and are guaranteed safe!

Purifying Water: cleaning your water before consumption and storage.

Something you should be keeping an eye on while collecting water is the level of it’s pureness and what potential contamination may be present. It’s a good idea to have pre-collected water on hand before any possible disaster strikes. There will be many things you will be watching for and listening too during the early stages of a disaster, the last thing you should be having to worry about is where you will be getting your water from.

As you work through your water storage plan, you should be making decisions on what you will do after your supplies are gone. Having a water collection, filtration, and purification plan in place before a disaster can make things a lot easier and lower your stress levels. Collecting rain water from your gutters has become a highly popular means of water replenishment.

In any case, you want to be sure that the water you are collecting or have collected is drinkable and safe. It can be very useful and time saving to set up a filtration unit between your water collection area and your water storage. Letting gravity do the work in filtering particles from your water will save you a step. The main purpose of filtering your water is to remove particle based contaminants. The most common filter used is a charcoal, or charcoal and sand based filter.

Once you have filtered your water, you will want to purify it. One of the best methods to purify water is by boiling it. Boiling water for approximately 10 minutes will kill off any potential bacteria. Even better yet, collecting the steam and allowing it to condensate back into a liquid will yield the most pure and clean water. The downside to this method is the amount of resources it takes to boil your water. If the power grid is down, you can’t simple just throw on the burner. In the best case, even using a wood fire can take an extremely long time, and the resources for a fire may not be available to you.

The next best solution to purifying your water is the AquaMira Military Water Purification Tablets we found a long while back and now carry in all of our survival bags. These are quite possibly the most important product for you to carry at any time. In less then 20 minutes you can have clean drinkable water. These tablets are so practical, that I actually give them as part of a gift for the holidays to my family members who are in to prepping.

Last resort: ensure your drinking water is safe.

There may come a time when no matter how well you prepare for a water shortage, you may find your self having to drink water you are not sure is pure and safe. It’s always a good idea to have a good supply built up for several months worth of water. But in the case of bugging out, and on the go, you supplies may shrink faster than you can replenish them. In times like these you may be forced to drink water quickly, or you may not have the time to go through the purifying process.

In extreme cases like these, it’s still important to do everything you can to ensure your water is as safe to drink as possible. This is why we keep a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter along side our purification tablets in every single survival bag we have. Each kid has one in their bags, and I even keep an extra one in my car. Although I am sure you have seen these LifeStraws a million times before, I highly recommend you pick your self up one. These also make for the perfect gift to any prepper you know!

No other choices.

It’s come down to the very worse case scenario. Your long term water supply has ran out completely. You have used up all your water purifying tablets, and your LifeStraw has be used beyond it’s recommended filtering ability. You have no way to boil water, but you must stay hydrated. Here are some last ditch steps to take when drinking water collected in an emergency.

  • Filter out large objects (Leaves, Sticks, Bugs, Etc)
  • Always try to collect your water from a moving resource. Still water collects bacteria and can go stagnant or collect contaminants.
  • Use your LifeStraw even after it’s recommended use. Worse case it’s still an extra barrier.
  • Using a small amount of bleach in collected water can help kill bacteria. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Creating a makeshift water filter from old charcoal and sand will filter water almost completely pure.
  • If at any time you have a fire going, always have water on boiling. Always be trying to replenish your water.


Hopefully this article has shed some light on the water preparation subject and will better prepare you for survival. That are loads more resources on the matter available online, and thousands of potential products relating to the matter. Each product that we have recommended in this article have been tried and tested by the 365Prepper crew and can be found in every survival bag we own. I would like to note that each link mentioned in this article is an affiliate link. When you make a purchase through this link, and at no extra cost to you, we will make a small amount which goes to giveaways, expenses, and future item review purchases. If you would like to learn more about the products we endorse, you can head over to our Resources page.

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Jesse Jones is an Owner at 365preppers.com and has been writing website content for over 8 years. Over the last 3 years Jesse has become an avid survival/prepper educationalist.


Jesse Jones is an Owner at 365preppers.com and has been writing website content for over 8 years. Over the last 3 years Jesse has become an avid survival/prepper educationalist.

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