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Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:06 am
by TurtleNomad
There were some excellent water storage suggestions in another thread, which folks kind of apologized for (even though they very appropriate), so I figured I'd spawn a fresh thread so we can thoroughly hash out this important subject. :)

First, a quick poll: how much water/etc do you really drink daily?
If you haven't monitored this, please do so for at least a week.

There's a lot of wrong "data" floating about the net, including government prep sites. Some even claim you need a gallon (3.8 L) per day just for drinking purposes. I suspect they're confusing the gallon per day rule of thumb, and don't grasp that's for all uses (which you folks do understand!).

If you're working outside in hot weather, and/or physically very active, then yes, a gallon or more is possible.

For the sedentary majority, that's way off.
Personally, I drink about 0.5 to 1.0 L per day, including soda, milk, juice, and water. I tracked that over a one month period, and found that I averaged one 355 mL soda per day, plus one gallon of water and milk per eight days.
Those are the numbers I use to target my actual needs vs goals. :)

How much do you actually drink?

Back to "general" water issues...

I agree completely with the water storage tips and recommendations you folks made in the original thread, including the importance of a water filter.

I do have three: a "Pur" filter on the kitchen faucet (which will be of no use if the water supply cuts out), a low-end Aquamira Frontier filter (the "straw" style) in my car, and a new cheap "100 gallon" filter that came with the Augason Farms bucket.

I definitely need to do some detailed research into the pros vs cons of each of those, particularly the new one.

My main (water) concern is contamination at the water treatment plant.

My current mitigation is to "quarantine" tap water (filtered by the Pur) for at least one week before using it. That way, most of the rest of my city acts as "my" canaries-in-a-coal-mine. If nobody gets sick in the week plus since I filled a jug, it's almost certainly safe.

Currently, I have three 1-gallon (3.8 L) jugs designated for rotating drinking water, with one in the fridge. When the fridge one is empty, I refill it, move the oldest jug into the fridge, move the middle-aged one forward, and put the freshly filled one behind it.
That's both simple and frugal/cheap. :)

I do not bother quarantining water that I'll be boiling as part of food prep.

I also have several gallon jugs of distilled water, and several 2L soda bottles refilled with filtered tap water. Plus, of course, about 18 gallons of soda in convenient cans. :)
There's also a nearby pond and a wetland area, so there's plenty of non-potable water suitable for flushing the toilet.

Right now, I have enough bottled water for a 'routine" natural disaster, but not enough for a comfortable prolonged (3-6 months) societal disruption such as a pandemic or persistent regular+cyber terrorism. I do have enough to "get by", but hygiene would, um, "suffer". Hmmm... I suspect Mountain Dew would be suboptimal for sponge baths. :)

Realistically, I am satisfied with what I have, since it's extremely unlikely that the water supply would be disrupted for multiple months. Not impossible, just very unlikely. Food and electricity are more likely to be issues. I'm now ok food wise (6+ months), but I need to look into small scale solar and more cooking fuel/devices.

Short term water purity issues are far more likely, hence my simple quarantine habit.

Thanks for bringing up the bath tub liners! Those definitely appeal to me as an easy way to bulk up.
Has anyone tried one?

I first read about them last year, and have one in my CTD shopping cart, but they're currently out of stock. Again, I'm basically ok with where I am, water wise, but it's such an essential that $20 to $40 for a backup is attractive. :)

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:53 am
by ak70g2
During my enlistement in the Romanian Marines, my instructors hammered in my head the old adage "the best place to store your water is in your own body", so I drink at least 4 liters/quarts (I think that's a gallon, we use the metric system here) per day, 6 liters in the summer, so I'm literally saturated with water.

I always drink tap water and never go sick from it in my 35 years of life. When I'm on the field, hiking, climbing or doing my SAR work, I use an swiss Katadyn hiker filter, or simply filter water through a t-shirt and boil it after. The second option is most used.

For water storage, me and my family use an 50 liters plastic barrel, we never had a water problem longer than 12 hours (I live in a small town, so our water company have a very good "reaction" at the problems).

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:35 am
by Name_not_found
I have a bit to say on this topic other than i drink at least 2 liters most likely closer to 4 a day but first:

Quarantine is a waste of time effort and space.

If there is Any question about bio nastys boil it or use purification pills.
(or get a proper filter)

Letting water sit for a week will only make it worse if it is contaminated, and if its not the chances of something growing in that time is very good.

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:30 pm
by Bypah
Is an interesting subject. I know how is to be without power and running potable water for months. :wink: Back in 98' hurricane Georges slammed Puerto Rico and sent us back to the beginning of thw 1900's for several months. :shock:
We had prepared ourselves but it was rough.We where lucky since my parents house have a river behind it ( have to go down a 100 ft. slope....) and we where able to use gravity pumps to get the water up when we had power so water discipline was a must. :mrgreen:

Here in Tornado Alley I keep my water supplies good enough for several days for two persons and a dog. Specially in winter time when snowstorms come. I know that I can also use the water tanks of both toilets and the water heater if necessary but the idea of the bathtub reserves is excellent not only for me but for my folks back home. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
When it comes to water containers I use recycled laundry detergent and softener jugs, the large ones with the spicket and cup. Once they empty I clean them up nice ly and they are a cheap alternative to expensive ones. :wink:
Hey, necesity is the mother of invention as they say.... :lol: :lol: :lol:

I always try to keep hydrated even though I drink waterpills for my BP.... :| :D

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:19 pm
by Treesuit

I can remember when I was serving in Iraq, the medical folks told us to comsume 2L of water a day whether or not we were doing anything strenuous. Later in the summer, we upped it to 4L especially when wearing body armor. 2L of water a day is a good rule of thumb. Unfortunately, after 2L of water, it starts to get old and tiresome. So, to combat that CAMELBACK makes electrolyte tablets for water bladders. They're good to have, they contain no sugar, but do taste lightly sweet and one tablet can treat 4qts of water and pump electrolytes back into your system. If you drink enough water you can "wash"/"flush" the electrolytes out of your system. Not good.

Other than that I just stick to water, and one cup of coffee in the a.m.

As for bath tub liners, I saw those over at CTD. They're quite an ingenous idea. I have a 55 gallon hand pump for a 55 gallon plastic drum I use to store water. I change the water out around 6 months, and add a few drops of bleach to combat the mold/fungi problem. I clean the drum out as well to be sure. 55 gallons is a lot, if in the event somehing horrific happens, I'm quite covered. If you figure it out it will normally be a few days before regular municipal services are back up and running. I also have a Brita water filter, and Kataydyn water pump, so for a few days it'll be a little rough.

If your concerned about personal cleaniness, then stock up on some baby wipes, and rubbing alcohol. It isn't the best but will do in a pinch.

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:02 am
by housil
Treesuit wrote: If you drink enough water you can "wash"/"flush" the electrolytes out of your system. Not good.
Actually not, only if do you have a renal disease. Your kidneys always control the amount of water/electrolytes that will be "flushed" out with your urin and keeps the acid alkaline ballance . You can see that if you drink a lot, your urin is very clear and does not smell this strong (diluted). If do you drink too little, your urin turns into very (dark) yellow and smells very "strong" (concentrated).
That is what your kidneys do to keep your system isotonic.

A real problem can be if do you drink too much into a too short time. You "water intoxicate" your self if do you drink more than you kidneys can "flush out".

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:52 am
by ak70g2
Housil is absolutely right, that's the indicator that I use. If my urine is anything than colorless, is time to drink water. And I love to drink mineral water :D

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:00 pm
by dirtbag
Mineral water flushes out everything! :lol:

Dealing with Questionable Water

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:45 pm
by Name_not_found
When dealing with questionable water several things must be considered.

These considerations are the same for any situation:

First know what you are up against, there are three primary problems that can effect water:

-Biological: Parasites, Bacteria and Viruses
-Chemical: Farm Runoff, Industrial Areas, Flooding of Towns, Combat Agents, Natural Deposits
-Nuclear: Fallout (A Military concern, this wont be covered more than saying fallout is dust, so keep the dust out of what your drinking and get away before you need more water)

Biological problems are both complex and simple.

The simple solution is to boil it
-That will kill all critters in the water

The more complex solutions include filtering, chemical purification and UV purification.
-Parasites are generally "large" and easiest to filter, most filters will say 99.999% reduction of Giardia and Cryptosporidium, chemicals are mostly effective but larger cysts may not be fully killed,care must be taken, UV will "neuter" the bugs by altering the DNA to the point they cannot reproduce
-Bacteria are much smaller down to .2 microns, so only certain filters will stop them, it will say it, and have tests to prove it. Chemical will kill them, UV the same as above
-Viruses are even smaller and other than osmosis you cant really filter them, chemical is the classic solution, UV is the same as above very effective.

Chemical problems are solved by carbon
-Activated charcoal will absorb chemicals, pesticides, toxins pretty much everything but biological issues. Its the same stuff they use to pump your stomach, most brita and pur filters are carbon filters, some camping filters also use carbon to improve flavor.
-It must be replaced often to remain effective.

With that in mind:
Boiling takes fuel and time
Chemicals taste bad and take time and may not be fool proof
UV needs clear water

So what to do?
1.Know what your dealing with (above)
2. Try to start with as clear and clean of water as you can.
-In a city the water should be clear and free of junk, not so much in the field. Let murky or turbid water settle, use a t shirt or bandanna or sock (no fabric softener) to prefilter
3.Treat your water
4.Use careful discipline not to contaminate the clean water with dirty water

For Example:
Pre-filter, filter, UV

Pre-filter your water and put that in a container.
This is 1 liter
Get a filter, this one is $20-$25 US and good for 50 gallons
Frontier Pro
Always Read the Features:
Giardia and Cryptosporidium and Chemicals, NOT bacteria or viruses
Hook up the filter
Pull off bite valve
Gravity works, or you can squeeze to speed it up
At this point all that i have to worry about is Bio issues, so lets handle them
Steripen UV lamp about $100 US there are several models
UV in action, 90 seconds to cover the 24oz mess cup
All done:
Tools and Clean water ready to drink
This is just one example, but follow the guidelines with what ever setup you have to be safe

Re: Water: general tips/issues, and usage poll

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:56 am
by ak70g2
Nice to see that Platypus bottle in action. Very good product, I have an black MSR Dromedary Bag, is a b-day gift form a girl friend and I love to use and abuse.

Also, from my experience, the Micropur tabs from Katadyn are very good.