Finding Water in the City During a Catastrophe 1


People living in urban environments are essentially at the mercy of their utility companies. You must rely on the power company, the gas company and you have to trust that your local water treatment plant is properly treating your drinking water making it safe for you and your family. You need a certain amount of hydration every day, up to two quarts, on average, to survive. You probably do not give it much thought as you go about your daily routine, but what happens when the power company fails or the water treatment plant has a malfunction, can you get the proper amount of hydration when your faucets run dry?

Once the tap runs dry, other sources of water can be collected from your surrounding environment. Additional sources include swimming pools, hot tubs, public fountains, ponds, lakes, and streams that may run through city parks. These water sources however, must be filtered and purified before they are considered safe to drink.

Boiling water in many experts’ minds is the most reliable method of water purification, yet in some circumstances, you may not have the necessary heat source or the proper container. Other effective methods include using common household bleach, and two percent liquid iodine. Typically, the bleach you purchase for household use contains sodium hypochlorite, which is simply liquid chlorine. Sodium hypochlorite must be the active ingredient in the bleach with at least a five percent content. Do not use bleach with fragrances or other additives.

Layer all available filtering mediums for the best results. You can cut the top or bottom off a two-liter plastic soda bottle and either remove the cap or place a hole(s) in the bottom. One hole works best to direct the water, if you are filtering into a small opening such as a canteen or water bottle. Why must you filter? Bacteria and waterborne cysts can essentially be shielded, by debris in the water, from the effects of boiling or chemical treatment.

After you have filtered the water into a container, the water must come to a rolling boil for one minute and for three minutes if you are well above sea level. There is less air pressure at higher elevations, which means that water boils at a lower temperature. Therefore, it must boil longer to destroy any bacteria, pathogens and parasites in the water.

Measure the bleach using an eyedropper. Use two containers, one for collection and one for purification. The collection container must have the outside sanitized before it can be used for drinking water. Filter from the collection vessel into a clean container. The ratio is 8 drops of bleach for every one-gallon of water. Once you have added the bleach shake the container well and wait at least 30 minutes before drinking. Smell the water after 30 minutes, it should have a chlorine smell to it, and if not add up to 8 additional drops and wait 30 more minutes. Do not add more than 16 drops of bleach to any one gallon of water.

Use the two-container method described, to collect and filter the water source. Add five drops of iodine to a one quart/liter container of water or 20 drops per gallon. Seal, shake well and allow 30 minutes before drinking.

Caution: Do not use Betadine (topical antiseptic) which has the generic name 10% Povidone-iodine to purify water. Even though it is iodine once it is added to water, there is no way to calculate the actual amount of free iodine present. It is recommended that you do not consume iodine treated water for more than two weeks at a time. You should not drink iodine treated water if you have thyroid issues or are pregnant or nursing. These methods are for informational purposes only and this information should not be considered medical advice.

Preppers need to take their water storage and purification needs seriously. By prepping today, you can help make certain your family’s safety in the future.