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By May 11, 2012 Read More →

Collecting Water For Survival or to Save Money on Your Water Bill


water
Something most of us take for granted is water.  We never really have a need for it outside of turning on the tap, so what happens when you can no longer do that?  Where will you get more water?  The most obvious place is the store right?  Come on now, that’s to easy!  What about when you live out in the country and your water gets shut off?  Or your well water is contaminated?  What if we suddenly get hit with an EMP and lose all electricity?  (Our water pumps are electric) Then what will you do?  How will you collect water if you don’t have your water purified and stored properly?  In this article, my goal is to teach you a few ways to collect water outside of the norm.

The first thing that comes to mind for me is possible disasters that could cause you to lose power or water for days at a time.  If you know that a tornado/earth quake is headed your way then the smart thing to do would be to fill every container you can find with water for drinking.  Fill up all your bathtubs, buckets, washing machine and whatever else you might have.  Another source of immediate water is your water heaters.  They store water constantly.  If a tornado can rip trees up out of the ground it can destroy water sources to the community also.  Better safe than sorry.  This rule goes for any disaster that could threaten your water supply.

Note: If you’re having to use a water heater as a source for water make sure and turn off any gas valves or electricity connected to the tank to avoid fires.

Toilet water or the water in the back of the tank is NOT safe to drink.

morning dewMorning Dew

Those are a few of the more obvious ways to obtain water in an emergency.  So now let’s talk about the not so average ways.  If you’re an early riser then I am sure you have noticed the dew on the ground.  If you’re hurting for water you can tie anything that absorbs water around your ankle and walk through the grass.  Remove the cloth and wring the moisture out into a container.  Another way is to take a rag and gently swipe it over the grass, trees, leaves and non-poisonous plants and then wring it out.  This way of collecting water is very, very slow and tedious.  You won’t get much water, but it’s better than nothing if you have none.

Tapping a Birch Tree

Birch trees are amazing and they hold so much water.  I would suggest planting a birch tree somewhere near your home or within walking distance if you don’t already have them around you somewhere.  I understand this is not feasible for a lot of people, it is only a suggestion as a backup for water.  Birch trees are very easy to tap for clean drinking water.  You will need a knife and a container to catch the water in. Here is an amazing video so you have a visual.  After watching the video you can see how easy this method is.  If you make a plug for your tap then you can come back to the same spot and use the tap again. Remember though, you don’t want to use too many taps and drain the tree so much it harms the tree.

Rain Waterrainwater/tarp

Rain water is relatively safe to collect and there are many ways to do so.  You can have a rain barrel designed to collect rainwater or buckets outside.  The bad thing about rainwater is it is unpredictable and you never know when you’re going to get water from the sky.

One of my personal favorites is to set up your rain barrel or bucket with a tarp fashioned above it in a funnel shape.  This way you have a wider area of rain funneling into your bucket and you collect much more rain. Take into consideration the wind though, with rain comes wind.  If you can secure your tarp properly to the bucket, try to set it up in a manner where the wind would blow more rain into the tarp so it would drain down into your barrel or bucket.  Tarps are more practical and collect more rainwater than most other ways.  An added plus is they are easier to store and transport and have many other uses such as shelter or to cover the ground to sit or sleep on.

If your child has a pool in the yard, this would also be an ideal way to collect rainwater.

Remembering that when it rains it usually rains 1-2 inches at a time, so the bigger the area of collection the more water you will get.

No matter where you live, if you collect the rain before it comes in contact with anything then it is safe to drink without treatments, this even includes acid rain.  If there is ever a chemical or nuclear war however, the rain may not be safe to drink for some time.

Should you live in an area where there is heavy smog in the air, the rain usually takes about 20 minutes to clear that out, so if you can, wait before collecting for drinking water.   But if you’re in a situation where you need that water right away and you have a water filter, then make sure and filter/purify your water before drinking it.  In emergency situations, I would have multiple areas to collect water for such things as flushing the toilet, washing clothes or other things, watering plants during dry spells etc. Let no water go to waste!! :)

Rain gutters are another way to collect rain water, but it’s also very dirty. You would need to filter and purify this water for sure.  There are multiple ways to reroute your water into a big barrel by sort of splicing your rain gutter so to speak, so that your water flow goes into the barrel.

I have also heard of people using their para-cord or a clothes line and hanging bed sheets on them gathered up in the middle and then placing buckets or big cooking pots under them.  Then the water that the sheet collects flows into the bucket.  On occasion go outside to wring the sheet into the bucket.  I’m sure this method would require a heavy rain fall.

Tip: If you make collecting rain water a habit, you can save major bucks on your water bill if you use the collected water for things like watering your lawn or garden, washing your car or other outside items.

Snow or Ice

Important note: NEVER put snow or ice inside your mouth to melt.  It will dehydrate you quickly.  Always melt the snow or ice in a container first and then drink.  If you worry it might be dirty snow, then simply boil for 1 to 2 minutes.

You can collect snow in buckets or containers and allow it to melt next to a fire or heat source.  Another method, if you have a plastic bag of some sort, would be to place the snow in the bag and hang it in the sun to melt.

Ground Water:

Ground water should be your LAST resort.  It is dirty and full of disease and germs.  So no matter where you collect ground water from, it needs to be filtered and purified.  The best time to collect ground water from creeks, rivers, or streams is before it rains.  After it rains the water is usually very muddy.

If you’re in the woods or camping and trying to collect ground water, you will always need to purify and filter it.  If you don’t, chances are, you will get very sick.  Just remember this, in the wild animals use the bathroom anywhere and everywhere.  Would you want to drink that?  More than likely any water in the wilderness is contaminated with some sort of feces, so to avoid getting sick always purify the water you drink.

In in the wild, and all else fails, look for animal tracks and follow the animals.  They will lead you to water.  If you come up on a watering hole try to follow it up stream until you find the water that flows.  Collect your water, filter and purify and drink up!!

Regardless of how you chose to collect water in your time of need, make sure it is safe!  Be creative and find the method that is best for you.  Remember too always save unused rain water for other needs that come about.  You can never have to much water!  If you have any other great ways to collect water please feel free to teach us all in the comments area.

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Please visit my store: Jalapeño Gal’s Survival Surplus

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Cari is an editor and author for American Preppers Network. Her family currently live in Georgia. Cari spends her free time gardening, canning, testing products for review, helping others prepare and going to the gym. She believes preparedness is about love and taking care of your family. Cari also has her own website where she shares all of her preparedness articles and her recipes for canning, dehydrating, juicing, basic cooking. To have a look and hopefully follow her: Click Here! Please Join My New Blog!

15 Comments on "Collecting Water For Survival or to Save Money on Your Water Bill"

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  1. michelle says:

    hey jalapeno girl…love the article as it’s very useful to my readers!  A great, and the only way I know to really purify even the dirtiest water is with a natural solution…why is everyone storing 55 gallon drums, when all you really need is space for a 32oz bottle of solution proven to “clean” water…keep up the “fun” posts!  Michelle from MicaPureWater.com  …

  2. charlotte says:

    What about rain barrels underneath your downspout? You can also use the tarp idea for dew. And dont forget your barrel cactus!

  3. Absolutely! Anything that would catch water and allow you to purify it or use it. I am not familiar with a rain cactus. Could you please explain what this is?

  4. charlotte says:

    If you live in a desert that has barrel cactus you can cut it open and suck out the moisture in an emergency. Barrel cactus are squat and look lika barrel. Their needles are shaped like fish hooks. Also the saguaro cactus swells when it rains and conserves the moisture. However never cut into a saguaro cactus as they fall over easily and can squish you. You could also eat the prickly pear cactus fruit after you burn off the fuzzy needles. But always beware of cactus as they “bite”.

  5. There is also the upside down umbrella – I tell my apartment dwelling friends that they can use those out on their balcony to catch rain water. Also a tarp or shower curtain extended between two poles from an apartment balcony will catch rain water. 

  6. Papa says:

    Just some extra thought for water. Remember homes and apartments have hot water heaters

    that
    store 15 – 40 gallons of water, and dwellings that may have hot water heat will have a boiler system. There is also the options of water line in homes, etc. these lines can be drained.

    All water has good usage, semi rough water can be used for watering potted veggies and or gardens. A website called RBN network has mentions entrails being disprused in the sky, (gov’t)

    intervention, there may be chemicals in rain water we can’t get out. Good luck and God Bless.

    Papa

  7. Matt Funk says:

    I have a 300 gallon plastic container that I collect rain water in from my gutter system. I filter it from the gutter with a panty hose. What is the best way to treat this water to keep it fresh? Should I dump so much bleach in with it or what? Every so often I will let about 100 gallons out when I know it’s about to rain again so I keep adding fresh water to it. I have had the problem of the inside of the container turning green after a few months. I then emptied it totally and cleaned it and started over. What will work for this problem?

    • For a 300 gallon rain barrel it is suggested that you clean it out every 6months. What color is your rain barrel? The lighter color barrels are likely to grow algae and I was advised to use dark green or black if it is for drinking water.

      That being said, if your wanting to drink the water I would highly recommend a water purification system in a barrel that big.

      Here is a link to one that is easy to install: http://www.raintankdepot.com/c-3092/ozone-pure-water-systems

      You could also install a reverse osmosis system as well, but i believe that is mostly for chemicals and contaminants found in tap water.

  8. Jesse Banke says:

    sooo… did I miss something? the best source of water wasn’t covered… A water well

    • i believe I covered it in the first paragraph. This article was geared toward collecting water out side of the normal ways of obtaining water or if your current water was contaminated (well water)

      JG

  9. For a 300 gallon rain barrel it is suggested that you clean it out every 6months. What color is your rain barrel? The lighter color barrels are likely to grow algae and I was advised to use dark green or black if it is for drinking water.

    That being said, if your wanting to drink the water I would highly recommend a water purification system in a barrel that big.

    Here is a link to one that is easy to install: http://www.raintankdepot.com/c-3092/ozone-pure-water-systems

    You could also install a reverse osmosis system as well, but i believe that is mostly for chemicals and contaminants found in tap water.
    Also, here is the woman I speak with when it comes to purification systems. She is pretty knowledgeable.

    Julia Hinojosa
    Tank Depot
    866-926-5603 ext 218

  10. @ jesse banke i believe I covered it in the first paragraph. This article was geared toward collecting water out side of the normal ways of obtaining water or if your current water was contaminated (well water)



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