Water is the liquid of life, without it you will die of thirst in 3 maybe 4 days. Which I think would be preferable to what could happen if you drink contaminated water. The World Health Organization estimated in 2000 that there were four billion cases of diarrhoea caused by drinking contaminated water. The same report stated that drinking contaminated water can lead to cholera, typhoid, dysentery, dracunculiasis, or schistosomiasis. I don’t even know what the last two are but they sound exceptionally nasty. I do know the first three will incapacitate you for extended periods of time making you an easy target for any zombie that wanders by in search of a meal and if that doesn’t happen then odds are you will most likely die in a very unpleasant manner.
Being in Canada we have the huge advantage of having the worlds largest fresh water supply with in our borders. And as Canadians we take for granted everyday that when we turn the tap in our houses that clean safe drinking water will flow from the faucet. However it would not take much for that water to stop flowing. Something as simple as a broken water main, or a broken down pumping station could stop the flow. You can be guaranteed that during a zombie apocalypse or extended emergency the people who maintain these systems will not be going to work or have the resources they need to do their jobs meaning it will only be a matter of time (very little time) before the taps are dry. Which is all the reason you should need to have a plan in place to secure clean drinking water for you and yours in the event of a zombie apocalypse or any other disaster.
While researching this blog entry I crunched some numbers and was surprised by how much weight and space a daily water supply can take up. Every person needs 2 litres of water per day to stay hydrated. 1 litre of water weighs 1Kg (2.2lbs). So your water supply will weigh 2Kgs per day. This doesn’t sound like much but it starts to add up pretty quick. Water for one person for 3 days is 6Kgs. Then there is the space 6 litres of water will take up. 6 litres of water is equal to 6000 cubic centimetres. Picture a box 60cmX60cmX60cm (approximately 2’X2’X2′). That is a fair amount of room used up just for water. Now imagine trying to carry that on your back or store in your vehicle along with all your other gear. Suddenly that water isn’t looking so light or little. The other thing to remember about these numbers is that they are for an average person basically sitting around not doing a whole lot of anything. If you are exerting yourself; by say running through the woods to escape a horde of flesh eating monsters; these numbers are going to increase exponentially.
The other option you have is to gather water and purify it as needed. The ZRS and Zombie Survival guide as well as other survivalists suggest using abandoned water heaters as a source of water. This may work well in a urban setting but not so good in rural areas. In a rural area you will have to know where the water sources are. If you can find a hydro-graphic map of your area you will be doing well. If this is not possible (which it probably isn’t) you will have to go out into your region and find sources of water for yourself and mark them on a map. Remember only major bodies of water will be on an average scale map. Most streams, creeks, ponds and other small bodies of water will not.
Okay, you’re doing well. You have secured a water source, whether it is from a water heater, tap, well, stream, lake or any other source you have to make sure it is safe to drink. To do this you first have to filter the water, this is just to get any big nasty things out of the water, you don’t want bits of wood or bugs or worst in the water you are drinking. This can be done with cheese cloth or a t-shirt or any reasonable material you have (nylons work very well). Now you need to kill anything in that water you can’t see. The easiest and safest way to do this is to bring the water to a full boil then leave it at a boil for at least 1 minute; more if you think the water is particularly nasty. The altitude you are at will affect the boiling time as well. Water boils at 100ºC at sea level and drops the higher you go. So the higher your altitude the longer you have to boil your water. Once you are done boiling your water you should add some bleach or iodine to it; this should take care of anything the boiling didn’t kill. When adding bleach or iodine to your drinking water you have to be extremely careful because just a little too much will make you sick or kill you. Health link BC has a good site dedicated to purifying drinking water here. I strongly suggest you check it out and DO NOT attempt any of this prior to receiving proper training on the topic.
If you are not inclined to boil your water and add things to it you can try one of the many portable UV water purifiers on the market today. I searched the web and found a multitude of them; however none of them actually inspired a whole lot of confidence. Personally I think I would stick with the tried and true method of boiling and bleach.
After researching this blog entry I can tell you that I will be reevaluating my plan for securing clean drinking water and adding a few things to both my bug out bags and my stockpile because I want to be able to ask myself the all important question ‘Are you prepared?’ when it comes to water and be able to answer yes.