water

All posts tagged water

winter-water

By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

“Water, water, everywhere,” wrote Coleridge, in application to the ancient mariner of his prose.  The big difference, though, is his water was not potable, as it was the ocean.  The water I’m referring to in this piece is the water that is all around you in the winter, and the importance of consuming the proper amount of water to prevent dehydration.  Be advised: your needs for water do not decrease; rather, they increase due to stressors that are different on the human body.

The tendency is to not drink as much when the weather is cold.  This is a natural thing, as people usually (even when thirsty during the winter) do not wish to drink cold beverages.  Conversely, they prefer warm beverages that are (usually) caffeinated, such as coffee or tea.  As a die-hard coffee drinker, I know from experience that you must offset the caffeine consumption (to a degree) with an increased intake of water.  At the end of this article, I’ll mention more on this.

How the Body Loses Water During Winter Months

With increased activity, there are many ways that a person loses water.  Diaphoresis (sweating/perspiration) is one way, and insensible water loss is also increased, examples being water lost from the eyeballs and from respiration.  People breathe out 1-2 glasses of water per day.  Urination is another way that water is lost, the composition of urine being about 95% water and 5% miscellaneous solids.  The needs (on average) of water consumption in humans is about a gallon per day, with kids needing a little less except when they’re extremely active.

Water is Fuel

During the winter, you’ll need about a quarter to a half extra water than your body normally requires, and this increases further if you are working hard physically or exerting yourself.  Remember what is happening in the cold weather.  Your body is burning up calories and extra sugar and carbohydrates to heat your muscle tissue.  This requires a tremendous amount of metabolic energy, down to the cellular level.  Water is fuel: never forget that.  With the increased cold temperatures, your metabolism works harder to stay warm.  Food intake is critical, and so is water.

As mentioned earlier, you may (due to the cold and a desire to not drink that accompanies it) take in more food than water.  This, too, is not good for you.  I don’t want to get into proponents of eating your food and drinking sparingly to allow hydrochloric acid in your stomach to digest more efficiently.  That may be, but more importantly, you need liquid to consume your food.  Remember, if you do not drink, your body will rob what water is in and between the cells (that is, inter, and intracellular fluid, respectively) to digest the food.  We learned it thoroughly in SERE school: Thou shalt not eat until thou canst drink.  You must be able to drink in for your body not to take from itself to digest the food.  If you do not drink, then you’re dehydrating yourself when you eat.

The appearance of your urine is a good indicator of your level of hydration.  Dark yellow urine means you need water.  Your body excretes the waste it must excrete on a regular basis; nevertheless, the body will reabsorb as much water as possible to conserve it.  The urine will be thicker with more solutes (dissolved substances, such as sodium) in it.  This brings us to the secondary problem: your body needs to excrete wastes but you’ll be losing electrolytes.  Your food replaces the electrolytes, but if you have no food readily available, you want to supplement and not just drink excessive quantities of water.  Too much water can flush out your electrolytes.

Remember: thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  In a survival situation, do not eat snow.  The eating of snow robs your body of calories (as explained earlier) to enable itself to melt the snow into water, and in addition, lowers your body temperature.  You can melt it over a fire, in which case it is worth it.  I highly recommend a small folding stove with hexamine tablets.  Each tablet burns for about 9 minutes…plenty of time to melt some snow, ice, or icicles for your water.  As mentioned in times past, the U.S. Army issue canteen cup is a great thing to have, made of steel.  It can take a beating and be set on a campfire or on a little portable stove with good results.

It is very difficult to keep water on hand when you’re dealing with subzero temperatures.  Most urban and suburban residents are always able to duck into a store and purchase whatever they want…for now.  People in more remote or less dense areas may have a bit of a problem.  Living where I do, I have a real problem. What I do is pack two thermoses (Aladdin’s) with hot water, and then wrap the outside with towels to further insulate them.  This ensures that I have a supply of drinkable water when I leave the house for up to 24 hours without freezing.

I also tote electrolyte packets and bouillon cubes with me, as well as my ever-present jar of instant coffee.  Returning to my earlier note, whatever you drink as far as coffee and tea are concerned?  Don’t deviate from that, and your body will compensate for the caffeine consumption so that it will not affect you in the same manner as if you were drinking that amount for the first time.  I usually have five cups a day, and my coffee is very strong.  Most people would shake akin to a leaf and be hitting the restroom all day long.

But perhaps you get the gist of the article: you need to maintain your consumption of water, even during the wintertime.  You should also have access to fire-starting materials and things such as hand warmers/chemical heat producers.  You don’t know when the need will arise for you to melt some water.  If you can keep a Camelback handy and keep the water pouch near your body heat to keep it from freezing, all the better.  Just have a source of water, and a means to replenish that source when it runs out.  During the winter, you don’t want to be dehydrated.  And if the SHTF, or if there’s a winter emergency?  These measures can mean the difference between life and death.  Stay hydrated, stay safe, and bundle up…the winter’s just starting!  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Why Drinking More Water During Winter Is Crucial to Your Survival

 About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

 

Advertisements

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

While we would love to be able to trust the liquid flowing from our faucets, anyone who pays even half-hearted attention to the news knows that we can no longer expect safety in our drinking water unless we confirm it ourselves. 

The EPA and Michigan’s Gov. Snyder have now added to the list of reasons that I have trust issues. Water is one of the most important survival topics around – it’s so important to me that I wrote an entire book about it.

Every day, new horrors are being uncovered in relation to the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Residents of the city have been drinking water that was presumably safe for the past year without knowing that it was actually contaminated with chemical byproducts, E. coli, Legionnaires’ disease and lead. It appears that both the EPA and the governor of Michigan knew the water was unsafe for quite some time, but no one said a word to warn the people of Flint. To heap insult onto injury, the water company has had the audacity to bill people for the poisoned water and has even sent out shut-off notices.

So, do you really think you can trust the water flowing from your own taps? If Flint was the last straw for you, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and test your drinking water for contaminants. Whether your water source is private or municipal, the onus for your family’s safety is on you.

Where to get a water testing kit

Water testing kits are readily available on Amazon. 

  • The Watersafe Well Water Test Kit was specifically designed to help you test quickly and easily for the 10 most common contaminants found in private well water, including: iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness. (order here)
  • The PurTest Home Water Analysis kit is a comprehensive EPA-based test kit that allows you to quickly and easily test your drinking water  for various contaminants and conditions. Tests included: 1 test each for bacteria, lead, & pesticide. Two (2) tests each for iron, alkalinity, pH, hardness, chlorine, copper, nitrate & nitrite.  (order here)
  • The Essential Indicators test is the most thorough, but you have to send the water to their lab to get the results. The test checks for 170 health-related contaminants including Volatile Organic Compounds, Essential Elements, Heavy Metals and Inorganic Chemicals. You simply fill the bottles with your tap water and return them to our lab using the same box you received with the test kit. Within about 6 business days you will receive an email containing the results of your water test along with recommended treatment suggestions if a problem was found. The one family of contaminants that you will test for yourself are pathogenic bacteria, which, if present, can cause infectious diseases. (order here)

From a preparedness perspective, it makes sense to keep a few of these DIY kits on hand in the event you need to test water during a disaster situation. (Obviously, not the one you have to send off to a lab.)

Be sure to also test the pH of your water. Your water’s pH level is very important because if it is too low or too high, it can cause corrosion of lead and copper from household plumbing.  To be safe, drinking water should not have a pH lower than 6.5 or greater than 8.5.

Following, please find an excerpt from my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide. Chapter 9 of the book discusses the importance of testing your own water, how to do it, and what to test for.

…We’ve already discussed the infinite possibilities for contaminants in water sources. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, nitrate, PPCPs, and toxic chemicals could be lurking beneath the surface of virtually any water source you can think of. It is safest to assume at least some of those pollutants and impurities are present and plan accordingly.

Even if you are getting presumably safe “city water” from a municipal supply, you should be provided with an annual report that explains what kind of testing was done on your water and what was found, if anything. Of course, if you aren’t the trusting type, you can still test that water yourself as an added precaution.

If you have a well or are collecting water from a source that is not monitored and regulated, you will need to take responsibility for testing and purifying your water yourself.

Studies have shown that around 50 percent of private water systems fail at least one drinking water standard.[1]

Many common pollutants do not cause water to smell, taste, or look funny, so you can’t rely on your senses to determine safety.

Water is a “universal solvent,” meaning that it has the ability to dissolve almost anything it comes into contact with. This characteristic means that it is very easily contaminated.

Most testing isn’t expensive, and the time and financial investment will provide you with priceless peace of mind. Not only is your family’s health at stake, there are possible legal consequences involved. Think about how litigious our society is: If someone consumes your water and becomes ill, you’ll want to be able to prove that you conducted the proper testing on a regular basis. And, should you suspect your water supply has become contaminated by an outside source, you’ll want to have documentation to support your case.

 Testing Kits

You can test your water yourself or have a professional lab or service do it for you. Drinking water quality test kits are available for purchase online and at most superstores and home improvement stores. Basic kits usually test for bacteria, lead, nitrates/nitrites, pesticides, chlorine, hardness, and pH. They are fast, simple to use, and inexpensive. Your test kit will have instructions specific to that kit. Kits that test for less-common contaminants are also available. Some test for 15 or more contaminants, including the ones in the basic testing kits, plus iron, sulfate, copper, and sulfide.

Even more in-depth testing kits are available, but most of them require you to send your samples to a professional lab. Most of them check your water for around 100 different contaminants, including volatile organic compounds, toxic metals, heavy metals, and bacteria. The pricing for these comprehensive kits is typically in the $100 range, and results can take about a week to receive.

What to Test For

At a bare minimum, you should test your water once a year for coliform bacteria and nitrates because of the serious health risks associated with those contaminants.

It is best to test for nitrate during the spring or summer following a rainy period, if possible.

If someone in your household becomes pregnant, test your water supply for nitrate in early months of the pregnancy. Test it again before bringing a newborn home, and again during the first six months of the baby’s life. Remember, in the body, nitrate is converted into nitrite, which can cause brain damage and death in infants because it reduces the amount of oxygen in the baby’s blood. .

Test for total dissolved solids and pH every one to three years. These tests will provide you with an overall picture of the health of your water. The total dissolved solids content of drinking water should be below 500 milligrams per liter (mg/L). This value should not change much from test to test. If it does, further testing is necessary because it is likely that pollution has occurred.

Lead

Lead is a naturally-occurring element that can be found in air, soil, and water. Lead from natural sources is present in tap water to some extent, but analysis of both surface and groundwater suggests that lead concentration is generally fairly low. The main source of lead in drinking water is (old) lead piping and lead-combining solders. Homes that were built before 1986 are more likely to have pipes made of lead, but even “lead-free” piping can contain up to 8 percent lead. If you don’t have lead pipes in your house, your water probably doesn’t contain any; it is rarely found in source water.

Even though it is unlikely that your water supply contains lead (unless you have lead pipes), testing for it is a good idea.

Lead can damage various systems of the body, including the nervous and reproductive systems, the kidneys, and the bones. It also can cause high blood pressure and anemia and can interfere with the body’s use of calcium and vitamin D. High amounts of lead in the blood of children can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and mental retardation, all of which may be irreversible. At very high levels, lead can cause convulsions, coma, and death.[2]

If your water source tests positive for lead, you’ll need to use a filtration system that is certified for lead removal or find a safer drinking water source.

Arsenic

Something else you don’t want in your water supply is arsenic. This naturally-occurring element is found in rocks, soil, water, air, plants, and animals. Natural events like volcanic activity, forest fires, and erosion of rocks can cause it to be actively released into the environment. Arsenic is also used in agricultural and industrial practices and is used in some fertilizers, paints, dyes, metals, drugs, and soaps. It is also used as a wood preservative and can be released by mining and coal burning.

Arsenic is highly toxic and can affect nearly every organ system in the body.

There are short- and long-term health effects associated with arsenic exposure. Some effects appear within hours or days of exposure, and others develop over many years.

Long-term exposure to arsenic through drinking contaminated water can cause chronic arsenic poisoning, leading to life-long problems. This most commonly affects the skin in the form of lesions, discolorations, thickening, and cancer. Cancer of the bladder, lungs, prostate, kidneys, nasal passages, and liver are other possible devastating diseases arsenic can cause.

Arsenic can also affect the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological (with symptoms including numbness and partial paralysis), reproductive, and endocrine systems.

Severe arsenic poisoning can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These symptoms are followed by numbness and tingling of the extremities, muscle cramping, and, in extreme cases, death.[3]

Water that contains high amounts of arsenic should not be used for drinking, cooking, or watering crops. Plants can take up arsenic through their roots, causing the product of the plant to contain high levels of arsenic, which is then passed on to the person or animal who consumes it. Rice has been found to have particularly high levels of arsenic, so much so that many holistic nutrition experts recommend eating rice infrequently or not at all.

Groundwater sources tend to have higher levels of arsenic than surface water sources. That’s because the demand on groundwater is usually higher. It is more commonly used in municipal systems and private wells. This heavy use can cause water levels to drop, allowing arsenic to be released from rock formations.

Certain regions of the United States tend to have higher levels of arsenic in their water supplies. The EPA’s standard is 10 parts per billion (ppb), and some western states have levels that are higher than that. Some parts of the Midwest and New England have levels that high, or close to it.[4]

Because of this toxic element’s prevalence in the environment, testing your water source for arsenic contamination is a good idea. Most home-testing kits cost less than $15, and you’ll see your results within minutes.

Radon

Radon is a gas that comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in the ground. It has no color, odor, or taste. Radon can dissolve and accumulate in groundwater, which means it can be found in water from wells. Not all groundwater contains radon, but drinking water that contains it can cause internal organ cancers like stomach cancer.

You can buy a simple kit to test your water source for radon, or you can contact your state radon office for assistance.

Fluoride

Fluoride is an ionic compound that contains a reactive element called fluorine. It is naturally found in many rocks

Because it is believed to protect teeth from decay, it has been added to public water supplies since the 1940s. By 1960, water fluoridation had become widely used in the US, reaching about 50 million people.[5]  This is also the main reason my family never, ever consumes municipal water if we are in an area that deliberately adds the compound to the public supply.

The incidence of tooth decay has declined in the United States since fluoridation began; however, it has also declined in other countries that do not fluoridate. Many argue the reduction in tooth decay is because of more accessible dental care and better dental hygiene, not water fluoridation.

Backing them up is research conducted within the last 15 years that has shown that fluoride primarily works topically, such as when it is applied to the teeth in toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Water fluoridation has been the subject of much controversy, and for good reason. Studies have shown that fluoride intake may cause a startling array of serious health problems, including increased risk of bone fractures, thyroid disorders, impaired immune system functioning, and cardiovascular disease. There is also some evidence that fluoride can cause osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Researchers suspect a connection to cancer because half of ingested fluoride is deposited in bones, and fluoride stimulates growth in the end of bones, where osteosarcoma occurs.[6]

A study published in the fall of 2012 in Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between high fluoride levels found naturally in drinking water in China and elsewhere in the world, and lower IQs in children. The paper looked at the results of 27 different studies, 26 of which found a link between high-fluoride drinking water and lower IQ. The average IQ difference between high and low fluoride areas was 7 points, the study found.[7]

Children aged eight years and younger have an increased chance of developing dental fluorosis. In mild cases, this shows in white streaks on the teeth. In severe cases, it can include brown stains, pitting, and broken enamel. As of 2010, 41 percent of children from ages 12 to 15 had some level of dental fluorosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[8]

Fluoride consumption over a lifetime may increase the likelihood of bone fractures, and may result in skeletal fluorosis, a painful and potentially crippling disease. The EPA has determined that safe exposure of fluoride is below 4 mg/L in drinking water to avoid those effects.

Naturally occurring fluoride concentrations in surface waters are generally low, but that depends on location. However, groundwater can contain much higher levels than the 4 mg/L recommended maximum.

Community water systems in areas with levels higher than that are required to lower the fluoride level below the acceptable standard. But the levels in private water sources, such as wells, may still be higher.

This means you will need to test your well water for fluoride, and will need to remove the fluoride if your levels are above 4 mg/L.

When Should You Test Your Water?

Even if your water is crystal-clear, odorless, and tastes great, you still should test it for contaminants and pollutants on a regular basis. But sometimes there are signs that your water supply may need to be tested even more frequently. Here are some of those signs, and what they might mean.

Taste and Odor

  • Strong chlorine taste or smell. Generally this occurs when the water is treated at a water treatment plant to disinfect it and kill off bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
  • Metallic taste. Some water systems have a high mineral concentration, resulting in a salty or soda-like taste. In the case of iron and manganese, a strong metallic taste is noticeable.
  • Rotten egg smell. This is usually a result of decaying organic material underground. As water flows through these areas, hydrogen sulfide gas is picked up. When the water reaches the surface or comes out of your faucet, the gas is released into the air. Hydrogen sulfide gas is what produces the rotten egg smell. In large enough quantities, it is toxic to aquarium fish. You’ll be able to taste as little as 0.5 parts per million (ppm) in your water. If your water smells like rotten eggs, it also may indicate the presence of bacteria.
  • Musty or other unnatural or unusual smells. These smells are normally a result of organic matter or even some pesticides in the water supply. Even very low amounts can make your water smell funny.
  • Turpentine taste or odor. This smell can be a result of MTBE contamination in your water. MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is a flammable, colorless liquid fuel oxygenate chemical that dissolves easily in water. MTBE is added to gasoline to increase its oxygen content to lower carbon monoxide and other air pollutants that are emitted from vehicles. While MTBE may help reduce air pollutants, it certainly isn’t good for your drinking water. It spreads quickly through water and can easily contaminate it. This includes private drinking water systems like wells. Even a small amount will make your water undrinkable. According to the EPA, MTBE has not been used in significant quantities in gasoline since 2005. But groundwater in some areas of the US might still contain MTBE. It can enter water sources through leaking underground or aboveground gas storage tanks and pipelines, as well as from gasoline spills. It isn’t known if MTBE causes health problems in humans, so it is best not to drink water that contains it.

Colors

Your drinking water should be clear. Here is a list of possible coloration issues you way encounter, and what they may indicate.

  • Red or brown. A red, brown, or rusty color is generally a sign of iron or manganese in your water. Iron in your water may cause stains in sinks or your laundry. A bit more on iron and manganese: While these metallic elements may cause frustration if they stain your laundry or sinks, they generally are not harmful to health. But it is important to find out what type of iron is contaminating your water. That’s because there are three kinds: ferrous iron, ferric iron, and iron bacteria. You’ll want to treat your water to remove all three, but especially iron bacteria, because while they are not known to cause disease, they often help create an environment that is friendly to more harmful types of bacteria. Iron bacteria can also make your water taste and smell terrible. If you notice a cucumber or sewage-like smell coming from your water, the likely source is iron bacteria.
  • Yellow. This color occurs in regions where the water has passed through marshlands and then moved through peat soils. In the United States, this is more likely to occur in the Southeast, Northwest, New England, and Great Lakes regions. It is more commonly found in surface water supplies and shallow wells. Although the yellow color may be displeasing, it presents no health hazard, as it is only small particles suspended in the water.
  • Blue or green. A green or blue color generally indicates that there is copper in your water supply, or copper pipes and corrosive water. The copper can cause staining of your fixtures and your laundry. Copper is regulated in drinking water by the EPA at 1.3 ppm. This is at a low enough concentration that the copper won’t be tasted (the taste threshold is around 5 ppm). However, copper can become a problem if it is higher than 30 ppm in your water. At this level, copper can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and general gastrointestinal issues. If you are using well water as your primary source of water and copper is a concern in your area, it would be to your advantage to have your water tested for copper.
  • Cloudy, white, or foamy. Cloudy water is usually due to turbidity. Turbidity is caused by finely divided particles in the water. When light hits the water, it is scattered, giving a cloudy look to the water. The particles may be of either organic or inorganic in nature. Cloudiness itself isn’t dangerous, but the cause of it may be.

Other Reasons to Test Your Drinking Water

  • There is recurring gastrointestinal distress in your family or visiting guests.
  • You are pregnant or have a child less than six months old living in your household.
  • Your well is next to a septic tank, and it is questionable if the septic tank is placed far enough away from your well.
  • Your property has an underground storage tank that is close to your well.
  • Your property has a leaking gas tank that is next to your well.
  • You have a new well and want to test the purity of your water.
  • Your well is next to an area where livestock are kept.
  • You have mixed pesticides or other chemicals near your well, or accidentally dropped these into your well.
  • You have noticed an increased amount of turbidity (cloudiness) in your water.
  • Your property is near a chemical plant, a gas station (either abandoned or not), mining operation, landfill or dump, dry cleaner, junkyard, heavily salted roadway, or oil or gas drilling company.

If you found this excerpt useful, please check out my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide.

preppers water survival guide

[1] http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/drinking-water/water-testing/testing/testing-your-drinking-water

[2] http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/lead/en/

[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs372/en/

[4] http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/arsenic/Basic-Information.cfm

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation

[6] http://healthydebates.com/15-facts-people-dont-know-fluoride/

[7] http://www.livescience.com/37123-fluoridation.html

[8] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db53.htm

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: How to Test Your Drinking Water (And Why You Should Do It)

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

Everyday Life Without Running Water | Backdoor Survival

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

Something I have learned over the years is that my own experience coupled with the anecdotal experience of my peers will always trump the theoretical.  Most assuredly, this also applies to coping skills learned in a disaster or what I like to call a “Disruptive Event”.

Some of you might recall that due to a break at the water meter coming into my home, I was without running water for 12 days.  Because I was prepared, the lack of running water was at most an inconvenience. You might even say that it was a grand adventure as I experienced a real life test of both my water preps and coping skills.

Today I have another real-life experience to share.  This time, Daisy Luther, the author of The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, shares a chapter from her book that describers her own first hand experience living life without running water during a power outage.  Talk about a double whammy:  no water AND no power!

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: A Glimpse at Everyday Life Without Running Water

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

 

contaminated-water

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

Disease will become a major health problem following any prolonged SHTF collapse whereby today’s modern infrastructure and systems of sanitation become crippled or non-existent (for any variety of reason), even if only somewhat temporary…as during a regional disaster.

We as a modern society take entirely for granted the fact that there is ‘clean’ safe-to-drink running water from our taps as well as a sanitation system which flushes away our waste water from our sinks and toilets. But just imagine for a moment what things would be like if these two expectations were dashed and ceased to function altogether. The results will surely bring on potentially deadly disease…

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: Beware Of These Three Diseases After SHTF Collapse

Finding_Water_in_Desert

By Pat Henry – The Prepper Journal

I frequently highlight the need for water when you are preparing for emergencies. This simple, yet vital element of life can’t be ignored for long, so I recommend a multi-faceted approach when it comes to making sure you always have enough to drink. As long as the tap is running and the source is not dangerous to your health, you should be fine. That works great normally, but we all know that stuff happens. Water mains break, sources become contaminated or the disaster can render the pumping stations inoperable due to personnel or equipment problems. Your job is to keep any of those situations from impacting your ability to provide good clean water to your family.

If you are in the safety of your home you can store water in large containers so potential disruptions don’t affect you as much. You can collect and filter rain water from your roof normally or in emergencies, public sources like ponds, streams or rivers will work for a large percentage of us assuming you have fairly consistent access to them. This is usually enough if rainfall and those water sources are prevalent.

But what if you live in a drier climate and you are forced out of your house due to some emergency? Or what if you are lost in the wilderness and your source of water is depleted?

A reader of the Prepper Journal, James sent me an email asking for more guidance on water for the millions of preppers who actually live in Phoenix or other desert environs. I do appreciate the question and although I don’t live in the desert (so this subject is a little out of my imagined wheelhouse) I figured that this topic was very worthy of research for my own information as well. Below are some of the ways I knew about in addition to new ways I learned to find water in the desert. I know that we do have some readers (and authors) who live in Arizona who will be happy to fill in with their own ideas in the comments below also. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Where can you find water in the desert?

I have been to Phoenix, AZ before on a business trip to a nice resort type of location in the warm days of July. If I did not fully appreciate it before, that trip really reinforced my gratitude for Willis Carrier, the inventor of modern air conditioning. To be honest, the temperatures really weren’t that bad in the evenings and mornings. I was inside during the day so it isn’t like I was too inconvenienced by the heat but with temperatures over 105 degrees, I know that you really wouldn’t want to be more than arms reach away from a good water source for very long. For Preppers, this type of climate does impact the importance of water in your survival plans. The heat and low humidity (but it’s a dry heat!) seemingly evaporates your sweat instantly so I didn’t even see the traditional outward signs of moisture loss, but the ready access to water everywhere reminded you to keep hydrated.

This was reinforced doubly when my wife and I took a drive after that up to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. I had planned a short hike into the canyon and in my research; I was frequently admonished about my hiking plans and water supply. Because of its altitude, the rim where you begin your hike down into the depths of the Canyon can be as much 40 degrees cooler than your destination. You start out at the top of the Canon and it is a relatively pleasant 80 degrees, but by the time you reach the bottom near the Colorado River, the temperature can be as high as 120. To make things worse, the hike back can take you twice as long as the trip down so if you foolishly consume all of your water going down, you won’t have any for the much more strenuous hike back up. Our plans weren’t to even hike all of the way to the bottom, mainly because I didn’t want to have to carry 2 gallons on my back.

Had I been in another, flatter desert environment and found myself without water, there are some tips and tricks you can try.

Dry riverbeds can still contain plenty of water if you dig for it.

North facing shady areas at the base of cliffs – There is water in the dry climates like Arizona. Actually, the main source of water for Phoenix comes from three rivers and they bank surplus water underground, but if you were out in the wilderness it might be harder to find. One thing to remember is water goes to the lowest point which is almost always underground. Even when there is no water on the surface, you can often find it where it used to be. In lower areas, near the base of cliffs, you can dig down and find water occasionally. This water has run off the face of the rocks and settled below the surface. If you find a low spot that looks like the sand is moist, you can dig down and sometimes find plenty to drink. This water will need to be filtered for sediment if nothing else but could save your life.

Watch where birds and insects travel from/follow animal trails – Birds and insects like humans need water to live. You can watch the path that they fly from in the early mornings and evenings for a clue as to where a source of water may be. Animal tracks can be used to follow a path to a water source as well and you may find a watering hole used by the native wildlife. To get a clean source without any type of water filtration you can dig a hole 9 feet away (roughly) from the water source and allow cleaner water under the surface to re-hydrate you. This water, filtered through many feet of sand and silt should be free of any contaminants that the water on the surface of the watering hole would have. Again, I would always try to keep some form of water filtration device with me if I was going out into the wilderness. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about.

Water collects in Tinajas and you can use this to keep you alive.

Rock pockets and depressions – Rain is routinely collected in depressions in rock surfaces. Some of these can be large enough for you to swim in. If you are searching for water, it is a good idea to get up a little higher up to see if you can see a source like this. Just one good-sized hole could be enough to keep you in water for a very long time. There are some of these large depressions called Tinajas, that have petroglyph markings on them and it is thought that some of these may have been ancient directions to denote good places to get water. If not, at least they are really interesting to look at.

Where vegetation is living/broad-leafed trees – If you can find trees growing in the desert, it’s a good bet they have tapped into a source of water. Broad leafed trees like cottonwoods are an indicator that you can dig down to their roots and find water suitable for drinking. These trees could be growing in old riverbeds that still have water flowing way beneath the surface.

In dry river beds – Like the example above, just because there is no water on the top, you may find water by digging below the surface. The drier it has been, the less likely you are to find water but look for a lower place in the riverbed, one where the water would have likely stayed there the most time and dig down. This is another reason to have a handy bandanna with you to soak up water and squeeze it into your mouth.

What not to do if you are looking for water

Solar Still – Now I have heard about solar stills for a very long time. I think even in the Army we discussed these as a good source of water. In a desert however, you won’t get the same amount of return for your effort. Digging a solar still will expend a lot of calories and effort and you won’t get much moisture out of the ground. If you have plenty of green leaves to lie in there, you still have to wait a whole day. If you are thirsty it is better to stay in the shade than dig a still.

Forget the cactus – You have probably seen the cowboy chopping open the cactus and drinking from it. Trying this yourself can get you killed. There is only one type of cactus you can drink from and only one variety of that one cactus. The barrel cactus looks like its name and the Fishhook barrel cactus has water in there that isn’t toxic. It isn’t like a bottle of Evian though and you could still get sick. One alternative is to eat the fruit off the cactus. Prickly pear can be roasted to get rid of the little hairs and spines and can provide some moisture.

Don’t drink your own pee or anyone else’s for that matter – If your body is straining with lack of hydration, the last thing you want to do is force your kidneys to work overtime on a strange substance. Yes, your urine is supposed to be “sanitary” but this shouldn’t be a trick you use to re-hydrate yourself even in an emergency. What you can use it for is evaporative cooling. Soak that bandanna in your urine and wrap it around your neck to cool off somewhat. Then make a mental note to wash that bandanna.

So there are some ideas I have for how to find water in the desert. I think it goes without saying that as much as possible, you should plan for water well before you find yourself in a situation that would require you to use any of these methods above. If you are, hopefully this will help.

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: How to Find Water in the Desert

water-and-dehydration

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

I have read that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and the lack of hydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. This is a problem that most people don’t realize — sometimes mistaking what they think are hunger pangs for what is actually thirst while older people often do not recognize that they’re thirsty.

I’ve also read that losing just 2% of your body weight in water compromises overall judgment by 25% and severely limits physical endurance. And since water weighs 8-pounds per gallon, it doesn’t take much to lose 2% or to be ‘chronically low’.

Here’s a list of ways that the body loses water as we become dehydrated – and symptoms:

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: 75% Are Chronically Dehydrated And Need To Drink More Water