Water filtration……..

I have been spending some time going through my preparedness supplies, evaluating strengths and weakness, and getting more organized. Throughout my time doing this I came to a conclusion – I really need to focus on essentials. Yeah, I know….a real miraculous discovery, heh?

As I prep for what would be considered a “long-term” crisis, basics such as water will be incredibly important. Although discussed often – how many of us can really say we can go without modern piped-in water for 3 months? How about 6 months? A year? 3 months worth of water for a family of four is a tremendous amount.

For my situation I am relying on filtration. I just do not have the space to store thousands of gallons nor the ability to dig a well. I have local sources of water nearby, which is beneficial.

As stated – filtration is my main avenue for providing water to my family during a shortage – however long it lasts. I have a Big Berkey from Directive21.com, as well as numerous other  smaller filters. Besides the ensemble of smaller filters such as the LifeStraw and  Aquamira Frontier, all my eggs are in one basket with the Berkey. Besides getting another Berkey – which I may do, I am also looking at building my on filter unit using a Doulton filter element. I need more redundancy.

“Water, water, everywhere….nor a drop to drink.”

I need to know that I will never say that to my family.

What kinds of water preps to you have?

Take care –


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  1. Berkey’s are excellent filtration systems – probably the best if you discount any system which requires heat or electricity to operate. Even the most diehard Elitist can’t take gravity away from us. However, the filter elements have a limit. Yes, they can be cleaned (actually eroded to remove a thin layer of filter material exposing the unclogged lower layer); but, that also has a finite limit for each filter element. Like most other prep items you reach a point where you have to decide how much is enough (is there ever enough)?

    One consideration on the Berkeys is priming the elements. It takes a bit of water pressure to push all of the air out of the pores. Where will that water pressure come from if you don’t have either city water, a pump, or an elevated cistern? If used unprimed the filter elements will trap the air and produce little if any clean water. We take several spare elements and prime them, then wrap them in several layers of cheesecloth, several layers of plastic wrap, completely cover them with foil, and then seal them in zip lock bags. Maybe its overkill, but I know everyone of them I have opened (even after sitting on the shelf for several years) has worked without fail.

    Another consideration – DO NOT let a primed element freeze!!!! They break and become an expensive paper weight. Lesson learned from personal experience.

    Finally, there are loads of web articles on how to make cheap water filters using food grade buckets and Berkey elements. You could save 100’s of dollars and kill yourself in the process. Good for your neighbors who now have all of your stuff to survive on, not so much for you. Take a look at the side of a box of Berkey filters. It lists all sorts of crap that the element will remove from water. Some of that crap is fairly reactive and will break down many food grade plastics introducing another family of chemicals into the water. If you are getting your water from rain barrels or a nearby spring or some other source far removed from modern civilization a plastic rig will probably be a good bet. If you are getting your water from sources which may have unknown contaminants you will be better served paying the extra money for the stainless steel originals and leave the home made stuff to the less well informed.

    Of course, as we all know clean water makes for the best home brew.

  2. My plan for long term water is rather complex and expensive, but it’s the route I took. I have a whole house 16KV generator with two 500 gal propane tanks buried in the yard. It consumes 2 gals/hr when running. I am on County Water, but I also have a well that provides water to my inground sprinklers. I’ve plumbed the sprinkers so I can divert the water to the house if needed. It flows thru my softener, then a 20 micron pre-filter, then a .5 micron ceramic filter, then a UV sterilizer, then into the house. I get far better water pressure and quality than my County water supply.

    My plan is to use the generator one hour, twice a week. During that hour we shower, wash clothes, etc and then before shutting it off we fill 4 thirty gallon water barrels plumbed upstairs, which will gravity feed to the whole house allowing low pressure running water at all faucets and toilets. I have many replacement filters and UV bulbs if needed, as well as backup ceramic drip filters if the generator goes out. I test it twice a year and it works great.

  3. Excellent Q, I am in the process of storing up H2O in 6 – 15 ga. drums. When filled they will weigh about 120 ea. (1 ga of H2O weighs about 8 lbs ea) so that’s my base number. At my age, that’s about what I can move around safely with out messing up my back. I am renting right now in Bedford Texas, so as renter I need to be able to move my stock with out to much fuss not to mention possibly having to BUGOUT as a last resort, I can roll the drum into the P/U truck. We are collecting rain H2O and picked up 54 ga. from the last two storms that came thru. We use the Big Berkey exclusivley for our H2O needs and appreciate the tip from (Harry) I over looked the “priming issue.

  4. I keep 55 gallons for each of us in drums, 12 cases of bottled water, a Sawyer home water purifier and a Sawyer portable in my BOB. I feel like we are covered in this area. Additionally, we live in close proximity to a river with abundant supply.

  5. Im glad this was brought up again ~ over the last couple yrs Ive lived in rentals on properties with wells, and have had no water at times due to well dry or power outage, so I learned to have at least 12- 1 gal. bottles of water on hand to drink with an rain water catch system for plants and toilet. I tried to find a property to buy that was rural and on a well system; but that was hard to find in my price, so ended up just outside of town, own septic but on city water. This really concerned me at first but just outside my backyard is the river. Ill be researching ram pumps and maybe even possibility of a well later. I need a berkey for sure. or a filtration system ready.

  6. Look at southernpepper1 on u-tube. He made a very cool water filter system using the doulton Rio 2000. Pretty impressive flow.

  7. First, at our home in the city (should we have to bug in) we have a 30,000 gal + swimming pool. Additionally, we use a Royal Berkey (the 3gal) to filter all our drinking water. We are working on putting in two rain barrel catchment systems (one on each side of the house) for our gardens.
    Second, at our BOL we have a shallow well and a one acre lake. We use 2 Crown Berkeys (6gal each) to filter all our water. We no longer use 55 gallon barrels to store water. We have started using WaterBricks. The are stackable and can be used to build with. They are also great beause you can move them very easily.
    Third, each of our GOOD bags have a water straw and a Berkey Sport Bottle in them.
    I hope we have all the bases covered but you know Murphy.

  8. I do have some space in my house so we store about 15 gallons in the utility closet at the back of the house and 15 to 20 gallons in the Spare bedroom Room that we have turned into a pantry. That’s my short term water for cooking and drinking.

    Out behind the house I have 3 plastic 55 gallon drums that are full of water that I dropped small chlorine tablets in before putting the caps on.

    I have 8 of the Berkey Black filters for the homemade (Cheaper) container made from foodgrade buckets. According to the literature those 8 filters should provide aprox. 24k gallons of drinking water.

    I have used Google Earth to locate 5 water sources within a mile of my residence.

    I have a bag of the pool shock with 68% calcium hypochlorite, according to the recipe I have this one bag would be enough make my own bleach in small quantities to treat 10,000 gallons of water.

    I have about a dozen of the individual filter straws stashed in bags and vehicles as well as having several bottles of the iodine tablets to treat water. I also have a Camp Filter/bag that is supposed to be good treating water from any source for up tp 200 gallons. I have a bladder similar to what goes in a bicycle rider hydration pack with a filter in it.

    I still need to set up a rain collection system.

    Keep up the good work Rourke.

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