How to obtain potable water in an emergency

How To Obtain Potable Water In An Emergency: 3 Best Must-Know Strategies

drop of water

*All information in this post is my opinion and gathered through my own research. Please do your own research before following any information in this post. This is for information purposes only. Also consult your doctor before taking any supplements*

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Hello again.

In this post we are going to dive deeper into the world of survival water purification systems. As I had mentioned in a previous post water is also known as liquid gold because without it we wouldn’t be able to survive very long.

There are many ways to ensure that you will have access to water when situations arise. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation will be different and there are tons of options out there depending on your budget. Let’s dive into it.

Let’s Dive Into How To Obtain Potable Water In An Emergency…

water going through a filter

1. Personal Water Filters

There are several brands out there that make personal water filters (click to see the Top 5 personal water filters). These can come in the form of a straw, water bottle, or some other form of personal container with a filter. These products come in very handy and are able to be carried easily on your person.

These filters are designed to remove larger pathogens and disable smaller organisms like viruses, ensuring the water is safe to drink in an emergency, including situations where there may be chemical contamination.

In an emergency situation where regular water service has been interrupted – like a hurricane, flood, or water pipe breakage – local authorities may recommend using only bottled water, boiled water, or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene until regular water service is restored.

This is a quick guide on the best and simplest methods and techniques of obtaining safe drinking water, both for yourself and for your family. There may be many reasons why potable water, including well water is unavailable; electricity outages, strikes, drought, war, civil unrest, extreme weather conditions etc.

In emergency situations, it is crucial to prioritize disease control to prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses. You can disinfect water with tablets that contain chlorine, iodine, chlorine dioxide or other disinfecting agents. These tablets are available online or at pharmacies and sporting good stores. Follow the instructions on the product label as each product may have a different strength.

They can easily be carried in purse or backpack. You can use these products when coming across any body of water that needs to be purified. For example where we live we have a lake nearby.

If our other forms of water storage fail us we would be able to go to the lake and drink water through a water filtration straw or put it into a personal container with a filtration system on it.

As I talked about in a previous post it is best to have at least two ways to accomplish any of your prepping needs.

Here are 10 situations where a personal water filter can be used:

water dropping in a barrell

2. Water Bottles/Storage Containers

Personal water filters can be used on the go. Now we will move on to storing water at your house. The first way is to store cases of water bottles.

You can rotate and replenish your cases of water as you use them. Cases of water are cheap and it can be a very convenient way to have a back up plan for your water.

Now let’s get into water storage containers. There are literally tons of these products out there. There are tanks that hold only a few gallons all the way up to tanks that hold thousands of gallons.

The one that will work out best for your situation will depend on your budget and water quantity needs. When figuring out how much water you need to store remember that for a general rule of thumb that you will need between 1 and 1.5 gallons of safe water per day per person in your household.

Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and cooking. Some of the need for liquids can be met by using juices from canned fruits and vegetables. Additional water, such as gallons of water, will be needed for washing, brushing teeth and washing dishes. Store at least one week’s supply of emergency safe water for each member of your family.

Don’t forget your pets in this calculation and I also like to error on the side of having more water than what this calculation comes out to. That way you will have extra in case you need the water for a longer time than expected or if you need to supply water for neighbors or extended family.

toilet in a bathroom

3. Alternative Water Supply Ideas

There are some collections of water that are around your house that are not usually thought of but can be used in the event of an emergency, such as an emergency water supply. The first one is your hot water tank, also known as a water heater, which can be a valuable source of water. Many of these tanks hold large amounts of water and can be drained and used in the case of an emergency.

Ice cubes, kettle water or remaining water in your pipes and hot water tank can be relatively safe sources of water in an emergency.

To prevent contamination of the water in your home, it is recommended to shut off the main water valve as soon as an event occurs. To improve the taste of safe water stored for a long time, pour from one clean container to another clean container several times.

The second unexpected place to look is the back of your toilet tank. I am not talking about the water in the bowl but the water in the holding tank on the back of the toilet. If this water is going to be used for drinking it should be filtered or sanitized.

It is also possible in an emergency to fill up your bathtub and use it as a large water storage container.

There are products out there that can be placed in your bath tub and be filled up like a big balloon. I just wanted to mention these little thought about places that can be used for emergency water when push comes to shove.

boiling water

Bonus: How To Sanitize Water

Now that we have talked about filtering water and finding different water sources let’s now talk about ways to sanitize the water that you find.

This is a very important step if you don’t have a way to filter your water. The last thing you want to have during an emergency is vomiting and diarrhea from drinking bad water.

There are several ways to do this. One way is to buy tablets that you can place in your water. All you have to do is follow the instructions with your product and you will end up with drinkable water.

The second way is to bring your water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. Boiling is the best method to make water safe to drink because it kills disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. You can improve the flat taste of boiled water by pouring it from one container to another and then allowing it to stand for a few hours, or adding a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of boiled water.

Be sure to strain your water before boiling it if your water is cloudy or has particles in it. You can do this by pouring your water through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter to end up with clean water. Additionally, you can also disinfect your water after filtration using chlorine tablets according to the instructions or add 1 to 2 drops of unscented household chlorine bleach per one liter of water.

In emergency situations, it is important to remember to boil water for disinfection purposes, especially if you do not have access to bottled water.

In emergency situations, it is crucial to remember to use boiled water for disinfection purposes, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2015).

The third way is by using bleach for your water disinfection needs. The bleach you use has to be pure bleach with no other additives to it. Below is a common chart used when calculating how much bleach to use per parts of water.

Volume of Water Amount of 6% Bleach to Add Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add
1 quart/liter 2 drops 2 drops
1 gallon 8 drops 6 drops
2 gallons 16 drops (1/4 tsp) 12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)
4 gallons 1/3 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
8 gallons 2/3 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon



In conclusion, you can see that the wild world of water filtration and sanitation has many methods and products that will help you in case of emergency.

I hope this post was helpful and got you thinking about how to make your own plan to have ample amount of water in the event of an emergency. Thank you for reading.

Check out the article below to see how these strategies can be used to start prepping on a budget:

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