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Luke Lichterman

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Water Self Sufficiency for Survival Preparedness
by Luke Lichterman   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, May 04, 2012
Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012

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Humans can live for days or even weeks without food but cannot survive past 4 or 5 days without water. Living on very short rations an “average” person can survive on one gallon of water for replacement of normal activities loss per day. At that drastically minimal rate a family of four would require 120 gallons of potable water to survive for 30 days.


Water Self Sufficiency for Survival Preparedness

By: Luke Lichterman





Humans can live for days or even weeks without food but cannot survive past 4 or 5 days without water.  Living on very short rations an “average” person can survive on one gallon (1) of water for replacement of normal activities loss per day.  At that drastically minimal rate a family of four would require 120 gallons of potable water to survive for 30 days.


“…Drinking, sanitation and hygiene constitute the basic human survival needs for water. These minimum needs total about 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per person per day. In comparison, the average American uses well over ten times that amount… (1)


Including drinking, sanitation and hygiene that same family of four would require 1500+ gallons of potable water to survive for 30 days.  Storing 120 gallons of water to meet subsistence-level needs is easily done, if that’s how you visualize your family surviving.  Storing 1500+ gallons, while making your family’s survival experience more pleasant, is problematic if you do not have the ability to replenish your water supply while off of the National Electric Power Grid.





What if one day, in the aftermath of a natural or manmade disaster, you turn on the tap and either nothing comes out, or what comes out is unsafe to drink?  Water distribution systems require energy to operate and what comes out of your faucet is there because the fragile and vulnerable Grid energized a pump.


The National Electric Power Grid is obsolescent and vulnerable to blackouts due to equipment failure, unintentional human error or recently and most frighteningly, malicious cyber attack. (2) Water self sufficiency while off the grid, and unaffected by the weather, is the only way to ensure that your family has enough water to survive through any disaster aftermath.




The basic component of water self sufficiency is rainwater harvesting and storage, which requires storage tanks of sufficient capacity with connections to your home’s rain gutter system.  This component is weather dependent but based upon annual rainfall amounts and seasonal rains distribution in your area, rain water harvesting may well satisfy your unpurified water requirements, if you plan properly.


In most parts of continental USA, with the exception of the Southwest, rainfall is fairly regular, reliable and predictably sufficient to be the primary source for your family’s survival water self sufficiency.  You will have to make a judgment call and decide how much storage capacity you will need to bridge dry spells.


Because we have become so dependent on the grid and the water distribution systems it enables, most houses no longer have rainwater storage cisterns.  Chances are your home doesn’t have a cistern either, so you will need to acquire water storage capacity.  Water can be stored in almost anything: one-gallon water jugs you buy at the supermarket, hard-side metal or plastic tanks, or much more convenient and less expensive collapsible “pillow” tanks. 


We can safely discard the idea of buying, storing and then refilling 1500+ one-gallon jugs as impractical.  Hard-side tanks are more practical but are always the same size, full or empty, are difficult to handle, expensive and require permanent installation above ground or below.


The best solution for rainwater storage problems are SURVIVAL H2O Tanks™, which are collapsible “bladder” type tanks constructed of polymer alloy coated polyester fabrics, which meet FDA standards for potable water storage.  These bladder tanks are relatively inexpensive and can be stored folded, in their shipping boxes, until you decide to deploy them. 




The water stored in your tanks, while it may appear clear, is not safe to drink.  The rain, which fell on your roof and ran down your gutters, became contaminated with bird feces, insect waste, decayed organic matter, chemicals and other pollutants.  To make this water safe to drink it must first be treated or preferably purified.


Treatment involves adding proportionately large amounts of chlorine iodine, which is both unhealthful and foul tasting.  This method should be reserved for emergency or occasional use only, because ingestion of too much chlorine iodine may be harmful. (3)


Purification is the removal of sediment, chemicals and pathogens. Purification is most effectively accomplished by processing contaminated water through either of the two most respected water purification systems available:


  1. The SURVIVAL H2O Purifier™ is a three-step water purification system, which utilizes 5-micron sediment pre-filters, a high-intensity ultraviolet germicidal lamp chamber and a .5-micron post-filter for removal of pathogenic detritus. This purifier has been proven to have a bacterial kill rate up to 99.99+% including cysts (Giardia and Cryptosporidium), and microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa. (4)


  1. The Berkey ™ line of Gravity Feed Water Purifiers use self-sterilizing and cleanable purification elements, which purify water by removing pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely; as well as extracting herbicides, pesticides, VOCs and organic solvents. They also remove radon 222, trihalomethanes, rust, silt, sediment and dangerous minerals such as lead and mercury.




You have acquired Survival Gear, Long Term Bulk Food Storage, First Aid Kits, tools, defensive weapons and more.  Now you must become Water Self Sufficient or all your other preparations are meaningless and your family will perish.  WATER IS LIFE. 



(1) Basic survival needs were stressed at the Mar del Plata conference, a major international effort to address world water problems organized by the United Nations… The minimum water requirement for replacement for an "average" person has been estimated to be approximately 3 liters (3.2 quarts) per day, given average temperate climate conditions…

Read more: Survival Needs - human


(2) The Washington Post, "Checkpoint Washington" Blog, 11/18/2011

Read more:


(3) Heath Canada.  Read more:


(4) University of Arizona, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, Tucson, AZ. A copy of the report is available upon request.



Web Site: The Commonsense Survival Preparedness Website.

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