10 Emergency Water Solutions for When the SHTF


Water is our most important resource. Don't be caught without it in an emergency! Here are 10 emergency water solutions to help you become more water secure and prepared for a water emergency. #emergencywater #waterstorage #waterprepping #watersecurityWater. Clean, fresh, drinkable water. Besides air, it’s absolutely the most crucial element for survival.

To many people around the world who have trouble accessing it, water is their most valuable commodity. In fact, fresh, accessible, potable drinking water makes up less than 1% of all the water on the planet. Without it, we’ll literally die in a matter of days. And yet, in the western world, we take it completely for granted.

We waste it, pour it down the drain, leave the taps running, water our lawns with it, and even flush it down our toilets. We rarely think about what life would be like without it because all we need to do is turn on our taps and an infinite amount of it pours out! But what if we went to turn on the taps one day and nothing did come out?

What if we couldn’t flush our toilets or water our gardens? What if we couldn’t bathe or brush our teeth or cook or wash dishes or do laundry or have a drink?

Food security tends to hog the conversation when we talk about prepping. But water is often overlooked despite how vitally important it is.

Yes, canned goods and other provisions are also necessary, but water is THE most essential thing to have on hand. You can live without food for quite a while if need be, but not without water. This is why bottled water is the first thing to fly off shelves when an emergency (or perceived emergency) situation hits.

 

Related: 15 Emergency Items You Need to Have Packed and Ready to Go

 

Of course, we need drinking water, but for long-term survival, you may also need to grow, raise and cook your own food, which also requires water. Medical supplies like bandages and antiseptics can be improvised or made from materials on hand. Water cannot. A heat source can be created with found fuel and tools. Water cannot.

It is absolutely necessary to think about emergency water whenever we think about being prepared, otherwise all of the other best laid plans may mean nothing when the proverbial “shit hits the fan.”

The good news is, it doesn’t take much to vastly improve the state of your water security should disaster strike. Honestly, even if we’re just talking about the electricity going out and leaving you without access to well water for a few days (this happened to many people near us over Christmas), you will be so thankful to have a backup emergency water supply on hand.

I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but a few weeks ago our water was shut off for less than 24 hours because they were upgrading the water lines and although we do keep a few bottles of backup drinking water on hand, we didn’t have enough water to flush our toilet. Needless to say, things can get, um, unsanitary pretty quickly without water, and that was a wake-up call for us to get our emergency water in order as fast as possible.

If you’re stumped on where to start, here are 10 steps you can take immediately to ensure you and your family have access to clean, drinkable water in the event of an emergency.

 

1. Always carry a water bottle with you

It’s a small step, but keeping a bottle of water on you at all times is a great first line of defence should disaster strike unexpectedly, especially if you’re in your car, in the wilderness or just away from home.

While any water bottle will do, if you want to up your security, consider investing in a LifeStraw Go  water bottle. These water bottles allow you to not only store water, the Lifestraw filtration system  ensures that you are able to safely refill your bottle and filter the water from almost any source.  

I bought 3 LifeStraw water bottles to be used in case of emergency. I keep one in my emergency bag in my car, one in the emergency bag in my husband’s truck, and one for everyday use on hikes, etc. It gives me added peace of mind knowing that if I drink all my water, I can refill my bottle with water from just about anywhere and it will be safe to drink. 

 

2. Properly store bottled water in your car

Statistically, you’re more likely to run into an emergency while in your car than when you’re at home or on foot.

Your car might break down. You may get lost, stranded or run out of gas, maybe in a very hot, dry area. Not to mention you might be in your car the moment a major disaster strikes, throwing people into panic mode, creating traffic madness and mayhem in the streets… Wherever you get stuck, you may get stuck there for a while, so always stash some fresh drinking water in your car.

If you’re going on a family road trip, bring at least a litre for each person in your family (including pets) in addition to fresh water bottles and you should be well equipped to handle being stranded for at least a few hours.

Because of changing temperatures and the potential for chemicals in plastic to leach out into the water, you should change up the water in your trunk once every couple months or so. I personally carry a 1.5 litre bottle of water in my car that I rotate regularly, as well as my empty LifeStraw water bottle, which I can use to filter out any water I come across, even if it’s dirty . I talk more about water filters further down.

 

Related: How to Prepare Your Kids for an Emergency At School

 

3. Store water in jugs

Storing plenty of water at home is important to ensure your family’s survival for a few days or even weeks. While storing water alone is not enough to provide for you indefinitely or even longterm, it could mean the difference between life and death should something major happen that cuts you off from your usual source.

FEMA recommends that you store at least a gallon of water per person per day and aim to store enough for a two-week supply.

The more the better. Remember, you need water for so much more than drinking, so store as much as you are can. You should use food-grade plastic water bottles or glass bottles to ensure the chemicals in standard use plastic bottles doesn’t leach into your water supply. We use swing top glass bottles and webreuse growlers and other large glass drinking bottles to store our emergency drinking water.

If you’re tight on space, you can get creative and stash your stockpile under the bed, in closets, cupboards or even purchase shelving like we did. Store close to the ground if possible to reduce loss or damage in the event of a natural disaster. Even plastic jugs are more likely to break and spill if they fall from higher shelves.

 

4. Always make sure your kettle is full

Aside from what you intentionally store, there are other places in your home where you can always keep a little bit of extra water on hand. Your kettle is one of them. I keep mine on my stovetop at all times and it’s almost always full. It’s more convenient for me because when I want to make a cup of tea all I do is turn on the stove, but it’s also an excellent emergency drinking water source.

The average stovetop kettle holds between 6 and 8 cups of water. That’s half a day’s worth of water for one person, and would get you through the day if need be.

 

5. Always keep ice trays full

Just like keeping your kettle full, it helps to keep your ice cube tray full too. You can also freeze the ice, transfer it to a plastic bag and refill your tray over and over again. I know these things seem insignificant and maybe even laughable, but if and when the shit truly hits the fan, every drop counts.

 

6. Know how to access water from a hot water tank

There is another source of hidden water in most people’s homes that can provide a substantial amount of emergency water. If you have a hot water tank, you may have access to an additional 50 gallons of fresh water or more! At a gallon per person per day, that’s enough water for a family of five for at least 10 days. Check out this guide to accessing your hot water heater in the event of an emergency.

 

7. If the SHTF, fill every sink, tub and bucket while you can

If the SHTF and you are lucky enough to get a bit of warning, stock up on as much water as you can right away. And I don’t mean head down to your nearest big box store and fight to the death over the last bottle of Dasani. I mean turn your taps on and fill every sink, tub and bucket you can while you have the chance. Even if the water isn’t clean enough for drinking, it can be used for bathing, cleaning and watering the garden.

 

8. Invest in rain barrels

If you want to take water storage one giant, practical step further, invest in some rain barrels for your property.

A typical rain barrel holds around 50 gallons of water, but it is possible to purchase barrels that store hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water. While this water isn’t filtered for human consumption, it’s a great, free source of water for watering your garden and your livestock or for cleaning, bathing and flushing the toilet.

You don’t want to waste any of your drinking water on these things, so having lots of rain water stored up helps to relieve some pressure by taking care of everything else.

 

9. Invest in some form of water purification

I’ve mentioned it already in this post, but I can’t stress enough how much I highly recommend investing in a LifeStraw for every member of your family.

A LifeStraw is a personal water filtration system that filters contaminated drinking water and converts it to safe drinking water. Each personal LifeStraw filters up to 1,000 litres of water safely.

I bought three LifeStraw water bottles a few years ago after hearing about the families that were fleeing from wildfires in Fort MacMurray up in northern Alberta. They hardly had any time to prepare and evacuate, and it made me much more conscious of the fact that emergencies can strike without warning at any time.

I chose to invest in the water bottles rather than just the filter because you can collect water in the bottle and take it to go rather than having to drink straight from the source. This way you can filter and store fresh drinking water while on the go.

Whether you’re bugging out, bugging in, hiking, camping, boating or travelling, having a LifeStraw with you offers some major security. Plus, through their Follow the Liters program, for every LifeStraw product sold, a child in a developing country receives clean, safe drinking water for an entire school year!

 

10. Buy property that comes with its own freshwater source

My final tip for ultimate water security is definitely the ultimate longterm solution: Invest in property that has its own freshwater source already on it.

Having access to a supply of fresh water off grid is a massive step toward water security. If you can, consider buying property with a personal well or a freshwater stream that runs through it. Although one potential risk is that your water supply might run dry in the hottest months when you need it most, if you are taking the other steps I’ve already mentioned to store enough water, you can plan to have enough to get you through the drought season by storing water in the wetter months.

 

Sleep Soundly Knowing You’ve Got Your Emergency Water Supply Covered

There you have it: 10 simple steps you can take to ensure water security for you and your family. The majority of them cost little to no money and can be done with supplies you already have on hand. Pick and choose which steps work for you in your situation.

And remember, you CAN and SHOULD take steps to ensure your family’s water security whether you live on 10 country acres or in a tiny downtown apartment. Start wherever you are. Don’t wait. Take steps now. You never know what tomorrow may bring, but you can prepare now for whatever may come.

Got any other emergency water solutions or tips? Share your knowledge in the comments section below!

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

5 Comments

  1. Tanya Rust

    Have you ever canned water for long-term storage? Or are the glass swing-top bottles a good solution?

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      Hi Tanya – I’m Ashley, Anna’s assistant. Canning water isn’t something I’ve personally tried (I don’t know that Anna has, either) but your comment got me curious. I did some research and found that this is an extremely helpful article on the subject: https://practicalselfreliance.com/canning-water/

      Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Tanya,

      I see my assistant, Ashley replied to you already with some great info. But I wanted to chime in as I haven’t personally tried canning water (yet), but it’s on my list of things to try soon and I think it’s a great way to store water in a shelf-stable way! However I did try using glass swing top bottles a while back (at the start of the pandemic when we just didn’t know what was going to happen), and although I boiled the water and thought I sterilized the jars, they did end up growing mold after several months. I’m sure there is a safe way to do it, but just beware of that.

      I’ll have to update this post soon as it’s rather old and I’ve definitely levelled up my emergency water storage game since I first wrote this!

      Reply
  2. Rosemary Antunes

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Speaking of investments, your children are your best investments for the future!

    And by the way, people have been using that tired, discouraging line for decades to bring down those having another child… I heard it back in the ’80’s and ’90’s. But now, I have eight intelligent offspring in my very own “friend group,” and the detractors…..don’t!

    God Bless and keep on keepin’ on!

    Reply
  3. Rodney W Moorman

    Thanks Anna for the helpful information about water storage.

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

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189 4

There are so many reasons to grow your own food at home:

💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
🍴 Healthier than conventionally grown food
🔑 increases your overall food security
🫙 Gives you an abundance to preserve and share

But perhaps the number one reason is because it just tastes better!

Not only does food taste better when it’s freshly picked or allowed to ripen on the vine, there’s something about putting in the work to grow something from a tiny seed and then getting to see it on your dinner plate that just makes it so much more satisfying than anything you’ll ever buy from the store.

Plus, having to wait all year for fresh tomatoes or strawberries or zucchinis to be in season makes that short period when they’re available just that much more exciting!

With the world spinning out of control and food prices continuing to rise, it’s no wonder more people are taking an interest in learning to grow their own food at home. But that also means changing our relationship with food and learning to appreciate the work that goes into producing it and the natural seasonality of organically grown fruits and vegetables.

(It also means learning to preserve it so you can make the most of it and enjoy homegrown food all year long).

In my online membership program, The Society of Self-Reliance, you’ll learn how to grow your own food, from seed to harvest, as well as how to preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor all year long!

You’ll also learn how to grow and craft your own herbal medicine, detox your home, become your own handyman, and so much more (because self-reliance is about more than just the food that we eat… But that’s a pretty good place to start!)

The doors to the Society are now open for a limited time only. Click the link in my profile or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

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84 0

If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

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📚 Monthly Video Lessons: Gain access to our ever-growing library of video lessons, with fresh content added each month.

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28 0

Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

(Continued in comments…)
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112 18

Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
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22 3

A brand new issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue:

🌱 How to forage and use five common edible and medicinal weeds

🏠 A sustainable, affordable alternative to traditional homes, greenhouses and more

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Tips for managing a homestead while raising a family (big or small!)

🫙 What to focus on when preserving food for true food security

🌹 How to grow and arrange your own cut flowers at home

🍓 The many ways to preserve summer berries (including 5 delicious recipes!)

💇How to make your own all-natural herbal hair care products at home

🧑‍🌾 Why “community sufficiency” is the new self-sufficiency

And more!

Visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com (or click the link in my bio) to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue.

Plus, be sure to check out all of our past issues as well! There’s a wealth of information in our library on everything from farming and gardening to cooking and canning to herbal medicine, natural living and so much more!

*** This will be the last quarterly issue! ***

This little magazine has grown so much over the past 4 years and 32 issues, and now it’s time for another exciting evolution.

I’m excited to announce that we will be moving to an even more robust annual publication with the intention of offering the first ever print edition this fall if there is enough demand.

I’m also excited to announce the brand new Modern Homesteading Magazine blog, which is currently under construction and will be launching soon. While we will still be maintaining digital subscriptions, the blog will be accessible to all, free of charge, so that more people might benefit from the empowering and increasingly important information that we cover in each issue.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this issue happen! @homesteadingfamily @oatsandhoneyhomestead @omnivore.culture @thetaylor.leigh @doeraydesign (and more who don’t have IG pages;)

And a HUGE thank you to everyone who has subscribed over the years. Modern Homesteading Magazine would never have become what it is today without each and every one of you.

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If you’ve ever grown your own garlic, you might have noticed the spiral-shaped shoots that suddenly pop up in the centre of the stem, usually about a month or so before the garlic bulbs themselves are ready to be harvested.
These are garlic scapes, and believe it or not- they make delicious pesto! Get the recipe through the link in my bio- https://thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-scape-pesto/
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This honey and chive blossom vinaigrette is a frugal, easy and healthy homemade salad dressing that pairs beautifully with fresh garden salads all season long.
Get the recipe through the link in my bio.
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Whether you live in the city and grow a few herbs on your balcony, have a few backyard chickens in the suburbs or live in the country and have a larder full of enough home-canned food to survive the apocalypse, if living a more homemade, homegrown, self-sufficient lifestyle is important to you, Modern Homesteading Magazine was made for you!
Read it today through the link in my bio!
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This radish top pesto recipe makes good use of the edible radish greens that often get discarded once they’re separated from the root. The end result is a peppery, slightly spicy twist on a classic pesto recipe.
A perfect condiment for all your summer snacking!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/radish-top-pesto-recipe/
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