Water… probably the most important substance on this planet. Without it, we can be dead within a week. Much sooner is hot and dry conditions, yet most people under prepare for water shortages. We have become so used to plentiful “safe” water from the tap that we just assume it will always be there.
The truth is, that plentiful water from the tap can be contaminated or dry up. During an extended disaster, such as a hurricane or major earthquake, the supply of water is likely to be cut off or contaminated. The water coming from your public water source could be contaminated from the source already and you maybe don’t notice it. My public water utility tells me of contamination, but usually, a few months to a year after it happens.
So, you have to make some decisions on your water needs. On the low end of cost, you have your standard water filter pitchers that filter some contaminants. Better than nothing. In the middle area of the cost spectrum, you have electric home water distillers. At the higher end of the cost spectrum, you have Berkey Gravity Fed filter systems (Replacement/Extra filters here). I didn’t include reverse osmosis systems due to their cost and wastefulness.
With your standard water filter pitcher system, you can get drinking water that is an improvement over your tap water for very little money. Don’t expect much out of them. With electric water distillers, if you have access to cheap enough electricity and don’t mind how long it takes, they can be used to filter water quite well. You might get one to six gallons of distilled water per day out of one. It will heat up your home or wherever it is. With the Berkey filters, they cost a lot, but they are also very effective and require no electricity. There is also a smaller “travel” version that costs less.
So far, the options I’ve covered cover drinking and cooking water treatment/purifying. What about showering? The act of cleaning oneself up exposes one to whatever is in the water through direct skin contact and through the lungs (whatever gasses are in the water).
So what are your options? Well, you could use your water filter(s) from above and fill up a camp shower or other form of “off-grid” showering system. It will allow you to shower using clean water. You can also take an old-fashioned bath using filtered water (a bowl of warmed water and a rag and cup). You could also invest heavily into something like a whole house water filter system. I have no suggestions for a whole house system and there could be issues with the leeching of chemicals from the water pipes and filter cartridge plastic.
At the absolute most basic and cheap, you have the LifeStraw. It is about the cheapest and most portable solution to safe drinking water. The filtered water will probably still taste bad, but at least it’s safe.
If money is tight and you just want to be prepared for emergency situations, the LifeStraw would probably be the best purchase. If you care about your day-to-day health and have a little more to spend, the Berkey filter system is probably the best purchase. If you need more from a portable water system, you can try either a DIY bucket Berkey system, or purchase a ready-made bucket Berkey System.
For me personally, my day-to-day health and the day-to-day health of my family are important to me.