Water Storage and Purification

Remember how much I loved to tell you all about Preparedness? I haven’t for a while. Not because I haven’t been thinking about it. Oh no, no, no. Recently I have been stocking up on medical supplies and a giant canvas tent (more about that another day). But nothing you prepare for makes any difference if you don’t have water.

Obviously that’s a no brainer if you live in the arid west. But you might think it’s not such a big deal if you live in a place that is chock full of lakes and rivers. You can always walk down the street to get a bucket of water, right? What if it’s the middle of winter and everything is frozen solid? What if there’s been a flood and all the groundwater is contaminated (and power is out too so no tap water is being filtered)?  If you think that there is no possible way that where you live could ever be a place that doesn’t have fresh, clean water available at all times, well, you are being a little naive.

Ask anyone who has been in an earthquake where pipes have broken. Ask anyone who has been in a hurricane and had floods and tidal waves mess everything up for weeks. Ask anyone who lives in Flint, Michigan. You always need to have access to fresh water!

You might say you don’t need to store thousands of pounds of wheat and you probably are right. But you need to store water and you need a way to purify water.

At my house we have lots of five gallon bottles of water that we have delivered every month. We also have several cases of small water bottles that we can throw in the back of the car. We have enough bottled water that we would be OK for a few weeks. But what about all the other things we need water for? Washing clothes, and dishes and faces? We all use a ton of water!

That’s where water purification comes in. We have a few 55-gallon drums full of water in the backyard. There is no way I’d drink this water, though. Even though tap water is safe to drink if it’s been stored, who knows what bacteria has been growing in the hot Texas sun since I filled the drums up. And if you don’t have drums of water in your backyard, maybe you’ll get your water from a stream or pond. You would NEVER drink that without purifying it!

This is what I have bought to solve that: Mini filters and a gravity water filter.

Minifilters are things like Lifestraws or this Sawyer mini filter. These are meant to filter out the water as you’re drinking it. Sounds slightly dubious but people swear by them so hopefully we’ll be fine (we’ll all be crossing our fingers at this point!). I prefer the Sawyer filters because they can be used as a straw or can screw onto any old plastic  bottle. These are about $20 and would be great in a 72-hour-kit/bug-out-bag.

A gravity water filter is the kind of thing where you put dirty water in and it drips through a filter and clean water comes out. A Brita pitcher is an example. (Brita filters aren’t meant to filter out bacteria, so don’t bother with those. They’re just an example of one kind of gravity filter.) Most hard-core preppers have a water filter that rids the water of contaminants and 99.999% of bacteria. These hold several gallons of water and sit on the kitchen counter. They are popular with people who are on well water because not only do they get rid of all bacteria, they make your water taste fantastic.

The most popular brand of these filters is Big Berkey. It’s pretty good, but I prefer the AquaRain. These two filters look similar and Big Berkey definitely has more of the market share (bigger advertising budget, I guess). But in all my research (and I have done a TON of research) I have found that the AquaRain filters are much longer lasting and do a better job. Big Berkey has had some quality issues with their filters in the last few years. While they may be resolved, you never know how old the filters are that you’ll be buying.

These big systems aren’t cheap. One of these counter-top systems will run you about $300. But you don’t want to skimp on water filtration and die from diarrhea, do you? What a nasty way to go! (If you’re not getting sanitary water there also probably won’t be functioning toilets either so think what that means. Ugh.)

You can get the AquaRain filter here, but let me explain a couple of things first: There are three AquaRain systems called the 202, 402 and 404. The 202 has a 1 1/2 gallon tank on the top and the bottom. It’s fine, but small. The 402 and 404 both have a 3 gallon tank. Much better for always having purified water on hand. The metal part of the tank is exactly the same for both of these. In between the two tanks are 4 holes where the filter cartridges go. The 402 comes with two filters and two screw-on plugs. Because there are only two cartridges, the water filters somewhat slowly. The 404 comes with four filters (it has spare screw-on plugs too, in case you don’t want to use all four filters at once) so the water filters a lot quicker. So the only difference between the 402 and 404 is the number of filters.

The AquaRain filters themselves are quite expensive but I bought a couple of extras because, as I’ve said before, clean water is not something you want to leave to chance. Well, maybe you do, and think you and your family are invincible and nothing bad will ever happen. But that’s not something I want to risk.

You can spend all the money in the world on freeze-dried food and compasses and cool sleeping bags, but if you don’t have water, nothing else you have prepared will make any bit of difference. So make water a priority in your life!


If you buy anything from my Amazon links I will become a millionaire. OK, not really, I’ll only get a few cents. But I’d still be grateful. And you know I would never recommend anything that I didn’t already own and love. And BTW, I bought all these products with my very own money. I get no compensation from the companies for recommending them to you.

5 thoughts on “Water Storage and Purification

  1. In future preparedness posts I would love to hear how you store everything. This summer the project I want to tackle is reorganizing all the food and supplies. But space is an issue and I’m trying to avoid the garage for at least food.

  2. Why does the AquaRain set-up have an option that says “include installation $121.95”? Do you have to install this thing? I thought it just sits on your counter?

    And do you use it all the time? Or do you have it there just for an emergency?

    1. I have no idea why there is an “installation” option! It takes about 30 seconds to set up! I used my filter for a few days to make sure it worked well, then packed it up. I don’t want to use up the filters before I need them. In the mean time we have Sparkletts deliver our crystal clear water that we use in our dispenser that we got from Costco.

  3. Hi Cousin Hildie, Thanks for the Email that went out to Rice cousins. It stirred up replies from them. Great to keep in touch. Couple things on water:
    1. It is impossible to filter out a virus like Hepatitis. We have an outbreak of Hep A in Utah. [I’m getting immunized.] A friend had a certified water lab test some ~ $100 pressure pumped filters. Some of the Giardia got thru. It only takes one Giardia amoeba cyst to set up housekeeping in your large intestine. This gives one dysentery .
    Always sterilize any non certified water. Clorox works well. Find your clearest cleanest water. Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of Clorox Let sit for 20 minutes. Filter this water. Afterward it should smell slightly of chlorine. If you let it sit open for hours the Cl will dissipate. Iodine crystals work well too. I have a 5 gallon bucket of swimming pool tablets. One 3″ tablet treats 10,000 gallons for 5 days. [ don’t trust these brief instructions research and learn to do it right.] Might scrape a little powder off tablet and use that.
    A good filter should be dense enough it takes a pump to force the water thru. One can buy a under kitchen sink or easier an RV filter and rig up a water pump to force it thru. I like hiking filters that can be taken apart. Then the outer dirty surface can be scraped off. Sterilize in regular clorox [not scented etc.]

    For water storage add 1/8 teaspoon Clorox per gallon to stop algae etc from growing.
    Rotate every 6 months Store in shade Dark basement is the best. In Utah barrels stored in garage didn’t freeze except for one super cold winter. [Leave expansion room]

    2. Want to store 100,000 gallons of water? Drill a well! Google Village Drill BYU
    John Renould had BYU design and build said drill. Cost’s $18,000 So I’m inventing a
    cheaper lighter drill. http://www.whoLives.org has around 100 drill teams that put in ~ 1000 village wells in Africa etc. They can go 250 feet deep.

    “Bush Drill” So far I will use a trampoline frame for the “stage” . Trees or tripod or large swing set for the “Derrick”

    There is a patent on “human powered borehole drill” by John Renould I intend to invent a drill that zillions can benefit from.
    Best “GW”

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