National Preparedness Month Daily Challenge: Day 5

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Are you guys having fun with these little challenges? I sure hope so. We’re doing them too and getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. I like to test my skills and my supplies to see if I can find any holes.

If you missed the previous challenges, you can catch up here:

Here’s today’s challenge!

Where is the closest natural source of water to you?

This might be a river, a pond, a lake, or even a tiny little stream.  The goal here is to locate the closest one to your home.

Now, imagine you have to get there. In situation A, you can stroll down and just fill up your container and stroll back. Map your route for situation A.

In situation B, things are more dangerous. It isn’t safe to be out but you’ve run out of your own supply and there’s nary a cloud in the sky for catching rainwater. You MUST have water. What is the stealthiest route to get to your water source? This might be a trail through the woods, alleyways if you’re in the city. What is the way where you’re likely to encounter the fewest people?

And finally, how will you tote the water home?  Water is pretty heavy at just over 8 pounds per gallon. Below are a few ideas:

  • Stroller
  • Water bladder backpack (This is a good option for Situation B when you must be stealthy)
  • Wagon
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Soda bottles in a regular backpack

Share your ideas

What are your plans for acquiring water in Situations A and B? Are there other variables where you live that could make it even more difficult to get some water home in an emergency? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Remember if you want to qualify for the free ebook, be sure to post your answers in the forum.

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I am a 5 minute walk from the Detroit river, down a fairly major street which I live on. There really is no stealthy route – perhaps just a stealthier time of day. But with all the crud getting dumped in there from all the heavy manufacturing and the twin nuclear reactors, I would not trust any combination of purification methods to make it safe. I would concentrate on water storage (I have several barrels of water), keeping every bucket in the yard at all times for rainwater collection, collecting water from early morning dew, and I have a silcox key for urban backup.

  • Fortunate to live rural. There are 2 large private ponds near me. We also have a small creek on our property that is easily accessible. The biggest thing for us was purchasing a stand along pump to drop into the well. We also had a second well on a different water vein drilled at the barn. One pump draws 5 gallons of water. (I remember my granddad baling water with a Maxwell House coffee can when I was a little kid) I have several water barrels for plants and flushing/cleaning that are usable during spring, summer, fall. We got a pump for the tractor and can pump water from drums or the creek.

  • The Rio Grand is 16 miles as the crow flies from me. Not a great choice. This is why I have some rain water tanks. I use them for watering my trees and garden, but could switch to my own use. I have a water system to filter the water for drinking. The nearest town only has four people living in it. Like us they are on private wells. I have four thousand gallons total between four tanks that I use for my own water. We keep them filled. We also have a stove top distiller for distiller water. This can be used on a gas stove or at a camp site.

  • Quick question. Our static water level is 75′ but the well has been drilled to 325′. If there were an earthquake, New Madrid, and the rock moved and crushed the well inside, would we still be able to use a hand pump? Not a huge issue as we live next to a huge lake and have five ponds on our property.

  • There’s a transport gadget that’s worth adding to the excellent list above. That’s the “hiking trailer”. It’s basically the airline luggage carrier with two wheels — that lots of people have stopped using since so much luggage these days comes with built-in wheels. They can either be pulled by hand or easily modified to attach to your belt for hands-free pulling.

    One of the most interesting uses of such a two-wheeled trailer was by a guy from the Netherlands who hiked some 2,600 kilometers pulling his gear behind him on such a trailer / cart / etc. See this 1:22 minute quickie video that demos a commercially made hiking trailer, but you could convert a compactable airline luggage cart ($25 to $50 approx) to work the same way:

    I see no reason why it wouldn’t also easily serve to carry water without giving you the appearance of a homeless person pushing a stolen grocery store shopping cart — and without breaking your back.

    Regarding sources of water that may be contaminated with “stuff” you don’t have time to have tested, let alone identified, if you have distilling equipment at home (both electric powered and back-packable campfire powered) and understand how to use it correctly (like boiling off any VOC chemicals before beginning to capture the clean steam), you can economically clean any water on the planet no matter how grossly it has been contaminated without worrying about whether your water filter can remove discarded pharmaceuticals, VOC chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, etc as well as the everyday biological stuff that water filters typically address. Also you don’t have to worry about a water filter that might be ready to clog up, or one that’s been frozen (unknown to you) after being used even once so that the residual water cracks the tiny capillary tubes and leaks contaminated water past the filtering mechanism.

    And the distilling gear options I’ve described can handle whether or not you have electric power.


    • Great link, but there seems to be no quick release from the harness for emergencies and the guy doesn’t do much running with his modern travois.

  • Closest source is a river about a mile away. I have a collapsible wagon that will hold 4 or 5 containers – each 5 gallons. There is back trail down an escarpment for the semi-stealthy way if needed. Known to very few people.
    But this is a small town area, and the river has plenty, so there really is no problem getting water safely.

  • Aside from a few local ponds too small to matter, it’s the Colorado River–almost 50 miles away. That’s why I’m putting in a deep well and a cistern and hooking it up to my Solar system.

  • We have lots of stored water to begin with. 6, 330 gallon totes that is potable but is stored for the ducks, chickens, and rabbits and the dozen barn cats- house cats, and kittens and our noisy little bark alarm motion sensor.
    I have 230 gallons in a tote for the garden. Not for drinking.
    In the home we have 2, 5 gallon containers, 2, 2 1/2 gallon water bricks, and now 53, 34 ounce Gatorade bottles.
    We have one well on commercial power and the other capped but ready at a few minutes notice we could have the manual winch on it. Water level is at 40 ft down. Its a 4″ casing so a weighted pasta sauce can fits easily. Have several with weighting and wire bales like bucket handles. I have black heavy buckets to carry water when needed in winter for critters.
    There is a tiny stream along my property line that could be used. It comes down from a mountain spring above us. A wagon or wheel barrow could carry containers or I can carry the 2, 1 1/2 gallon buckets on a branch across my shoulders.
    Winter much of the time we could melt snow.
    I have one of those luggage carriers described by someone else. I’ve used it to carry boxes that were too heavy for me to walk far with. I also have a little pull behind sturdy cart and two wagons. I’m also working on a little cart to pull behind my bicycle. I want it for times I go out forraging. Its a lawn seeder that is lite weight and made to be pushed. I want to remove the mechanism and close up the hole in the bottom.
    If by chance we needed to “head for the hills” we have two choices one almost unknown tiny side canyon with a water seap. The other a beautiful Forrested bench with a spring. Wild turkies and elk frequent that area so hunters know it. My choice would be the tiny side canyon. The seap could be dug out and dammed up for use. There is an ancient pit dwelling there that would need a new roof to be habitable. Hidden Shelter and water! Just 5 miles from home. 2 1/2 miles down our rural road then 2 1/2 miles further into the edge of the mountain. Have to ford a stream to get there. Its smoothed rock and could be driven into with only a short area of tracks to cover.
    Desert here but around the mountain edges and sides there is some water always available. We live in the foothills of this ancient volcano.
    West 5 miles there are depressions in the old lava flow that are filled with water year around. They are filled with reeds and cattails. So water is there also but harder to get to.

  • Day 5 , we have 3 open water sources and a well being drilled which looks to be artesian. If someone or a flood diverted the ditch, we might need to fetch water at the creek but that would make us vulnerable in a major catastrophe where a bad person on the other side of the creek, the high side, could pick us off easily. So, I would like to see underground diversions that cannot bee seen from across the creek. In that case, for sure a couple of armed guards would need to go with, go before. We have enormous trees that would provide great cover for a tree stand look out. I’ve pondered this scenario often.
    We have a 4 wheeled cart for hauling buckets as well as wheelbarrows, but pushing them uphill is no fun. We have quite a few rain barrels, but the 50 gal blue ones are quite obvious. We just use the black ones right now.

  • We’re semi-rural, on the outskirts of a small town. We have a wet/dry stream just down the hill, 2 streams about a mile from us in opposite directions, and a major river just 3 miles (and through the small town). We have old water-cooler jugs and 5-6 gallon buckets. There really isn’t any stealthy way to get to any of these though, but like a prior poster, likely to have hours of the day/night where we could be there and back. In a pinch, and I mean an extreme pinch, we’d use water from our sump pit – obviously everything we get would be filtered/boiled prior to use!

  • Water could be a problem
    We have a deep well, and a generator, but no non-noisy way to get water.. We have only a small daily use cistern for storing the water, plus our smaller emergency bottles. We have one rain barrel connected to the gutter system, and several more we could use for non-drinking, but are not connected. We could install the new clean barrels in the basement and pump the drinking water to them then shut off the generator. I have seen storage racks that hold multiple 50-gallon barrels, laying on their side, connected to one spout.

    There is a tiny stream next to us on our property. It is mostly run-off from the neighboring farmers’ fields. While we can get water, it would be a trickle, and I do not know if I could trust it to not have chemicals in it. I certainly would not drink it.

    Two miles away is a river. To get there, we would need to traverse other farms and cross a county road. Bringing water home would be an issue. We could use a wheelbarrow for most of the route until we get to to our property which is a hill. Then, though, we could stash the wheelbarrow and make multiple trips.
    We do not have a water purifier. It would be no problem to boil the river water, though.

  • I live on 23 acres in the country. I have a 2 acre pond. I have a 2 wheeled cart that will hold at least 6 of my 5 gallon water containers. Berkeley water filter after running through cloth to strain out floating stuff. River is 3/4 mile through the woods. I have my own well with dedicated generator and 375 gallons on hand.

  • This is something that I actually did a while ago!☺️ Mental back patting aside, the water sources are a bit dodgy and likely to be contaminated. One is a pond about a quarter mile from my home, and I haven’t assessed how accessible it is. The other is a small open stream that runs under a busy street, under a building and surfaces again between another building and the parking lot in a business development. This one is only a couple of blocks away, and I can use my “granny cart” shopping cart to haul it home.
    Not ideal, but at least it’s water, and I can sneak down side streets and through parking lots and probably avoid most people. That is, unless “water bosses” set up shop and restrict access to regular people.

  • nearest running water in about 10 yards away, best one is half a mile away, the river that runs through the city. Small irrigation ditches run all over the city and 4 months of the year snow is on the ground

  • Our nearest water supply is 400 meters from our house. However, this stream is probably polluted from vagrants living along it, and we would have to be very careful with filtering, treating, and boiling this water if we had to drink it. If the revolution does break out, we would have to be careful about walking there and back in the streets. No vehicles could be used, so walking with a bladder or a few bottles in a rugsack would have to do.

  • I would not trust any of the water sources near me even after heavy purification so I would/will have to focus on water storage

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