The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Are You Ready for a Long-Term Water Emergency?

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By Daisy Luther

Are you truly prepared for a water emergency?

How long could your family survive if the water stopped flowing from the municipal supply and none was available at the store? If the answer is not “indefinitely” then you need to check out my new book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.

This comprehensive book contains life-saving information about how to:

  • Store fresh water
  • Collect rainwater
  • Purify water from lakes and rivers
  • Dig a well for groundwater

In addition to harvesting water, you’ll gain the tools to keep large stores untainted for long periods of time, test the water you collect for dangerous toxins, and treat water-related illnesses that are commonly contracted during a disaster.

This book is very research heavy, with the latest in-depth information about the contaminants lurking in our water supplies and water-borne illnesses, as well as tips for conservation and sanitation during times when your lifestyle is decidedly off-grid.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the book.

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The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide

If you’ve been prepping for a while, you’ve probably heard of the survivalist’s “Rule of Three.”  You can survive:

Three minutes without air.

Three days without water.

Three weeks without food.

If a disaster has hit and you’re still breathing, then your next concern has got to be water.

Have you ever watched any of those survival shows on the Discovery Channel where people are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and left to survive with limited tools and supplies? In nearly every single episode, the biggest issue is finding and purifying water. Often, they wait so long that they become desperate and engage in risky behavior, like drinking water from a stagnant pool. In one particularly notable episode, the contestants had to be rescued because they became too weak from dehydration to seek water.

  • You don’t have to be a contestant on a survival show or a survivor of a major disaster to require a water supply or a way to acquire it. There are a myriad of smaller issues that can spiral into a personal disaster if you don’t have supplies on hand. What if:
  • Your car broke down when you were driving through the desert and you had to wait or walk for help? Without water you could dehydrate very quickly in hot temperatures.
  • You forgot or didn’t have the money to pay the water bill and your utilities were cut off for a week?
  • Your community was under a water restriction due to contamination of the water supply?
  • The power went out and your home was on well water, thus halting your running water until the electricity was restored?
  • You were out hiking and got lost, then were forced to spend a few nights in the woods with only the supplies in your daypack?

As you can see, those random occurrences that happen out of the blue can strike anyone at any time.

When Water Is Limited, Chaos Erupts

It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll just go to the store and grab a few bottles,” but when everyone else in your area has the same idea, it doesn’t take long for the shelves to clear, potentially leaving you and your family without water.

Back in 2010, a water main broke in Boston, Massachusetts. The resulting leak flooded into the Charles River, and officials were forced to use the untreated backup reservoirs. A state of emergency was declared, a boil order was announced, and absolute chaos erupted as more than two million people suddenly found themselves without running water. A local news outlet reported:

The run on bottled water caused near panic at some stores throughout the Boston area Saturday night.

At the BJ’s in Revere, the crowd got so big and the rush for water so intense that police were called in. In order to maintain control of an unruly crowd, the store was shut down for the night.

Shortly after residents in Boston received an emergency call warning them of the water crisis, supermarket aisles stocked with water were quickly wiped out.

“They are fighting over it, literally fighting over water,” said a customer at the Roche Bros. in West Roxbury. “I just had to fight my way through the aisles ’cause it’s crazy in there.”

“Not since Blizzard of ’78 have I seen something like this,” said the store manager. “New shipments that arrived were gone within seconds.”

In Coolidge Corner in Brookline, long lines formed at Trader Joe’s, CVS, and Walgreens for any kind of bottled water, including sparkling and pricey designer bottles.

The Governor of Massachusetts was able to lift the boil order a mere three days later, but during that short span, the National Guard was dispatched to deliver water, businesses were called upon to increase the water inventory brought to the local stores, and many restaurants were forced to close their doors due to the lack of safe drinking water.

You’re Going to Need More Water Than You Think

Even if you are able to jostle your way to the front of the line and victoriously snag the last 24-pack of individual water bottles, if the situation lasts longer than expected, that paltry amount is not going to see you through it.

Why not? Because on average, the expected rate of consumption is one gallon per person per day. That doesn’t include consumption for pets or what you’ll use for sanitation. If the situations persists for more than a couple of days, you’re going to need to bathe, clean, and wash dishes. Not only that, but you’ll have to figure out a safe way to dispose of human waste.

The water that you store for your family should be enough to see all members of the household through a two-week period without running water. This is the bare minimum supply you should have on hand.

What If the Situation Persists for More Than a Few Days?

Sometimes, even an abundant stored water supply isn’t enough. In more dire situations, water supplies can be interrupted indefinitely.

Do you remember the earthquake that devastated Haiti? That unexpected natural disaster took place in 2010, and some areas still do not have running water five years later. Five years. There’s no way a person could store enough water to last for that long, so the people affected have had to completely change their way of life. They’ve had to learn how to acquire water for their needs, how to purify it so it doesn’t make them sick, and how to conserve the limited amount they have available.

 Finding Water Isn’t Enough

Did you know that oftentimes, more people die in the aftermath of a disaster than in the disaster itself? And the number one cause of death? Contaminated water.

If you are thirsty—truly, desperately thirsty—it’s human nature to drink whatever is available because your imminent demise from dehydration is more concerning to you than the pathogens in that dirty water you are gulping down.

But drinking contaminated water can lead to a host of dreaded diseases like dysentery, hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, shigellosis, typhoid, diphtheria, and polio.  Just one person handling personal waste improperly can contaminate the water supply for hundreds, even thousands, of other people downstream from them.

Fresh Water Is Your Most Vital Prep

Whether you are just getting started in the preparedness lifestyle or you’ve been at it for a long time, there’s always something new to learn about water. There’s just so much information about water that it deserves its own book, instead of just one chapter in a general preparedness guide.  Aside from air, it is the most vital element of human survival. In this essential guide, you’ll learn that:

  • You must store a substantial supply, but it isn’t enough to just store it.
  • You must know how to acquire it in case your stores run out.
  • You must know how to make it safe to drink.
  • You must know what could be lurking in your water in order to combat it.
  • You must know how to conserve the water, because you have to make the water you acquire last until you can get more.
  • You must know enough about basic sanitation to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

What’s more, a water supply and source aren’t only important during disasters. It’s vital to know about the things that could be lurking in your water even if it assumedly flows safely from your taps. Municipal water supplies and wells can contain things you’d rather not consume. Sometimes these contaminants are mild and only cause issues when consumed over a long period. Other times, the contaminants can make a susceptible person ill almost immediately.

There is nothing you can store that is more valuable than water or the means to purify water. There is no greater preparedness measure that you can take than that of securing a safe, abundant source of water. Without this one vital element that makes up 50 to 70 percent of your body, you’re as good as dead.

This could be the most important preparedness information you ever read.

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The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource is a #1 new release on Amazon and is also available at Barnes and Noble.

Daisy Luther

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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14 Responses

  1. A small drip plastic bottle, with either bleach or food grade hydrogen peroxide, is very handle also.For purification

  2. All is apparently very well with you Daisy. Yep, water in large and consistent quantity will “make or break” most in the Long-run. Storage is good…the availability of a long term and consistent source will be critical. I live on a lake. Filter, boil, or steam distill. For long-term consumption, I don’t favor “chemical” disinfecting of my consumption source of water. Excellent reminder of what matters most in EVERYONE’S preps. Onward through the fog!

    1. I agree on the chemical thing. I filter out the chlorine and fluoride as well as many minerals like iron and calcium from my tap water, purely for health reasons. Where I live the water is not very good to begin with. Although that is true and even worse in most of USA ! But we do have an abundance of it, at least for now.

  3. Hi Daisy,

    This teaser was so good that I have ordered your book! I have recently constructed a 2-stage bio-sand water filter with charcoal in the second stage. I did this initially because it seemed like a good project. Since I’ve finished it I think it is a good backup in case the water supply becomes contaminated. It takes about 4 weeks for the bacteria colony to become established, so this needs to be taken into account in planning. Here is the link to a youtube presentation on constructing one:


    1. Oh very interesting! I wasn’t familiar with this at all. I hope you enjoy the book. 🙂

  4. RE: Haiti… those w running water still have to sanitize. Powdered bleach is common. Those who can afford it buy 5gal jugs of filtered water. Note Thu folks here, liquid bleach breaks down over time. Powdered, when stored appropriately, lasts indefinitely and a little makes a LOT of liquid bleach!

    1. Agree chlorine is also easily removed with simple coconut charcoal as well as many other VOCs. The most cost effective method by far and removes odors that ceramic and plastic fiber will not . It also does not plug up and they both do, rather easily, with less than pristine tap water, like a lake, river, pond etc.

      So yes you could use chems and easily filter it back out. Or simply boil it and then filter it. I use a two part method . One to get out the floaters with a paper filter and another with Coconut charcoal to get out odors and VOCs. Incredibly effective !

    2. I lived in Haiti for 3 years ‘tween 86 and 89. Back then, most peasants (most of the population) bathed, drank, washed clothes, and did business in the gutters on the roadside. Clean water was largely unheard of. Even my high roller house – connected to city supply was always questionable. NGO’s installed a deep well one year, but it was capped because it didn’t meet EPA standards for mineral content … too much of some natural chemical … so the locals went back to drinking out of the gutters – disease and all. Aren’t we a marvelous savior people?

  5. Looks like an interesting book. We’re lucky enough to live on a rural property down south where we can collect rainwater. we have 60 gallon “olive barrels” at the corners of each outbuilding and an 1100 gallon main tank off the cabin. Recently I discovered the ideal (I think) purifier …. it’s a Sawyer “Point Zero Two” – around $100 at ( …. this filter cleans out everything down to 0.02 microns …. and that includes bacteria, protozoa, and some viruses. It’s also rated for more gallons than a small city would use. So, this type of purifier and a bit of calcium hypochlorite for final clean up should provide all the safe water you could want. I have also built a filtering unit mounted on a hand-truck that can handle 500 gallons per hour. If anyone is interested, I can provide details. Thanks Daisy!

  6. Excellent guide posted here. Water is vital in a survival situation. Knowing how to get it and store it is of the utmost importance. When collecting rain water, it is useful to have chlorine on hand to help keep the water supply sanitized and free from algae,etc. Thanks for sharing this valuable resource!

  7. I see that The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest Treat and Store Your Most Vital Resource, is available on so I am assuming that the link to a pdf/ebook on is not a valid source of your information. Is that correct?

    1. No, it’s not. Thank you for letting me know. That is a website that steals books under copyright.

  8. Everything has its limitations.we can only store and treat so much water.So as with everything else do the best you can.I get what I get what Daisy is saying but we can only store so much water because of lack of space and containers to store it in.We all know we cannot survive longer than 3 days without water.I have her book.After That face it Its all over and thats reality.So no need for panic!

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