Although stockpiling guns and ammo and food seem to get all the attention from the would-be preppers and survivalists out there, a more important skill that every “Doomsday Prepper” needs to have is to know how to purify water.
You can only survive about three days without water, so you will die of dehydration long before you starve in the event of a zombie apocalypse or total breakdown of society following an economic collapse.
First, let’s look at a couple scenarios that would require you to treat your water. The first most likely scenario is when the local municipality issues a boil order because a power outage or supply chain interruption causes them to not be able to properly treat the water coming to your tap.
This scenario happened in 2003 after the massive power outage that affected tens of millions of people throughout the northeast. Even 4 days after power was restored, the people serviced by a Detroit water supply were under a boil order.
If a boil order is issued and you have no power, how will you make the water safe? Since a boil order is issued due to concerns of bacteria (and not heavy metals or chemical contamination), you have an alternative to putting the water on your non-working stove to heat it if you have a barbecue grill or a camp stove. This is a good reason to make sure that your emergency preparedness supplies includes a large stockpot.
If you don’t have a barbecue grill or camp stove to heat the water, you can merely treat it with chlorine bleach. The way to do this is by adding 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water and let it sit at least 30 minutes.
The key is to use regular, unscented bleach though. And believe it or not, bleach actually has a shelf life. The rule of thumb is that the water should have a bit of a bleach smell after 30 minutes. If you can’t smell some odor of bleach, the water may not be safe to drink, so either add some more bleach or get a different jug of bleach.
Finally, to get rid of the bleach smell and any taste, you can pour the water back and forth between two containers to aerate it, which will make the taste go away.