With modern technology providing a constant supply of water to nearly every home in the U.S., it’s easy to take it for granted and fail to prepare for the rare but serious water emergency. What would you do if tomorrow the authorities warned you to boil your water because of a potential microorganism contamination? What if the electricity is out or you are otherwise unable to conveniently boil the water? What if the emergency were so serious as to disrupt the supply of bottled water to your local mega-mart? We realize the circumstances we are describing are highly unusual, but before you label us as survivalist freaks and ask to see our stockpiles of canned goods (we really don’t have any) just ask any of the 2 million plus residents of Boston who were recently affected by a major water crisis what they think of having a water crisis plan in place for just such a circumstance?
In much the same way that every home ought to have a fire escape plan and a conveniently located and properly maintained fire extinguisher, so too ought every home have a plan and the appropriate equipment to effectively deal with a water crisis. For starters UV lights are a great way to add a level of security to your home water supply. If you’re not familiar with UV water purification, see this highly informative document, UV Light: What is it, and What Does It Do to the Water. As long as there is electricity, UV can be very effective at protecting against microorganisms. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict the exact shape and size of a water crisis, and electricity may not be available. In those circumstances there are other options. For water that remains clear, but may have microorganisms like Cryptosporidium or Giardia, Chlorine Dioxide tablets are a must. They are better than the more commonly known Iodine tablets, because they are safer to use and don’t leave the water with that nasty Iodine taste. In the same category of disinfectants is the MIOX purifier from MSR. Using batteries and electrolysis, the MIOX produces a solution of mixed oxidants, predominantly sodium hypochlorite (bleach) which is then added to water for disinfection. It’s a piece of standard issue equipment for the U.S. military, so you know it’s well built. If the water is further contaminated with turbidity (color), or sediment, you need something like the Katadyn Vario seen in this video. The Vario will remove particles and microorganisms down to 0.2 microns, small enough to remove Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia, while also clearing the water of turbidity, sediment, and finally reducing many other contaminants and taste & odor issues with a carbon filter (see what carbon removes from water here). Products like these have been used by campers and hikers for years.
Imagine the security it will bring, knowing that you are prepared for that which we all hope never happens. It’s just a good idea!
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