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Urban Survivors: A Post-SHTF Water Supply

Survival in an urban environment will be challenging in a long-term disaster. Writer Jeremiah Johnson writes an in-depth article on water procurement, covering everything from how to take it out of a rain gutter to establishing an “urban cistern” in plain view while surviving in a post-SHTF environment.

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, we’re going to cover some quick, down-and-dirty techniques for throwing a water supply together before the SHTF for our urban-dwelling readers.  Too often urbanites are ignored, and there are surely many more of you as readers than the comments reveal.

Many of you may be wondering about this, as I’ve written extensively about a rain-catchment system for your home, underground cisterns, methods of water storage in the home, and the like.  I have also written on how to locate water from “unlikely” sources.  So why this?

Because we’re a hair’s breadth away from a war and/or an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Strike against the U.S., and many have not initiated any of these plans for water storage.

On another note, naysayers and trolls have been posting without hiatus.  Their methods are simple: Deny, Discredit, and Denounce.  Do not pay any attention to these “nonproductive” comments, in which everything written is attacked without any viable solution being proposed.  The information presented here is not as “perfect” as the credentials of the trolls, however, if you take the initiative…research it yourself and then act upon it…the information gives you both options and ideas to enable you to succeed.

If you’re in an urban environment, especially living in an apartment or condo, your options regarding water storage are going to be severely limited.  Tell you what.  If you’re not thinking outside of the box, nobody will do so for you when the time is needed.  My advice is if you have a storage unit in the building or complex?  See if you can rent an extra one.  If not, then allocate the one that you have for storing emergency supplies, one of them being water.

You can store 5-gallon containers with water in that storage unit.  A good idea for you would be two 5-gallon containers for each member of the family.  That would give you a minimum of a five-day supply per family member, as each person needs about 2 gallons per day.  Cases of bottled water would be your next option, followed by the 2-liter bottle storage method.  Ensure that if you’re in an apartment, that you have at least 1 of those 5-gallon containers per person.  I’m trying to suggest it so that you don’t have too much “water weight” in one given area…although 1 container per person is certainly on the “conservative” side.  Use your best judgment.

In an apartment: allocate water for use for the toilet.  You want a couple of 5-gallon containers for the toilet.  When the emergency either occurs or looms “danger close,” you need to fill up the bathtub and all the sinks in the house completely.  Fill up every large container that can’t be easily knocked over, and preferably those with lids.  Fill up containers with lids, lining and stacking them up all over the house, if need be.

You may plan on bugging out, but you may be trapped there for a while, and it’s better safe than sorry: load up now and store it to see you through until you can leave.

Here’s an idea for you that may work should your city or town be suffering from the effects of an EMP but not a nuke or nuclear radiation.  Tap into the downspout nearest to your unit.  With the aid of a square and a sturdy but flexible sheet of plastic (such as a disposable plastic baking sheet, for instance), make a “funnel” and run the end of this into a length of 1” or comparable PVC pipe, securing your funnel with strong duct tape.  You’ll then need to “punch” into the downspout, and then position your funnel to catch the water and run it into your PVC pipe, then to a container that you preposition.

To answer your question: if you just place a container at the bottom of the downspout and there’s a water shortage, how long will it be until a “Planet of the Apes” scenario unfolds, and another 100 people want the water that’s in that container?

Not to mention that you’ll have to expose yourself to the outside.  High rise apartment-dwellers will have a hard time with this one, and if you don’t have a balcony facing the downspout, you’ll have to figure an alternative method to pipe it in or collect it.  For apartment dwellers with balconies, you can stretch sheets of plastic in an “open” funnel, and channel the water into collecting containers.  Preposition open containers all over your balcony.

Here’s a good idea for you.  Pick up a large metal or plastic outdoor garbage can.  Line the inside of it with two layers of thick contractor strength trash bags.  Leave that out on your balcony or on your porch.  Be smart: after the SHTF, place a bunch of trash around the base of it, maybe kick a dent or two into it, and go at it with a can of spray paint all over.  Make it appear to be a trash can.

But it’ll be your “urban cistern,” hidden from the IHM (Incredible Human Mob).

You can fill that with water you collect, from the rain-gutter tap I just mentioned, to the smaller containers and plastic sheets you use to gather rainwater.  With the plastic bag overlapped it will look just as an ordinary trash can.

Make sure you also have plenty of water purification gear: filters, chemical additives such as bleach, iodine, or HTH (calcium hypochlorite) to treat the water you collect, and pitchers with filtration systems, such as Brita’s, etc.  You also need to find a building or storage facility that is not going to hold anything particularly useful.  Use the spouts from this location to collect rainwater.  Just remember, chances are unless you visit it or watch over it, the water you collect will be taken.

Now, about others in your building: if you’re fortunate enough to have a laundry room in your building, you can organize a “building water supply” with the washing machines.  Run the machines to fill and use them as a storage reservoir.  You can (after it has hit) disconnect the hoses and see if you might be able to take some water from them.  Don’t forget that utility sink: stopper it up, plug it up, or whatever.  But fill that bad boy up, and keep it topped off.

The reason: if you’re working on some kind of “community/building/public good project” to save water for the rest of the building’s residents, it will deflect the attentions of the neighbors from water you’re storing in your own unit.  In addition, a “neighborhood watch” mentality may be just what you need to protect you and yours.  We’ll get into that more deeply in the next segment.  You’ll need that “watch” mentality, especially for the water supply, because you’ll have to rotate a guard on it.

Let us not forget other essential areas that will most likely be able to supply you with water: outdoor community pools, fire hydrants, and the like.  Water will be where you will find it.  Let us not forget those hot water heaters.  Use your own judgment…verify that an EMP has struck before you scavenge from ultra-critical/necessary infrastructure.

The nature of your water-gathering operations will be directly affected by the type of structure you live in and the population density.

I’m going to open this up to you and field you a questionI am especially interested in any readers who live in New York City who went through the blackouts of the 1970’s.  Please write to us and tell us how it was…especially those of you who may have lived on the 40th floor of a 100-story apartment building.  Let us know what you did, and the measures you took.  This is an experience that is valuable and would be greatly appreciated by myself as well as the other readers of ReadyNutrition.

Lastly, when all is said and done, and you’re able, unless you are “The Omega Man,” as Charlton Heston played in the movie, you need to get out of Dodge.  The challenge to find water after an EMP strike is a big one in an urban environment.  It can be done with the proper amount of desire, dedication, and planning.  The next segment we’re going to cover defensive postures in an urban environment for yourself and your family, as well as your building for a post SHTF scenario.  Until then, stay frosty and keep fighting that good fight each day.  JJ out!

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This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 24th, 2017