Rainwater Harvesting: An Easy and Efficient Build, by L.R.

With spring finally here, many a homesteader is turning their thoughts to this year’s vegetable garden. Whether their garden is large or small, experienced gardeners know the successful garden begins well before the seed is planted. Many gardeners diagram on paper where they want to plant what vegetable, how many rows of each, and calculate how many bedding plants or how much seed they will need. Then, it’s off to the seed catalogs or local nursery to stock up.

For many of us who have been raising gardens for a long time, there’s nothing quite like planting seeds in grow boxes to raise our own bedding plants or planting seeds directly into the ground. I confess, I go to the garden everyday to see if the seeds I planted have sprouted. I walk to the end of the row, and even after all these years I still get a thrill … Continue reading

Two Letters: Contaminated Water in Corpus Christi, Texas

Mr. Rawles and Mr. Latimer,

As you may have seen in the news, the city of Corpus Christi has, yet again, been the subject of contaminated water. Over the last ~18 months, Corpus Christi has had a series of problems (five or six water boil notices, no drink advisory, et cetera) with the municipal water supply related to E.coli, low chlorine, high chlorine, and most recently chemical contamination Indulin AA-86 Asphalt Emulsion.

I began reading/following the SurvivalBlog several years ago and at a minimum keep a “go box” action packer for hurricane evacuations, et cetera. I have a small amount of supplies (rain barrel, Berkey water filters, WaterBOB, bottled water, MREs, et cetera). Thanks to being prepared, the previous water issues were a non-issue for my family, but this most recent water advisory is a reminder that being prepared is a constant, ongoing process. You must have … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: WaterBOBs and Reservoirs

Mr. Latimer,

Just an FYI that I saw the WaterBob on Amazon. Not sure if it is indeed “discontinued”, but it’s still for sale–it looks like. I have one. Thanks for your blog. I have received good info on it to help my family prepare for all sorts of scenarios. – MHC

o o o

Thanks to JWR’s post, I just ordered two WaterBOB’s from Amazon for $40. I checked and the Reservoir cost was about $75 for one. The WaterBOB is a one time use. Not sure that’s the case for the Reservoir. I assume the supply of WaterBOBs won’t last long. Thanks for the heads up.

Do-It-Yourself Ceramic Water Filter, by The Architect

Years ago, while visiting the South American country of Peru, I was stunned to find that every drop of drinking water had to first be boiled, before it was considered safe to drink. In a country of 22 million people, I thought this an incredible waste of money and natural resources. There had to be a better way. On my return, I set out to design a cheap ceramic filter that could be easily constructed using simple components readily obtained from any hardware or box store.

(As a side note, on one of my trips to Peru, I was a bit careless. Suffice it to say that Montezuma has nothing on the Inca revenge.)



Components required to make the ceramic filter include the following:

The Fallacy of the Bugout Bag, by J.C.

I began my quest to become self-sufficient in a bug out situation sometime around the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.  My first purchase, if I recall was a gravity fed water filter and a small solar battery charger.  The old saying that one can live three weeks without food but only three days without water, in hindsight is what drove me to that purchase.  I don’t regret buying it to this day, but the chances that it will be with me in a true bug out situation, are slim to none.

Before I go any further I would like to state that there are numerous different scenarios in a survival situation and that each requires its own skill set and supplies in order to get through them.  In two of those three scenarios, that big gravity filter will be worth its weight in gold.

Continue reading

Letter Re: Water Storage Options for Suburbanites

I was reading SurvivalBlog’s special page with info for newbies and I realized we are behind the eight ball. But my husband and I are Christians and we are both over 50. I am on disability but I am a retired Registered Nurse and I also sew, crochet etc.

You mentioned that we needed to have an underground water tank and I don’t see that as possible for us, however we do have a pool just off the back deck. Any advice?  Thanks, – Carol C.

JWR Replies: My mentions of underground water storage tanks were intended for people with country properties, and primarily those who have wells or springs with low gallons-per-minute production, or water that is pumped with photovotaically-powered pumps that operate only in daylight.  (Hence the need to capture water for later use.) Typically water is pumped up hill (or up to … Continue reading

Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Dear Editor:
Although I shouldn’t have been, I was once again amazed at the panic and last minute attempts to prepare, as Hurricane Matthew approached Florida. Florida’s geography dictates that there is only one way to travel to get out of the state, and that is north, unless you own a boat or plane.  The interstate freeways and highways get a lot of traffic and the stores get cleaned out, by hurricane refugees.  The parking lot of the Walmart that I visited was full of recreational vehicles (RVs).  Many of their owners were standing around with nowhere to go.  When a nearby gas station had what looked like a fuel resupply truck pull in there was a stampede of people on foot with empty gas cans lining up at the pump and blocking cars from getting in.

Be prepared and top off as soon as you hear the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Monitor Your Preps!


When it came time for the 6 month change-out of my emergency water, what a surprise to find how light the jugs felt! Both of my Reliance Products Desert Patrol 6 Gallon Traditional Jeep Style Rigid Water Containers had sprung leaks. Slow leaks, so I didn’t notice in my dry cool basement, but both were half empty. Okay, out they go! Then checking my Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Containers, one of them was light too, having sprung a leak some time in the not-too-distant past. One had a leak near the top from having the other stored on top of it – as is encouraged by the interlocking design, if not by manufacturer’s instructions. Once again, monitor your preps! – W.R.

Letter Re: Sanitation Issues: Understanding Home Septic Systems

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
Recently SurvivalBlog has presented several articles on sanitation issues. I’d like to add to those.

Many homes are equipped with septic tanks to perform as a holding tank for waste allowing waste decomposition to occur. Reduction of solid waste through bacterial action works, but is a slow process and often incomplete; additionally, a large number of chemicals we regularly introduce into our septic tanks, such as common soap, dish washing and clothes detergents, bleach, commercial toilet cleaning solutions, etc., are toxic to the bacteria performing the job of decomposition.

Septic tanks are one part of the equation, the other being the leach field. Leach fields are the fluid distribution pipes running from the septic tank into the ground and are intended to operate with clear  liquids only; clear liquids does not refer to their color, but means no solid materials. Solids will fill the spaces … Continue reading

Something in the Water- Part 2, by J.R.


Like iron, copper is an essential element in a person’s diet. Too much copper, however, can cause health problems, as it accumulates primarily in the liver and kidneys. Like the current issue with lead in the water supply in Flint, Michigan, copper in drinking water can come from corrosion of copper pipes. Flushing the tap for 30 to 45 seconds can reduce the copper that has accumulated when the plumbing is not in use. Reverse osmosis or ion exchange are effective at reducing excessive copper from water.


The recent events in Flint, Michigan have raised awareness of problems with our nation’s aging infrastructure and the increasing costs of providing safe drinking water. What is often forgotten is that lead can also be found in private wells. Very few, if any, states require monitoring for lead in private wells. As more people leave the regulated environments of cities and … Continue reading

Something in the Water- Part 1, by J.R.

After years of dreaming, planning, saving, and sweating, you are finally ready to leave occupied territory and make your move to the American Redoubt. You have poured over maps, studied census data, consulted with real estate professionals, and talked to county planning and assessors offices. You now are down to your short list, but what about the water supply? Water can make or break your new homestead. “It’s no problem,” you say. You checked the well logs, and the general area has good producing wells of reasonable depth, or your selected property already has a well.

What is a Well Log

Well logs are a record made by the well driller during well construction. These are usually filed with the state’s regulating agency. These logs record vital information, including well depth, static level (the top of the water in the well), and often the estimated gallons per minute the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Winter Survival

One point to consider regarding use of water filters in cold weather: Both Sawyer and Lifestraw warn that once their filter have been used, they should not be exposed to freezing temperatures. Ceramic filters are not as susceptible.

From the Lifestraw web site: “If your LifeStraw has been used, and is then exposed to freezing temperatures, water inside can freeze and crack the filter. You may not see these cracks, so we recommend never letting it freeze once it’s been used. When camping at high elevations or freezing temperatures, be extra careful not to let it freeze.”

From Sawyer web site: “Before initial wetting Filter is safe from freezing temperatures if it has never been wetted. After initial wetting While there is no definitive way to tell if a filter has been damaged due to freezing, Sawyer recommends replacing your filter if you suspect that it has … Continue reading

Letter Re: Water Works


Yet another solution to hot water is to use a solar inverter of an appropriate size to provide 220v power to a regular old hot water heater. I can recommend the Outback Radian 8000W inverter and the Rheem Marathon water heater due to the water heater’s high efficiency and extra insulation. It uses between 3000w and 4500w of power depending on the model, and if you put it on a timer it only runs at night when everyone is asleep and not using the inverter otherwise. I have seen that inverter run our well pump, the hot water heater, and both of our furnaces all together, and it only hit about 75% of its capacity doing so. That combo keeps all five of my family members taking hot showers daily, and it doesn’t consume any precious fuel! – Gilpin Guy

Continue reading