Oct 182010

In our last post we began to discuss Chris Martenson’s article, “What Should I Do?” The first step was to get familiar with the basics concepts. Step 2 involves water.  We need to have water for survival. Since most of us see large bodies of water in our view scape several times a day, water may not be high in our list of potential problems to deal with in a long term or short term emergency. However, water is crucial and we need to have water on hand and methods to filter it.

Water on an island without natural lakes or rivers is dependent on recharge from rain. There is the potential problem of dry years and of salt water incursion into our wells. In normal times our island is in pretty good shape for water with so many different wells, water systems most of which have some sort of storage capacity with above or below ground cisterns. And, islanders have started to harvest rainwater with more and more above ground tanks capturing water. Even rain barrels are a good start.

An economic slowdown benefit is that if fewer new homes are added to the island,  the pressure on our water supplies will be reduced.

In addition to storing water we need to purify it. Martenson recommends the Big Berkey filter. We’ve had one for a couple years and use it to filter our drinking water. It even has filters for arsenic, a problem that crops up in certain areas. The Big Berkey is easy to use; the filters are easy to clean.

Chris’s article on water is short and focuses on storage and purification. The comments added by readers are worthwhile and suggest some great ideas. They add to the discussion. One fellow describes in detail an ingenious purification system. Another has a good idea for storing water that will also help keep your freezer cold during a power outage. There’s also the Water Bob if you have some advance warning. Composting toilets and low volume flush toilets can save thousands of gallons of water each year.

One thing islanders need to think about is desalinization. The technology is expensive, though available. Islands like Eliza have desalinization systems. There are small units that can do a few gallons at a time. These are too expensive for one family to purchase but are excellent candidates for cooperative ventures.

Clearly, building resilience into one’s life has to start with water.


  6 Responses to “Water: Building Resilience Into Your Life”

  1. Here’s a couple of links…which includes the one Zippy mentioned in the previous blog entry on water harvesting….Adam just called and said he’s going to order some more containers….give him a call if you’re interested:




  2. I don’t think all the households on Lummi will be outfitted with a cistern system. I think we should think about water storage/availability in the community sense as well as on a personal level. Perhaps there should be cisterns located at the Fire Hall, Grange, Post Office, Church, etc…..for public access if/when water gets tight. Perhaps there should be numerous hand pumps located at various public or quasi public wells. They would be secured until there is a need. Community water systems such as the Isle Aire system could prepare by installing a hand pump on the source well, or figuring out how to allow “member” access to the 25K gallon storage tank, and how to fill it in the event of loss of electricity, a fire, etc. How water systems, with all households tied together will cope with providing adequate water for their constituents remains to be seen. I think it is wise to always give the public option some thought as we go down the list of what needs to be done.

  3. All great suggestions.

  4. I just had a third 2500 gallon tank installed. 5000 gallons didn’t last as long as I had hoped so a third tank will add to the margin. Even with 7500 gallons I will have to be very conservative with water usage in the garden. Instead of spraying I switched to a bucket watering system. Five gallon bucket with a small hole near the bottom. Fill the bucket and let it drip in the spot where I want the water. Less water loss to evaporation and misdirection.

  5. I picked up a Lehmans hand pump some years back, seemed like it was good to about 150′ + or -. It fit right on top of a 6″ casing with its own cap. It could also be hooked up to a wind turbine for deeper depths. Saving it for a rainy day…….


  6. And how about the Groasis waterbox? http://www.youtube.com/user/Groasiswaterboxx#p/u/11/z77yiBsZ24E

    Should work great in our dewy climate.

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