Next to air to breathe, water is probably the most urgently needed resource for long-term survival. Yes, there are other factors that can leap ahead of water for short-term survival — shelter from severe elements, first aid for serious blood loss injury, etc. But beyond that type of immediate need, water rises to the top of the priority list if you hope to survive more than a few days. So, what will you do if your access to drinkable water is interrupted?
Assume that your normal source of drinking water is disabled for an extended period of time — let's say a few weeks — before it can be restored. This could happen in any number of ways, including severe contamination (either accidental or intentional) requiring a total dismantling, scrubbing, and rebuilding of the system; a massive natural disaster such as a major hurricane, earthquake, tsunami; an act of war such as an EMP, or a widespread pandemic that forces everyone (including the folks who work at the water treatment plant) into quarantine.
To help you work through this issue, here's a little pop quiz: What is the best way to purify water for drinking?
- Boiling for 5 minutes at sea level and one additional minute for each 1000 feet of elevation
- Filtering with a sub-micron ceramic filter system
- Exposure to a UV light source
- Treatment with chlorine or iodine
I'll let you work on this question, and post your comments. Then I'll examine all six of these possible answers and work toward a conclusion in my next post.