Water Storage: Alternate Water Sources

Home / Beyond the Babysteps / Water Storage: Alternate Water Sources

In our BabyStep 2: Water Storage page we recommend to store a 2-week supply of water for your family. This should be enough to sustain you through the majority of shorter-term emergencies. But what if water is unavailable for a longer period of time? Do you know where the closest source of water to your house is? Are you sure the water is drinkable? Some people like to have several months to a year worth of water stored (check out these options discussed on the Utah Preppers website), but for a lot of us that just isn’t practical. This post will discuss some other means of finding drinking water in case you are not as amazing as the “Preppers” folks are yet 😉


Alternate Water Sources

Water in your home
– Hot water heater tank
– Toilet tanks (don’t use water that contains colored disinfectant!)
– Water pipes
– Ice in the freezer
– Canned food

Traditional bodies of water near your home
– Rivers and streams
– Ponds and lakes

Collect water from the air and plants
– Snow and ice
– Rain water
– Morning dew can be mopped up from rocks and plants (especially effective in desert areas). The easiest method is to use a handkerchief or shirt to gently mop up the dew and then wring it into a container. It is possible to mop up almost a quart an hour using this method!

Obtaining water from the soil
– A hole dug in a damp or muddy area allows water to seep in and accumulate
– Mud wrong in a shirt or other cloth will force out water (muddy water can be partially cleared by allowing it to stand overnight and then running it through several thickness of cloth)
– Make an evaporation still

Locate sources of groundwater (in mountainous areas)
– Sloping side of the hills in dry mountain ranges
– Small seeps and springs can be found by following narrow canyons and gullies up to their heads
– The water table is usually close to the surface and you could locate it by digging at the base of cliffs and rocks where lots of vegetation is thriving, at the base of large sand dunes on the shady or steep sides, anywhere the ground is damp or muddy, in low spots where patches of salt grass, cattails, willows or elderberries grow

Please note: Depending on the nature of the emergency situation you are in, some of these sources may be contaminated so make sure you have a plan in place for water purification. It never hurts to purify just to be on the safe side.

Pin to save this article for later


FREE checklists to make your life easier

Start today and get our 4 favorite downloads to help you build and use your food storage!