As mentioned previously, water is probably the most essential element for supporting human life in a survival situation, with the exception of oxygen. Survivalists frequently talk about the big three: Food, water and shelter. The truth is, they can be in any order. In the winter, shelter may be your most immediate concern. In temperate climes or at sea, water may be your greatest need. Thankfully, in the majority of the U.S. — although in fewer and fewer locations out west — water can be easily obtained by the novice. The tricky part comes when you have to purify it, carry it, or store it.
Today, many Americans take water for granted. We open a faucet and out it pours. What a luxury to have hot and cold running water, something that has come about universally only in the past 50 or 100 years. And what a waste that so many of us let it run down the drain while we brush or teeth, shave, and shower. Anyone who has a well powered by an electric motor (as most of rural American does) knows the inconvenience of a power outage when it means not only no electricity, but no water! Not only does this mean no more showers, it means no more flushing the toilet and no drinking water for humans and domesticated animals.
Water is not only important for drinking – our first priority – and for food preparation, our second priority, but also for hygiene, our third.
When planning your water resources for survival keep all three in mind and plan to deal with three areas: