The Importance of Knowing the Water Sources Near Your Home

water source

Having access to good water sources are an important prep.  I have a creek right across the street from my house; it is probably 50 feet from my front door.  Up the hill from my home, there is a natural spring and it has always ran a small stream of water down the hill by the side of my home. I have lived here since 1987 and until this year, the spring has always been reliable. I have spoken to older residents that say they can remember that spring running 50 and 60 years ago.

This year the spring has dried up.  The creek across the street still has water in it, but less than normal for this time of year.  Other sources of surface water are reduced because of the drought.  I think the creek is large enough to keep running all year even with the drought.  But a lot of people would have access to it.

water sources
The water channel from the dried up spring

If the water system failed and knowing the habits of many people, I feel that the creek would have dirty diapers floating down it in just a few days.  By the use of Google Earth I have found the location of all the swimming pools near my home.  Now these would by no means be my choice of potable water, but they can be used for sanitation and to water gardens.  Swimming pools have some potentially serious problems due to the chemicals that are added to them.  See my post Is Swimming Pool Water Safe to Drink?

When you go to collect water, avoid areas where high levels of salt may be found such as alkali pits or salt water.  Cattle ponds and creeks where water runs off heavily fertilized fields should be avoided if possible.  These may have high concentrations of nitrates.  In the area where I live, you have to be a bit careful around old mines because of mercury contamination.  Ponds in golf courses are normally heavily contaminated with fertilizer runoff.

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Knowing the potential water sources in your area lets you plan ahead.  If you have a stream or creek, it is always nice to know what is upstream.

water sources
These ponds on gold courses are often full of chemical fertilizers

Good water storage can help you survive the first few days when there will be confusion.  I would recommend you store enough water to last for several weeks.  This will give you time to survey the situation and make plans without having to rush into anything.

Hopefully you have a good functional water filter in your preps.  Regardless of who manufactures your system, you want to extent its use as long as possible. So use the cleanest water available.  If the water is, dirty and contains sediment and plant debris, I would filter as much material out of the water as possible prior to running it through my filter.  This will help extend the life of the filtration system.  This can be done in many different improvised ways, some as simple as straining it thought a cloth.  Homemade sand and rock filters can be used in conjunction with your good filter system.

Get to know the water sources in your area and at the same time get to know your neighbors who may control access to them.



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5 thoughts on “The Importance of Knowing the Water Sources Near Your Home”

  1. Please don’t use the water in a pool to water your garden. The chemicals in the pool (sodium hypochlorite) will ruin your soils over time causing your need for a sustainable garden to fail.

  2. Dammit Howard! How Dare you ruin my smug and superior water collection plan! 🙂

    I do have rain collection barrels (2) around the house but wouldn’t dare drink out of them. They’re for watering the gardens and are probably contaminated with bird crap.

    There is a stream within a 100 ft of my home and I have access through the neighbors privacy fence and have permission to cross his back yard but I’m concerned about the fertilizers the farmers use in close proximity to our homes. We are surrounded by soy,corn and wheat fields.

    I also have two weeks of water stashed so it would give us time to figure out who has a well that we could barter some items for water. I do know one of my very good friends has his own well but I’m not sure how safe it would be to load up a half dozen 5 gallon water containers in the truck and drive almost 4 miles to his place.

    Do you have any sources I could look up about how to make water loaded with nitrates or other fertilizers neutral?

    BTW, a few years back I saw a neighbor dumping used motor oil into a fresh water drain in the middle of the street. The drain is clearly marked with a fish and the words ” fresh water only” and i walked up on him and said ” Is that fresh water or motor oil?” He kind of gasped and turned and ran into his house. Next thing I know a local cop is pounding on my door. He’s being super aggressive and of course the polluting neighbor is looking out his back window with a big shit eating grin on his face.

    My other neighbor, Janet, came over to see what was up and all of a sudden Mr Hardass got all nice. ” just writing a ticket for menacing ” said the cop. The neighbor says ” the only menacing done here was that guy pouring black motor oil into the fresh water system and killing fish.” The cop nodded and said ” Yeah I see your point Aunt Janet. Well, my shift is almost over. have good night.” 🙂 We still laugh over that.

    At any rate, does anyone have any suggestions where I can find out how to remove or neutralize nitrates in water?


    Snake Plisken.

  3. Deanna R. Jones

    I agree, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the water sources that are close to where you live. Knowing about any potential alternative water sources to plan ahead is a very good point. You never know what the future holds, so if there’s ever a need for water for you or your family, it’ll do a lot of good to know about other water sources that could be accessed.

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