This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Mike M
It’s a well known fact that in order to survive, the need for a clean, fresh source of water is paramount. In any survival situation, water should be in your top three must haves. Shelter is absolutely paramount and so is water – the average human can survive without food for weeks or even months, but two to three days without water and your body will shut down. As someone who works in a water treatment plant I know both how hard procuring, cleaning and distributing water is, and how many people take it for granted and don’t even know how much they actually need it for survival.
Procuring and cleaning water is talked about in great depth for SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situations. Water can be collected from lakes, rivers, steams, and ponds for a viable fresh water supply. You can build various devices to collect rainwater. There is even discussion of using or building devices to distill fresh water from sea or ocean water. All these sources are viable BUT they aren’t the only sources of water. There is an abundance of water all around us from existing infrastructure you can use as a good and even a renewable source of clean water.
Most cities have centralized water supplies and piped distribution networks. Anyone who lives in an urban area probably takes advantage of a centralized water supply. This isn’t true for rural areas. Most people who live on a farm or live in a very small community will have their own private well for water supplies.
A well will give you groundwater. Groundwater, in most cases, is the cleanest source of water you can have. Groundwater supplies, as compared to surface water supplies, almost always have next to no turbidity (dirt in the water that can house chemicals or harmful micro organisms), are much less likely to be home to pathogens (micro organisms that cause disease), and are a renewable supply of water.
In any SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation, if you come across abandoned farmhouses or a small abandoned community, it’s almost guaranteed that there will be a well or wells in the area, a direct conduit for YOU to get water. There are two types of wells you’ll encounter. Dug/Bored wells, or drilled wells, and you can get water from either of these wells. I’ll tell you how to recognize them and how to get water from them.
A well that is bored or is dug will be easy to recognize. They are generally very large around, at least three to four feet, and are characterized by having a circular concrete riser. To help, you, this is what these wells generally look like:
A dug well will have different lid configurations but generally the above is what they will look like. It’s very easy to get water from these wells. The hard part is getting the lid off, especially if it’s a full concrete slab lid like pictured above. Bring a few friends with you to help you drag the lid off. From there, it’s as simple as lowering a bucket on a rope and hauling up all the water you’ll need.
Drilled wells are a different story. If a well is to be done today, usually it’s a drilled well. This is because drilled wells usually provide more (pumped) water as they can access deeper aquifers, while also providing greater protection from surface contamination. Drilled wells are usually 4” to 6” in diameter, and are characterized by an iron casing sticking up out of the grass. Generally they look like this:
Because drilled wells tend to be narrow and could be deeper, getting water from them is more difficult. You need to bring some tools with you to get the cap off. As well, they usually have submersible pumps. Usually the submersible pumps are located a fair distance below the actual water level so you can still get water from this well. You may have to navigate around something called the pitless adapter. This device is what connects the top of the tubing from the pump through the iron casing to run the water line into the house.
There are two ways that you can get water from this well. You could tie a string or rope to a weighted bag that can fit down the well and lower it, fill it with water, and pull it back up. This will get you small amounts of water at a time and will take you a while but you’ll still be getting water. The other way is to use the inertial method.
This involves raiding a hardware store, if there’s one nearby. You may want to have some of this equipment on you but it’s up to you. The inertial device is simply a check valve and a stiff tube or stiff pipe. The check valve should be a ball check without a spring that can move freely. Attach it to the bottom of the stiff tube and make sure the valve is directed to allow water up the tube and not back out.
Make sure you have enough tube or pipe to reach below the water level, and the check valve end goes first. Then start pushing and pulling. With each down stroke, the valve will open and allow water in the pipe, and the up stroke will bring the tubing higher and close the valve. Each stroke you make will push water higher up the tube until it starts coming out the top where you will collect it.
Obviously, the second method depends on specialized equipment and your own mechanical knowledge, as well as your physical strength (the deeper the well the heavier the pipe will get as it fills with water).
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to tap all resources you will need to get water. Water is one of the most important things for survival. Your body needs it, it’s necessary for cleanliness and as well for first aid (clean your cuts!). There are a lot of wells out there. Many rural out of the way properties will have wells. Look for them, and practice your well mining, because groundwater is one of the cleanest and most abundant water supplies we have.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com A total prize value of over $600.
Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” A total prize value of $28.
Contest ends on June 5 2012.