Conservation, Storage & Heating

Now that water has been collected and purified it needs to be conserved and stored properly.


Water use can be divided into these two categories. In periods of drought, in dry seasons, winter, and areas farthest from water sources, conservation of water is imperative.

-drinking (minimum of 2 quarts per person per day)
-treating the sick and infirm
-washing food containers and canning equipment
-crop irrigation in dry spells using greywater (see 2:c:iii)

-bathing (opt for sponge bathing, swimming in lake, creeks, ponds)
-laundering (limit to a minimum)
-irrigation in dry days during the rainy seasons


Potable water must be purified before storing (see section 2:2:ii). Store in glass or plastic containers that have been sterilized by boiling, much like when canning food (section 1:10:iii). Store containers in the coolest possible conditions out of direct sunlight. If freezing water, allow room within the container for expansion to prevent ice from expanding to the point of bursting the container. Use water up within 1 to 2 months.

Larger amounts of water for washing, irrigation, etc, can be stored in large plastic containers that have been well washed with soap. Keep covered; if no cover is available, top with cloth to prevent dirt and materials from falling in.


Greywater is the term used to describe water which has already been used once, as in washing, but can be used again in another purpose, such as irrigation. In household settings, collect greywater by pouring through a filter (like a straw mat or rag) into large containers, and use promptly. Water from laundering or bathing are safe to use in fields where food is grown as the soap, which is made with natural ingredients, may actually aid in deterring pests. Water used for washing produce may be re-used by feeding livestock, or for wiping cookware or washing garments, at which point this reused water becomes greywater and can be used yet again. Filtering while collecting keeps food, hair and other particles out of the greywater, but is not essential if using as irrigation.

Because water is a precious and limited commodity, there should be no such thing as waste water. All water is either used primarily for human and animal consumption, or secondarily as irrigation and washing water.


Water requires heating to a boiling point for sterilization, canning, and cooking. Any of the methods for cooking with fire or sunlight, as detailed in section 3:2, will function perfectly for boiling water. When using fire for heating water, it is preferable to save certain functions (as sterilizing containers, purifying water, canning, etc) for colder weather when the fire doubles as heating for homes. In hot weather, fire could be prepared outdoors and doubled with a smokehouse for preserving meats (see section 1:10:iv). However, in any season with steady bright sunlight, the best method for heating water is using a solar cooking setup, which saves wood supplies and prevents waste of heat sources needlessly in hot weather (see section 3:2:v for cooking with sunlight).

Read the next section, Building A Fire...

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