Different scenarios require different gear. In today's installment of the 4 P's of Water Treatment Basics, we identify different solutions for different scenarios.
AT HOME – Residential considerations for drinking water treatment.
Preparedness- In a residential setting, you are using your water day in and day out, so health and palatability are the most important factors. The most common hazards you are combating are chemicals, and bad taste from chlorination. Carbon filtration will address all of these concerns. Additionally, there is a hazard that the supply could be compromised, or be subject to a boil water advisory. Having a plan for santization will be desirable as often, supply is compromised by bacteria exposure.
Pursuit- The Pursuit factor for a residence is pretty straightforward, but water treatment solutions should emphasize convenience as daily use should be seamless.
Performance- The individual may have a wide range of ways of interpreting performance in a household setting. Lifestyle and values may be a factor such as eliminating plastic bottled water or eliminating chemicals from consumption. Considerations for low maintenance or cost per gallon may be drivers here as well.
Peace of Mind- In a household setting, peace of mind will have to do with the redundancy of the system, and protecting against supply challenges.
VANLIFE (LIfe on the Road?)– Maintaining clean water living on the road.
Preparedness- The common challenges with drinking water onboard a van or RV include the water tasting poorly coming out of the tank, or contamination with mildew or bacteria in the tank. Often, the water originates from a municipal supply, but for some, it might be supplemented by natural sources, or from campgrounds or parks. Other considerations may be driven by travel plans.
Pursuit – A van or RV has some opportunities and challenges to support a range of water treatment tools. Built in systems are a possibility, as well as chemical treatments of stored supplies. The form factor of tools is suggested by vehicle based travel.
Performance – Days between resupply and number of people onboard the van will suggest a scale to for the onboard water system. How much weight can the vehicle carry for water storage? Does the user expect a residential-like experience? Or is a minimalist approach dictated by budget concerns? Additionally, length of trip may play a factor here, as it is much different to be a full time vanlifer versus a weekender.
Peace of Mind – Peace of mind considerations may drive maintenance schedules including shock treatments and filter changes. Additionally, having the option to resupply and treat a range of sources may help eliminate anxiety around running out of water.
OVERLANDING – Sourcing water while traveling by vehicle in the backcountry or foreign place.
Preparedness – The overland traveler should consider the local water sources when evaluating how to be prepared for hydration. In an urban environment, is the water supply trustworthy? Will it be necessary to source water from natural sources that will need sanitization? Carbon filters will address chemical and taste issues, but methods to deal with bacteria, protozoa, and viruses may be required for questionable sources.
Pursuit – Vehicle based travel accommodates a range of water treatment devices. The best ones will leverage storage and power availability onboard the vehicle to fully address hazards. Weight is less of a consideration compared to human powered travel.
Performance – Overall vehicle weight is an important factor for overlanders, as suspension and mileage concerns are reduced (aided?) by not having to carry water. This means facilities for treating water in the field must be rigorous. Additionally, there may be other activities to support, such as hunting or hiking that drive hydration needs, as well as lifestyle desires to have chemical free drinking water.
Peace of Mind – Travel in the desert or where water is unavailable may need to be addressed with storage. Travel in unsafe countries may dictate extra rigorous or redundant treatment to minimize hazards, or stopping for resupply in dangerous locations. Tools should be robust enough to eliminate water anxiety.
Read the first two posts in this series...