Homesteading is primarily a rural lifestyle trend adopted by people who want to live in a more self-sufficient manner. Settling on carefully chosen parcels of land, most homesteaders produce a large portion of the food they need, and choose sustainable options for the other basic needs of life, including water and shelter.
An offshoot of the original movement, the practice of urban homesteading is a positive trend now being embraced by many people who live on much smaller parcels of land, often the size of a small city lot, within the boundaries of cities and towns. Like their rural counterparts, urban homesteaders want to ensure that the needs of their families will continue to be met no matter what the future may hold. Utilizing the rule of threes is one way that both rural and urban homesteaders can achieve this level of preparedness.
What is the Rule of Threes?
The original rule of threes was focused on survival and included the following points to remember when faced with surviving in difficult surroundings:
- Humans can survive three minutes without air before suffering asphyxiation or drowning
- Humans can survive three hours without shelter during harsh weather conditions
- Humans can survive three days with no water before falling victim to dehydration
- Humans can survive three weeks without food before risking starvation
Many homesteaders, both rural and urban, refer to this rule to ensure that they are prepared to meet their family's shelter, water and food needs during a crisis. Over the years, however, many have come to add another rule of threes to the original one and this one reminds them to always have multiple ways to supply the basic needs for survival.
Using the Rule of Threes to Provide Water for Urban Homesteads
Most urban homesteads are hooked into the public water supply in the city or town where they are located. During normal times, this offers a constant supply of cheap, safe water to meet the family's needs. In the event of some type of natural disaster or terrorist attack, the municipal pumps and water treatment facilities could cease to function and the urban homesteader could be left with no way to get safe water for drinking, cooking and basic sanitation. When using the rule of threes, however, the prepared urban homesteader will always have at least two additional ways to provide safe water for their family in the event that their primary municipal water supply is unavailable, or becomes unsafe.
Stored Water Supplies
Power outages due to storms or mechanical failure are typically short-term in nature and easily handled by having a supply of bottle water on hand. This supply should, at minimum, be sufficient to supply the survival hydration needs for each person living on the urban homestead for a period of at least three to ten days. Most authorities advise storing enough to provide each family member with a gallon of water per day for drinking and basic sanitation needs.
Rain Catchment System
This simple system can be easily installed in areas of the country that receive adequate amounts of rainfall each year. By installing a system of guttering, pipes and water storage tanks, the rainfall can be captured and stored for future needs, as well as being used to water vegetable gardens and meet other needs during droughts and periods of dry weather.
Available water storage for this type of system can be as simple as placing rain barrels beneath downspouts at the corners of each building on the property. However, taking the time to install higher capacity tanks, filtration systems and more advanced network of water delivery pipes will provide a more dependable water source.
Storage tanks should be located in such a way as to make a gravity feed system possible, to ensure that your water supply is not affected by power outages. Your local plumbing service can make sure that the pipes are installed at the proper height and angle to accomplish this, as well as help with filtration needs.
Whether preparing for a survival situation, or just wanting to ensure your family's comfort during a brief power outage, having three sources of water is a great way to start living a more prepared life.