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Ready or Not #80: Water Filter

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Recently, there was a WATER CRISIS in a small town near me. I didn’t know about the water woes until a woman at church told me about it. She said that the first thing that she thought about, when she was told to cut back on their water usage was: “I sure wish that I had filled my EMPTY 50 gallon water storage container just like Dawn said I should.” She said as soon as the water was back on, the first thing that she was going to do was fill all of her empty containers with water!

Instead of feeling guilty (for not having her water stored) she could have felt smug and comfortable knowing that she had plenty of water stored for her family IF she had JUST TAKEN THE TIME TO FILL HER WATER CONTAINERS! It is simple: two gallons per person, per day, for a two-week period. Store your water.

If this woman didn’t have water stored, she should have at least had a water filtering system. I mean, if you are not going to store your water, then at least you could filter the stuff that you find lying around. Possibly the local pond water? (Yeesh...)

Here is a diagram and instructions to make a very inexpensive and effective filter that is comparable to a $200.00 unit that you would find in a store. It only costs about $35.00 to $50.00 to buy the filter and just a little bit more for the two white buckets. The ceramic filters are what are recommended by Dr. Callison, Utah Valley University (UVU) professor and Program Coordinator for the Environmental Management Program at UVU. He says that these filters will strain out pesky little critters, including giardia and other yucky things that will make you sick.

Do-It-Yourself Drip Filter – Developed by Dr. Jim Callison

Do-It-Yourself Drip Filter

  1. Start with two clean five gallon buckets w/lids.

  2. Drill a hole in the bottom of the top bucket, and in the lid of the bottom bucket.

  3. Scrub the ceramic filter and rinse the outside before the first use.

  4. Place the ceramic filter into the hole in the top bucket. Secure the filter with the retaining nut that comes with the filter.

  5. Fill the top bucket with untreated water.

  6. Allow 12 hours or more for filtration to occur. (The more filters installed, the faster the water will filter.

  7. The first couple of buckets of treated water may be a little cloudy until the filter gets broken in.

  8. After several days of use, the filter will accumulate dirt on the outside. Scrub the outside of the filter with an abrasive sponge to clean.

*Note: You can replace the bottom bucket with a water cooler and then you will have a spigot to dispense the water. You will have to modify the lid and figure out how to attach the filter or find one that the white bucket could just rest on top with a tight fit, but it would make it more convenient. Or you could always buy a spigot to attach to the bottom bucket.

The two most common brands of the ceramic filters are Doulton and British Berkefeld. Possible sources for the ceramic filter:,, and I’m sure that there are more places to find them, just look around and price them out. Personally, I would buy filters that have charcoal in them so that the filtered water tasted better.

Of course, you won’t have to actually use the filter for the first two weeks of a water crisis because you will have your water stored!


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