When we store food it is incumbent upon us to also store water.
You can survive about 2-3 weeks without food, but only about 2 days without water. It is essential to life. How much do I need? What do I put it in?
How much do you need?
My recommendation is 2-3 gallons per person per day. More if you have room and can afford it. Those around you may not have the ability to do so, so let’s remember them. I highly recommend as you are preparing your water storage you think about longer term water purification. If you are building your 3 month supply of food and are doing the same for water you would have 1350 gallons of water on hand (3 gal x 5 people x 90 days=1350 gal). That is 24 55 gallon drums! WOW! Do you have that much room? I know I don’t. Actually I do but it is not cost feasible or wife feasible to have that many drums. So think about the ways you can bring water into your home as you need it.
What do I put it in?
Commercially bottled water in PETE (or PET) plastic containers may be bought. Follow the container’s “best if used by” dates as a rotation guideline. Avoid plastic containers that are not PETE plastic. I recommend having both commercial and self package. The commercial bought is much more portable. Self packaged in larger containers will be much cheaper.
If you choose to package water yourself, consider the following guidelines:
- Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
- Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to one quart (1 liter) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
- Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
- Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.
I recommend buying some 55 gallon drums and some 5 gallon containers. If you have to leave your house 5 gallon containers are more portable. If using a 55 gallon drum consider how you might extract the water. You will need a hand pump or the ability to put the drum on its side or siphon water out.
Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.
Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every gallon (4 liters) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
- Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly.
- Store water only where potential leakage would not damage your home or apartment.
- Protect stored water from light and heat. Some containers may also require protection from freezing.
- The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.
- If storing water on concrete put a barrier (i.e. a piece of plywood) or elevate the containers off the floor.
Water Purification Guidelines
If your water supply is not known to be safe or has become polluted, it should be purified before use. Water purification is generally a two-step process.
Step 1: Clarify
Cloudy or dirty water must first be made clear. It may be passed through filter paper, fine cloth, or other filter. It may be allowed to settle and the clear water on top carefully drawn. Filtered or clear settled water should always be disinfected before use.
Step 2: Disinfect
Boiling Method-Bringing water to a rolling boil for 3 to 5 minutes will kill most water-borne microorganisms. However, prolonged boiling of small quantities of water may concentrate toxic contaminants if present.
Bleach Method-Adding 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of fresh liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to every gallon (4 liters) of water will kill most microorganisms. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used. The use of bleach does not address toxic contamination.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site provides additional information about water purification.
Commercial Water Filters
Commercial water filters can effectively filter and purify water contaminated with microorganisms, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals. Their effectiveness depends on design, condition, and proper use.
Some recommendations for water filters
- I like the Berkey water filters- you can find them here- http://directive21.com/
- Here is a great way to save some money on your Berkey by making it at home-http://www.alpharubicon.com/kids/homemadeberkeydaire.htm. I also bought a couple of extra 5 gallon buckets to transport water.
- I like Katadyn filters-www.katadyn.com
I also recommend you buy a filter for your 72 hour kit. Here is a good website to peruse your choices. http://www.libertymountain.com/shop/index.asp?c=288
I like having a water bottle that can act as a filter and some purification tablets.
Please do not forget water. It will be equally if not more important to you if you need it.
Remember that if it doesn’t make your life better then it’s not worth it.
Prepping 101- Making life’s road a little smoother.