Determining Water Needs and How to Store It
You can go without clean clothes, shelter, and even food for a few days but without water, your body will start to decline pretty quickly. In fact, you can only last 3 days without water.
Fortunately, water is an extremely cheap resource to stockpile and replenish so all that you really need are a few things to store it in, a place big enough to hold the necessary amount, and the knowledge to know what you can drink and what you can’t.
We’re going to review all there is to know about storing water so that by the time we’re finished here, you’ll have the information you need to store enough water to get you through a disaster.
How Much Water Will You Need?
There are 2 types of water that you’re going to need: potable and non-potable. Of course, if you store all of your water as potable, aka drinkable, water, then you can use it for other things but this can take up a ton of space.
At a minimum, just for basic survival, you’ll need 1 gallon of drinking water per person, per day. If you consider sanitation needs, double that amount. When storing water, better too much than not enough, and you can always share it.
How Can You Safely Store Water?
There are numerous ways of safely storing water but by far the easiest way to store drinking water is to buy it in pre-bottled containers from the store. These bottles are safe to use, in theory, indefinitely but most experts recommend replacing factory-bottled water every 5 years.
Purchase water storage containers that are ready to use, such as water bricks, water barrels, or a Water Bob.
You can also store water in sanitized buckets or containers. Make sure that the containers are food-grade and have never been used to store anything that may be potentially hazardous. They also need to be airtight. These should be rotated at least once per year. Re-sanitize the containers each time that you empty them.
Use plastic drums to catch rainwater. This is a wonderful, natural source of pure water and, if stored and purified properly, will be drinkable or at least suitable for hygiene.
Finally, your hot water tank, back toilet tanks, and pipes in your house hold several gallons of water at any given time. Exactly how much depends upon the size of your tank and house but this water is perfectly drinkable. If there’s any doubt about whether or not the local water supply has been contaminated, shut off your water main before accessing these supplies.
How Do You Purify Water?
If you’re filling containers using chlorinated water that comes from your local utility plant, you don’t need to add anything. If you’re storing water that is untreated, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) of plain, unscented household bleach per gallon of water if the water’s cloudy. Use 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) per gallon if it’s clear. There are other purification methods that we’ll touch upon in our article about filtration and alternate water sources. See all water purification options.
Emergency Water Storage Tips and Suggestions
- Always store your water in food-grade, non-degradable, airtight containers that are sturdy enough to hold the weight of water
- When storing water, consider the portability of the container; don’t make it too heavy to carry or pour
- Flat water can be revitalized by pouring it back and forth between containers a couple of times.
- To prevent algae growth, don’t store your water in direct sunlight or near a heat source
- Don’t store your containers directly on concrete as it changes temperatures and gives off moisture.
- Store your water in areas that won’t be damaged if your containers break or leak
Now you know how much water you’ll need and how to properly store and sanitize it. Rotate your stored water supply regularly by using it and replacing it either when you go to the store or when you empty the container.
There are many different sources of water and ways to filter it so that it’s potable. We go into greater depth about that in the second part of our water discussion, Filtration and Alternative Water Sources so check that out to learn more!
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