Few resources are as vital as water. A non-emergency situation can quickly become an emergency if you don't have water. So, when disaster strikes and access to clean water becomes limited, having a well-stocked supply becomes a matter of survival.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the importance of water storage, covering everything from calculating your water needs to proper storage methods and types of containers available. Get ready to become a water storage expert and ensure your family's well-being during times of crisis.
Determining Your Water Needs
- Drinking Water:
The rule of thumb across organizations like the American Red Cross and FEMA, as well as in prepper circles, is to store at least one gallon (3.8 liters) of drinking water per person per day. That said, be aware that factors like heat, physical activity, and health conditions may affect individual requirements.
You might want a calculator for this next bit. Go through each family member and multiply their recommended daily intake by what timeline you're preparing for – for example, a 3-day emergency (beginner’s – start here), 14 days (recommended), 1 month, or longer. Add the total for each family member together and this calculation will give you the total amount of drinking water needed to sustain your household for your chosen survival period.
The amount of water your family needs probably added up pretty quickly! Try not to get overwhelmed and remember you can build up your supply over time. Start with a few days' supply, and then work up to two weeks, a month, or longer until you reach your desired goal.
Important note: Don't forget about pets! According to standard vet recommendations:
Dogs: Dogs require roughly 1 ounce of water per body weight per day, so a 50-pound dog would require approximately 50 ounces of water per day.
Cats: Cats need about 4 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day, so a typical 10-pound cat would require one cup of water per day.
If you have other pets, check and see what the vet recommendations are and plan accordingly.
- Hygiene Water:
Estimating the water required for basic hygiene needs, like bathing, brushing teeth, and washing dishes, etc., is equally important, but you’re in luck – the rule of thumb cited above – 1 gallon per person per day – includes sanitation.
That said, we’re talking sponge baths and spot cleaning not showers and laundry. If you plan to do those things, plan to have more water.
Also consider any additional needs for medical purposes or specific situations. Calculate the total hygiene water required and add it to your drinking water supply total.
- Cooking Water:
Keep in mind that you'll also need water for cooking and food preparation, like for boiling rice or pasta. This amount can vary greatly depending on your family's diet and the types of meals you plan to prepare during an emergency.
If you plan to rely on freeze-dried or dehydrated meals during an emergency, you'll need to account for the water needed to rehydrate these meals. Check the packaging to find the recommended water amount needed to rehydrate each meal. Multiply the meal's water requirement by the number of meals per day to adjust your water supply accordingly.
Choosing the Right Storage Containers
Now that you have determined how much water you need to store, it's time to decide on the type of containers to use.
There are several options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. Water barrels are one of the best ways to store a lot of water at once, and they're designed for long-term storage. A common size is 55 gallons, so in one fell swoop you can pretty much have a family of four’s drinking water needs covered for two weeks (as per above, the ideal recommendation is a gallon per person per day, and with a 55-gallon drum, a four-member household would each get 13.75 gallons per day).
WaterBricks are a solid mid-range option that hold 3.5 gallons of water each. Like bricks, they can be stacked, which can be important for storing water in small spaces. Jerry cans are another great mid-range option and come in various sizes. Both WaterBricks and jerry cans have handles, making them easy to transport. If you need to evacuate or bug out, having portable water containers is essential.
Mid-sized and smaller options also allow for easier handling and rotation of your water supply, but obviously hold less water than heftier options like water barrels.
By building a survival water supply that includes both large and small containers, you can strike a balance that makes storing and rotating water easy, while still ensuring you have enough to survive.
Store your water in a cool, dark location and remember to label and date your containers so you can rotate them effectively.
Rotating and Maintaining Your Water Supply
The shelf life of water can vary depending on the storage conditions and the type of container used. Generally, commercially bottled water has a recommended shelf life of about 1-2 years from the bottling date if stored in a cool, dark place.
On the other hand, a 55-gallon drum can have a shelf life of up to 5 years or more.
See the manufacturer's guidelines for specific information and establish a rotation schedule to maintain the freshness of your water supply.
It's also important to periodically check your water for leaks, as well as any signs of contamination or degradation, regardless of the container size. If stored water develops an off smell, taste, or appearance, it should be replaced to ensure freshness and readiness in case of emergencies.
Plan B - Finding New Water Sources and Purification:
In case your stored water supply becomes depleted, it is essential to know how to find and purify additional water sources. Natural water sources such as rivers, lakes, and streams can be used but must be properly purified before consumption.
Secure Your Water Supply Today
By calculating your water needs accurately, investing in suitable storage containers, and implementing a rotation schedule, you can make sure your family has clean water available for drinking, hygiene, and meal prep during times of crisis. Storing water is critical for your family's survival.
It's also smart to store supplies like water filters and purification tablets so you're able to add more water to your supply as needed.
Don't delay – start building your water supply today to safeguard your family's survival and experience the peace of mind that comes with being well-prepared.