We all know how important clean water is in our daily lives. It is even more important when there is a disaster or when you are in a survival situation. Most stomach bugs, minor wound infections, and hygeine issues are a result of not having clean water. There is already an entry in this blog about sources of drinking water in a suburban environment. This entry is about how much water to have on hand and some ideas on how to store it.
At a minimum you need one gallon of drinking water per person per day for 3 days. By that rule, a family of 4 will need 12 gallons of drinking water stored and ready to use at a moments notice. Keep in mind that is drinking water, it does not include cooking, hand washing, teeth brushing, utensil wahsing, bathing, etc. Those sanitary functions are almost as important as drinking water. Washing your hands will prevent the spread of most common illnesses, which can become serious illnesses when in a disaster situation.
I have a famly of 4 so I store emergency water in two 7 gallon containers. The containers have a built in tap with an on/off valve, and an air valve. The containers weigh about 50 lbs each when full, can be purchased at WalMart, and are stackable as you can see below.
The purpose purpose of storing emergency water isn't to provide all of the water you will need for the duration of a disaster or survival situation. It's to provide you enough water in the short term, so you can work on long term solutions without the pressure of emergancy water needs. This will buy you time when you need it most. Things will be stressfull enough without adding the stress of thirsty children.
Rain barrels are another popular option for water storage. We replaced one of our gutter downspouts with a rain chain that runs into a 40 gallen rain barrel. A bug screen is required or you'll end up with mosquitto's breeding in the captured water. We attached a soaker hose to the rain barrel spigot and use the water in our herb garden. It's never held more than 30 gallons or so, but in a disaster situation, the water can be moved to storage containers then treated easily enough and used for drinking water.
In an emergency, a plastic kiddie pool can be placed under a downspout and used to collect water as well. All water collected should be considered as unsafe and treated before drinking. As described in an other post on this blog, adding 10 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon, shaking the water to mix it, and waiting 30 before drinking minutes will effectively treat contaminated water and make it fit for human consumption. If the water is cloudy or has an odor, use 20-30 drops per gallon, shake it up, and wait 90 minutes before drinking.