Monday, August 25, 2008

Preppin' 101 - Part Two - Short Term Water Supply

Most short term emergencies can last from a few days to as much as two weeks. Periods of time longer than this will require additional preparations and are a topic for the next stage in your preparations. Conventional wisdom states that you should keep at a minimum one gallon of water per person per day. While this amount is better than having none at all, it can leave you in the very dangerous position of having insufficient water needs to meet basic human needs. I personally recommend a minimum of three gallons per day to cover your needs in the three basic areas of drinking, cooking, and sanitation.
This would require that a family of four for a week should store a total of 3 gallons x 4 persons x 7 days = 84 gallons. While this may seem like a lot, it is really a very minimum amount to have stored when you consider the fact that an average person in America today uses approximately 75 to 80 gallons of water per day.

As mentioned in Prepping 101 - Protecting Perishable Food Items you should already have a few gallons of water, frozen in milk jugs that have been cleaned and sanitized. While milk jugs are not very reliable containers for water storage due to their biodegradability, they can be rather long lasting when used as frozen water containers. These should not be included for short term use other than to protect perishable items during a power outage.

Probably the easiest type of container for most people to obtain and use for short term water supply storage are 2 or 3 liter soda bottles. Properly cleaned and sanitized they make excellent containers for short term water needs. They will need to be stored in an area not subject to sunlight which could lead to a failure of the container. Simply fill them from the tap and they are ready to go. I keep several in a door section of my own refrigerator for just such a purpose. This type of storage should be your primary source for drinking water.

The second item I use is the Rubbermaid two gallon water coolers (they are available in larger sizes but can be difficult to carry without help) that many workers (carpenters, construction workers, electricians, etc.) have on their job sites. Remember, water weighs approximately 8.6 pounds per gallon and a five gallon water cooler when full will weigh over 40 pounds and take additional space for storage. I have a two gallon cooler for each of my vehicles and use these as a source for cooking purposes. They offer an easy method of transporting water should a temporary evacuation become necessary, are fairly inexpensive and can be obtained at most of the big box stores.

The third item I use are the Reliance 6 gallon water storage containers. I have several of these and each container will supply enough water for one person for two days. I keep these mainly to meet sanitation needs and also as an additional supply for drinking and cooking purposes. This is water storage for needs in excess of 3 to 5 days and will cover short term water needs for an extended period.

The fourth item I use is a 30 gallon plastic barrel (food grade) and is maintained strictly for sanitation purposes for emergencies of longer duration. This I keep stored in my garage. I do not intend to use this for drinking and cooking purposes except in an absolute emergency.

Start small and work your way up until you have a sufficient short term water supply to cover your needs in a minor emergency. Take the first step and the next one will be easier as you continue in your preparations.
Staying above the water line!


Sam said...

Excellent. I like your more practical 3 gallons per person at home.

If "bugging in", there is also the water in the water heater, though it needs to be filtered for sediment (probably through a clean T-shirt is enough).

riverwalker said...

To: sam
I can't see where a gallon a day will be sufficient. It will take a little more work to have enogh on hand but it's better to have too much than to run out at a critical time.

The amount in the water heater I personally leave out of my regular storage to give me a safety factor for additional family members or friends that may be at my location.

I hate to go against government recommendations of 1 gallon per person per day but I can't see where people who use an average of 70 to 80 gallons every day will all of a sudden will be able to get by on ONE? No way! Thanks sam.


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