Water is one of the basic needs we have for survival and is a major key to any emergency preparedness plan. Have you started your water storage in case of an emergency?
During short-term power outages you usually do not lose running water unless you use a well. However, if a long-term outage occurs, cities eventually run out of water as electricity is needed to pump water into storage towers. You also need clean water storage in case the public water supply is contaminated. We all have read the headlines in various parts of the country where water has been contaminated. There are also natural disasters we need to prepare for- earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and the list goes on.
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Getting Started with Water Storage
• Begin with the goal to have a 2 week supply of water. You can then increase your water storage for as much as you think you could need.
• According to the Red Cross, plan to store a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person per day in your home and be sure to store more if you have pets. If you live in a hot/dry climate, plan to store more.
• Clean, sanitize, and double or triple rinse all containers before filling them with water to store.
• Store water in food-grade containers or PETE (look for recycle code 1) plastic containers. Soda bottles are a great option.
• Never store water in a container that has stored non-food items.
• Try to avoid storing water in milk jugs or other HDPE (recycle code 2) plastics. This plastic is thin, easily punctured, and will leak over time. If you must store your water in these jugs or bottles consider placing them inside larger, more durable storage containers.
• Mylar bags are another storage option. Once you have filled your bags you can store them in cardboard boxes and stack the boxes on top of each other.
• 55 gallon water barrels are a great way to store water in large volumes. I personally have had a couple of these 55 gallon water barrels for decades. They are perfect for the outdoors. We put ours on the side yard and covered it with a plastic tarp.
- You will need a water barrel siphon if you purchase these water barrels. This helps siphon the water our of the barrel as there is no spigot.
• Water barrels should be stored in cool areas out of direct sunlight. Ideally, they should be kept inside. If you store your barrel in sunlight you should rotate (use and replenish) it every 6-12 months.
• 3-5 gallon rigid portable water containers are available at most camping supply stores or online and are perfect for 72-hour kits as they are small and easy to carry. They are made for long-term water storage.
• Store water in containers of several various sizes or water storage on wheels. This way you’ll be prepared for different types of emergencies. Water can get very heavy in large quantities.
- Have you seen the WaterBOB Emergency Storage? It is a plastic containment system that holds up to a 100 gallons of water in your bathtub for emergency and temporary storage. Rather than temporarily filling up an open bathtub with water that could easily get contaminated or leak down the drain, just lay this innovative heavy duty food grade FDA approved plastic in any standard bathtub, attach the fill hose to the faucet and fill to capacity. It keeps the water clean and fresh for up to 12 weeks. These are perfect for those who live in hurricane, tornado, flood and storm areas. I have purchased one to use in an emergency. I do NOT have the WaterBOB filled up. These WaterBOB’s are meant to be filled at the last minute. But you need to have one in your possession in case something does happen. Trying to find one in your area when a storm/hurricane/tornado is coming probably won’t be a possibility. This should be every emergency kit!
• Boiling is the safest way to clean water.
• Non-chlorinated water should be treated with liquid chlorine bleach that contains 5-6% sodium hypochlorite. If you have municipal water it is probably already chlorinated. Make sure the bleach you use does not contain any fragrances, perfumes or softeners. For 1 gallon of water add 8 drops of bleach, for 5 gallons add ½ teaspoon of bleach and for 55 gallons add 4-6 tablespoons.
• Do not fill your water storage containers using a garden hose as many of them are made with recycled materials and may contain lead. Instead, use a drinking water hose. Depending on hose length they are approximately $10 – $20 each. The drinking water hose won’t give your water that ‘garden hose’ taste!
• You can also purchase commercially bottled water. Keep it sealed in its original container until you need to use it. Large jugs can be put directly on your storage shelving while smaller bottles are perfect for 72-hour kits and car emergency kits because they are easy to grab if you need to evacuate your home quickly.
• Store water in a cool, dark place.
• Do not store water storage containers directly on concrete as the plastic could absorb chemicals. You can use cardboard, wood pallets, or shelving to keep it off the ground.