One of the most important steps to being prepared is to have a stockpile of water. Relying on your current water system is not the best approach. During disasters power could be out, and this will put water pumps and treatments facilities off line.
Keep in mind that a normal, active person needs about one gallon of water daily. Individual needs may vary depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. Also on very hot days your water needs can double. With this in mind, you may need to store more water.
To determine your water needs, take the following into account. Most people need two quarts of water per day for drinking and two quarts for cooking, bathing, and cleaning. Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water. A medical emergency might require additional water. Don’t forget your pets. A small pet can drink one quart of water per day.
At a minimum, store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. Just as you are increasing your food storage to three months, you should work towards three months of water. Larger containers can help.
Purchased bottled water can be stored for several months. Keep water in its original container and store in a dark cool place. Long term water storage should be done in food grade plastic containers, preferably heavy opaque plastic with tight fitting, screw-on caps. Do not store water in empty milk jugs. The plastic is too thin and will only last a couple months; also bacteria from the milk can become lodged in the plastic itself and will contaminate your water. Never store your water near gasoline, kerosene, or pesticides, or similar substances.
Clearly label all drinking containers “Drinking Water.” Mark the date on containers and place in a cool, dark location. A small amount of household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite – eight drops per gallon) will prevent bacterial growth.
Store as much water as possible, and constantly monitor the supplies for leakage. Properly stored water does not go bad. However, it may taste stale. To improve the taste, just pour water from one container to another several times to aerate.
It may become necessary to treat any suspicious water. Treat all water of uncertain quality before using it for drinking, food washing or preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and making ice.
If the water is cloudy/dirty, you can run it through a coffee filter first or let sit for a time before treating.
Boiling Water: Boil vigorously 3-5 minutes. Let cool before using.
Water Purification Tablets: Available at most camping and drug stores. Follow the directions on the package.
Chlorine Bleach: Liquid household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) can be used. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 30 minutes. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners.
If the water is clear: - (1 quart, 2 drops) – (1 gallon, 8 drops) – (5 gallons, ½ teaspoon)
If the water is cloudy: - (1 quart, 4 drops)- (1 gallon, 16 drops) – (5 gallons, 1 teaspoon)
Filtration: There are multiple levels of filtration, and not all water filtering systems are the same. Most filters remove disease-causing parasites and microorganisms; however, filters are not always effective in removing viruses. You can find some filters that use a chemical disinfectant for treating viruses. A combination of filtration and purification of contaminated water is recommended.
Do some research and find the filter that works for you. There are other methods you could use to treat water such as Reverse Osmosis, and UV light.
Consider putting a LifeStraw water filter in your grab bag for when you travel. They are small and easy to use.
During disasters, never ration drinking water unless ordered to do so by authorities. It’s better to stay hydrated during these times.
Just remember it’s always a good idea to stock more water than you anticipate you need.