Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Water Storage - How Much Water?

Thanks to all who have given their comments on the blog and through talking to me.  It has been helpful to get a small idea of where we should start with the preparedness blog.

We will be starting this week with water storage.  Just for fun I would like you to take this little quiz.

#1  How much water does your family need in a 72 hour kit?

#2  What kinds of containers are best to use for storing water?

#3  Is there a certain location in your home to store water that is better than another?

#4  Do you know how to purify water that is not safe to drink?

I hope these are a few of the questions we can answer in the following few weeks.  I am no expert, but I am sure learning lots and will be documenting my own experience along the way.

During an emergency, water may or may not be available.  However, water is the single most important item.  You may find water at an evacuation center, but there may be lag time until water becomes available.  The body can live without food for extended periods of time but can live only about 3-4 days without water.  This is not considering stressful or emergency situations.

So we will be prepared!

Here is a link to the church website on Water Storage

How much water do we need?

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day.   My family has 5 people and for 3 days that is 7 gallons of water we need stored in our 72 hour kits.  

If you are like me you thought, "Why do I need that much water?  I rarely drink that much water now."  Here is what I have come to realize.  If there were a crisis situation for example the wind storms in Davis County Utah in 2011, we would be spending the day helping rebuild our community.  Moving trees, shoveling debrit, etc.   We would likely need that much water and on a hot summer day we might even wish we had more.

After browsing Walmart here are a few options I found:

The Fiji water bottles have 1.5 liters for $2.07 so we need 4 bottles per person to make half gallon a day = $41.40 for my family

Smart Water had a 1 liter bottle for $1.25 we would need 6 per person. = $37.50 for my family

Or you can go with the 11 Arrowhead waters which are usually about $2.99 a 24 pack. = $8.97 for my family
The Preparedness Store on Yellowstone uses these water pouches in their 72 hour kits.  They are $.40 a piece or a box of 60 for $22.80.  They said they do not expire which is a big pro for the water pouches.  You would just need a whole lot of them in order to get your gallon and a half per person.  They have an example - basic kit that only includes 15 packets so I suppose you could survive on that much.

The reason I decided to use already bottled water is because I don't have to worry about preparing all the containers and changing them every 6 months.  They are good until the expiration on the container which is usually a year or so away.  We have a few Fiji bottles stored in Dustin's kit because he is carrying a few more things than the rest of us and the compact bottles seemed better.  The rest of us are carrying the inexpensive option of a bunch of Arrowhead waters.

As you decide how much water to carry with you, consider the number of people in your family and their ages, health and strength.  If you are a nursing mother you are going to need more water. 

For longer term storage we are advised to have one gallon per person per day for 2 weeks.  This will be for food preparation, hygiene and drinking.    As I explored the options for holding this much water here is what I found:

Preparedness Store has the biggest selection.  Not pictures are a 250 gallon for $399.99 and a 100 gallon for $119.95 which has a spigot.
Different from the Preparedness Store, Cal Ranch has a 50 gallon barrel for $35-40 which has previously been used for food items like pickles.  It has a spigot on it.  We purchased 2 of these a few years back and try to rotate the water yearly, however if you use this option they do need to be cleaned out really well with come bleach water before filling up the first time.

I'm not sure it would make the best drinking water, but would work just great for hygiene, boiling and washing dishes or flushing toilets if that's an option.  We keep ours in the corners of our garage to make for easy rotating.

I also saw this ION at the Preparedness Store for $16.95 which would be good for a barrel like this.  You put 1/2 bottle in a 55 gallon barrel and then don't have to rotate the water for up to 7 years.

Walmart had a 5 or 6 gallon jug for $6.38 which beat out the price of these two stores in case you are looking to store in this size container.

I kept seeing these:

Anybody know what it is?  Leave a comment or email me with the answer.

Another, much less expensive option is to reuse your containers from home.  Here is what the church website tells us about that.

Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.

Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to 1 liter (one quart) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.

Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.

Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.

Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 8 drops of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every 4 liters (one gallon) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.

I have been using these Hawaiian Punch bottles left over from a party, because they are 1 gallon each and have a nifty little handle for easier carrying.  However, I never cleaned the containers before I added the water.  I rinsed them and then just thought we'd be good.  Since learning a few things I cleaned the bottles and made sure they are filled all the way to the top and marked with the date so I can know when to rotate again.  (6 month time)   I just want to add that it always feels like just another thing to do and I put it off and put it off and it took a whoppin 5 minutes to get these containers cleaned out and refilled and my conscience feels a lot better!

In all my readings I have found that these are a "better than nothing" solution.  If you are unable to purchase new containers for water storage this will be a great option until you are able.

I want to encourage you all to find a way to store some water for you and your family.  If you have some empty containers, fill them up.  If you don't, save them the next time your family drinks a 2 liter of pop and refill them!   You won't be sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, those clear & red stick hoses are the spigot/pumps to put in the big barrels. They work great-- that's what I used to empty my 55 gal. one when we moved. I also LOVE the 5-6 gallon containers you posted for $6.50ish. That's what we use when we go camping-turn the spigot and walah! Helps conserve water because you control the flow...verses pouring from a bottle. Thanks for the great info! Good stuff and new stuff!