Preserving and storing water is probably the most important aspect of emergency preparedness. During any emergency, water is the first commodity found in short supply. A clean, reliable water source is vital, whether after an earthquake fire, and especially a flood; water will make or break a good emergency preparedness plan.
Simply stated, one should provide a minimum of 2-quarts of clean drinking water per day for each adult, and lesser amounts for younger children and infants. For personal hygiene, 2-quarts of water per person per day is recommended.
When one considers that a person normally uses in excess of 140 gallons of water per day for drinking, bathing, cooking etc., this really isn’t that much water.
A 14-day supply of water, per person should be the first element of emergency storage. From a strictly survival point of view, a person can lose all reserve carbohydrates and fat, and about half the body’s protein without being in real danger. A loss of only 10-22% body weight as water is fatal.
I currently use two methods to store water. One for long-term storage (5 years) and another for short-term storage (6-12 months).
PRESERVING AND STORING WATER LONG-TERM. I use 55-gallon water barrels with a preserver concentratethat will store water for up to five years. Do not use water from toilet tanks containing colored disinfectant. Culinary (tap) water is what is normally stored for long-term.
There is, however, no guarantee culinary water is free of bacteria and should be tested to be sure before storing it for long periods. To be safe, the following methods may be used to treat water for long-term storage:
- 2% Tincture of Iodine – Add 12 drops per gallon of water. Note: pregnant or nursing mothers or people with thyroid problems should not drink water with iodine.
- Chlorine Bleach – household bleach can also be used. This should contain a 5.25% solution of sodium hypochlorite without soap additives, 5-8 drops per gallon.
PRESERVING AND STORING WATER SHORT-TERM. I mainly use 2-liter bottles from soda to store water for short-term use. Do not use plastic bottles that have had milk products in them. Some plastics absorb the contents and will leach into water.
2-liter bottles store easily and are convenient if ever needed in an emergency. As long as the water is rotated every 6-12 months there’s no need to add iodine or bleach unless you want to be sure to kill any bacteria that may be in the water. Plus it can be stored longer.
When preparing for an emergency, preserving and storing water should be your first priority.
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