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Why Store Water?

30 Nov, 2007

There are a number of reasons why you should consider storing water:

  • Natural disaster (flood, earthquake, hurricane, winter storm, etc.).
  • If your local water source becomes polluted or contaminated.
  • When you must turn off your water supply (frozen pipes, broken water main, local emergency, etc.).

It's important to note that the human body cannot survive without food and water for long periods of time. The longest a person can go without water is about 10 days; without food, it's about 4 to 6 weeks. Certain conditions, like extreme heat or extreme activity can vary these numbersN/A

Storing Water

Here are some tips regarding water storage:

  • Store water in containers in a variety of sizes. Although we do not carry Water Containers in our inventory here at TheEpicenter, we highly recommend the Aqua-Tainers and the New Wave Enviro 3-Gallon Water Storage containers, available at Amazon.com.
  • Make sure all used containers are cleaned and sanitized before storing drinking water in them.
  • N/AIf storing water outside, make sure to store the water in FDA-approved opaque containers (like the blue 55 gallon drums) so no light can get in. Make sure you have well-fitting bung caps (with gasket seals) and a siphon pump to get the water out.
  • If storing water inside, you can use clear bottles as long as they aren’t exposed to light.
  • Clearly label all containers “drinking water.”
  • Do not store any water containers directly on cement.
  • We also recommend using Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Water Preserver (available here @ TheEpicenter.com!) which treats up to 60 gallons of stored, clean water for up to 5 years!
  • Or, alternatively, add 1/8 tsp chlorine bleach to every gallon of water you store; this will keep the water safe to drink for approximately 6 months to a year.
  • If you do not want to treat your water with bleach or a water treatment product, you should rotate it at least every six months.
  • If you are concerned about the taste of treated water, be sure to store powdered electrolyte drink mixes (available here @ TheEpicenter.com) to mask the taste.
  • You should also store a water treatment product just in case your stored water is contaminated for any reason (or if you haven't been able to rotate it).
  • When storing water for non-drinking or food preparation purposes, it can be stored in old cleaning/laundry/soap bottles (don't rinse them out) and will be ready to use. Just make sure you mark it as water for cleaning - not for drinking so that nobody drinks it.
  • Keep all stored water away from harmful products like stored gasoline, pesticides, or similar substances.
  • It's also a good idea to store a few containers of water in the freezer to help keep food frozen should the power go out for a period of time. (See our preparedness tip article about The Garage Refrigerator)

As a supplement to stored water, you may also want to consider water filters. These are lightweight, easy to store, and can be taken with you if you need to leave home. Emergency water filters can also be used to treat most water sources that may have been contaminated.

How Much Water to Store?

Generally, a minimum three-day supply of water is recommended in case of an emergency. However, more recent recommendations indicate you should plan to store, at a minimum, a two-week supply of water, per person.

In order to survive, one (1) gallon of water per day per person is recommended (2 quarts for consumption, and 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation purposes). That means you should store at least 14 gallons of water per person to survive a two-week period. It's important to note that individual needs will vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate:

  • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.
  • Other existing or foreseen conditions may also necessitate the need for more water.

N/AN/ARemember, the recommended quantities would only provide for your basic survival needs. Considering all the ways in which water is used each day (drinking, cooking/food preparation, hand washing, brushing teeth, cleaning dishes, doing laundry, flushing the toilet, taking showers, etc.), one gallon a day isn't very much at all. If possible, you should store more water, and, just in case, have a supply of water purification tablets on hand (we recommend the Potable Aqua brand, available at Amazon.com).

As far as water filters go, if you plan on staying at home, we highly recommend The Berkey (this link will take you directly to TheBerkey website). We personally own a "Big Berkey" and it sure came in handy when we lost power for a week due to a winter storm! They aren't an "inexpensive" option but, in our opinion, a Berkey is a great investment.

Using Stored Water in an Emergency

  • If your water supplies run low, you SHOULD NOT ration your water. Drink what you need when it's available (2 quarts for most people -- more if you are extremely active, if it is extremely hot, or if you are pregnant or nursing), and start the process of trying to find more.
  • Minimize the amount of water you need by reducing activity and staying cool.
  • If you have not stored enough water, a typical home water heater can provide 30-60 gallons of clean drinking water (as long as public water is still considered safe). Make sure to treat it with an emergency water filter, water purification treatment, or bleach (1/8 tsp per gallon) or before drinking or using it for food preparation!
  • You can also use the water in the reservoir tank of your toilets (but not the bowl!) if treated first.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables also contain water that you can use for hydration.

References/Resource: "How to Make Your Water Safe to Drink" FEMA.gov. (https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210318/fact-sheet-how-make-your-water-safe-drink)

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