Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4 - Water: How and what to store...

I'm pretty sure that for these first weeks of posts I'm going to be focusing A LOT on Food and Water.  Let's face it, they're pretty important in keeping us going.  If we don't have proper nutrition and enough water to drink our bodies will not function at the level they need, we are more susceptible to illness and injury, and we will be more fatigued.  Not what you want to happen if you are in an emergency situation or are under stress.

What are some reasons why we'd need a supply of water?  A couple of them have happened to us just in the past 2 years; most of the water we get in our homes needs electricity to pump it.  No electricity means no water.  In California on really hot days we run the risk of "rolling blackouts" which is when the power company plans for the electricity to be off on certain grids because of a power shortage.  As I recall it lasted for about 5 hours.  Having drinking and cleaning water set aside was a big help.  We also used water storage when the city pumps were down for maintenance right when Andy was nice and shampooed up in the shower.  I brought him jugs of water to rinse of with.  Talk about a cold shower!  

Some other reasons for water storage:

  • An earthquake can break water pipes.
  • A freeze can break pipes or freeze the water in the pipes.
  • Hurricanes or storms can contaminate water supplies.  (Think Katrina.  How awful would it be to be surrounded by water and not be able to drink it?)
  • Chemical contamination.

So, let's start with some water storage ideas.  A two-week supply is what you want to work up to, but starting with a 72-hour supply seems a little more do-able.

Now, for our family of six to have 1 gallon each day for 3 days means 3gallons x 6people = 18gallons.

That's a lot of water, and it is only for drinking and minimal hygiene and cleaning use!

So, on to our next water equation:  6gallons x 14days = 84gallons total
And one more:  84gallons -18gallons (72-hour water) = 66more gallons

How am I going to store all of this water?!?!?

Some thoughts:
  • There is roughly 3 gallons of water in a 24-pack of 16.9 oz water bottles.  6 cases of water is feasible for the 72-hour supply of water, but it would take 22 more cases to get our other 66 gallons.  That is a lot of packaging that I would be paying for, not to mention CRV which is an extra tax in California on bottled beverages.
  • 1 gallon bottles of water can be found for $1/gallon including CRV.  That would be $66 for the 66 gallons.  There are also 2.5 gallon water jugs with a spigot, which could be useful, at around the same price.
  • I can utilize some of the larger water storage containers and 2 liter soda bottles that I have and supplement with the above two ideas.
And some more thoughts:

  • We have a 5 gallon water cooler and keep it full at all times
  • 5 gallon water containers are fairly inexpensive and stack on each other
  • Large plastic food grade drums are an option, but do not store directly on cement floors.
  • Re-use empty bleach, vinegar, and laundry soap containers for cleaning water only, and mark it as such.
  • Collect rainwater in the rainy season, snow if you live where there is snow.
  • Put water bottles in the freezer if there is room.  It will keep foods frozen longer if the power goes out and is also extra water storage.
  • If there is prior notice to water being shut off fill the tubs, pitchers, buckets, and plastic containers with water.  You never know what you'll need!
  • Utilize the hot water heater and toilet tanks.  (on that note, you'll need some water to dump down the toilet to flush once in a while.  Not pleasant.)

Some off-the-blog links with good information about water storage:

Family Survival Planning
Organic Gardening and Homesteading
Prep Blog (best info is in the comments!)
And a 9 minute youtube video on using chlorine to store drinking water.  Kind of long, but good info.

I hope this got you thinking about the water that we really take for granted.  

Come back tomorrow when I'll talk about some more food storage options and buying in bulk! For Day 1 (and links to the rest of the days) go here!

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