How to Store Enough Water to Live Through an Emergency

Copyright 2006 Candy Arnold

Emergency preparedness is a fact of life. Natural and man-made disasters occur frequently, especially during the winter months.

The three basic necessities for survival are food, shelter and water. And it’s water that creates the biggest problem. We cannot live without it. And water weighs over eight pounds a gallon!

The rule of thumb for clean water is one gallon per person per day for drinking and cooking. And don’t forget the pets. Water is also needed for personal hygiene.

For emergencies lasting only a few days an adequate supply of water should be kept on hand at all times. Bottled water can easily be obtained from your local grocery store and stored in small places like closets and under the bed. Collapsible plastic water containers in one, three and five-gallon capacities are available from stores that sell camping supplies.

A three-day supply of clean water also needs to be stored in all of your vehicles. This supply can be added to your home water supply if necessary. Water is crucial . . . don’t leave home without it!

Plastic soft drink bottles may be used for storage but avoid glass, milk and juice containers.

Emergencies that last for several weeks require bulk storage containers. 55-gallon food-grade barrels will weight over 400 pounds so find a place that is somewhat permanent. The special wrench and siphon are necessary to get the water out of the barrel. There are also large containers that inflate when filled.

When the clean water that you have stored is gone, that is when a water filter that does not require water pressure or electricity is invaluable. The most popular gravity filter is the British Berkefeld and has been used by the Red Cross and thousands of missionaries around the world where safe drinking water is not available.

If you have advance warning of an impending disaster, then fill all the containers you can think of immediately. Take the time now to look around for possible containers and write it down so you have it when you need it.

Possible containers include kitchen bowls, food and beverage coolers, bathtubs, sinks and plastic storage tubs that now hold out-of-season items like Christmas decorations. Be creative. If the container is not free of bacteria, you can use your gravity water filter to purify it.

Your first priority in emergency preparedness is clean water! Don’t wait. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of storing hundreds of gallons of water, start small and add as you can. There are many fine companies that sell quality water containers on the Internet.