The human body can only survive three days without drinking water. This makes water a crucial aspect of emergency preparedness.
In most homes, nearly 25 gallons of water per day is used by each person. This includes water used for drinking, cleaning, flushing and cooking. Additionally, most of the systems which supply water to these homes are dependent on electricity. Even properties with wells often utilize electric pump systems. So, water storage is important should the power grid go down.
It is recommended that you evaluate your family’s needs for a seven day period. If you are careful with your water use, you should be able to manage with 2 to 3 gallons of water per person in very warm climates. Half of this will be drinking water. The other half will be used for cooking and hygiene. You may not drink this much water currently, but keep in mind that other sources of beverages may not be available. Additionally, you will be adjusting to living without the benefit of items like air conditioning and electric fans. You will need to replace water lost through perspiration and respiration.
If you know ahead of time that you may lose your supply of water, take the opportunity to fill bathtubs, sinks, ice chests and any other container you have that is strong enough to hold water without leaking. Separate your water into two categories: drinking and all other.
It is advisable to prepare for at least seven days without water. This means that each member of your family will need 21 gallons of water in storage. To be safe, you may wish to double this amount. A family of 5 would require 105 gallons of water in storage. Twice that amount would be 210 gallons. So, two or four, 55 gallon drums would meet your storage needs.
A gallon of water weighs a little less than 8.5 pounds. This is an important consideration for storage and transportation. Quantities of water are best stored on a reinforced concrete floor as 55 gallons of water (not including the weight of the drum) would weigh almost 500 pounds. This is too heavy for most other flooring systems.
If you are unexpectedly without water, there are places in your house that contain useable water. Most hot water heaters hold about 40 gallons of drinkable water. The tank portion of the toilet also has water that is useable for some non-drinking purposes. Ice cubes in the freezer are another source. Don’t throw away the water found in canned goods as it is another valuable source of hydration when every drop counts.
Water can be collected from downspouts or in a child’s wading pool during a rainstorm. You can leave a clean bedspread or sheet out during the rain or overnight on the grass to collect the dew. Wring it out over a storage container. Non drinking water sources include water from the toilet bowl and the waterbed mattress.
Take time now to plan ahead for possible water shortages. Get creative with ways to replenish your stored water once the faucet is turned off. Train yourself and your family members to conserve the water you DO have.