Many natural disasters that will leave you stranded at home will cut off clean and safe water supplies. Whether it's an earthquake, tsunami / flood, fire, terrorist attack, or any other natural or man-made disaster, access to safe drinking water is essential to saving lives. If you want to prepare for such an event, consider the need for proper water storage as a top priority.
Step 1. Determine your family's daily water needs
Add up the following numbers to determine how much water you need to store (at least 3 days, preferably longer) - each number represents a daily value:
- Each person will need 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of drinking water to drink.
- For personal hygiene, each person will need 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of drinking water
- For sanitary needs (toilet), each person needs an average of 2 to 7 gallons (7.6 - 26.5 liters), but drinking water is not required for this. If it is possible to dig a pit latrine in your backyard, the amount of water you need can be slightly reduced by providing water only for personal hygiene needs (washing hands and removing any faeces from the skin, for example, in babies or those with diarrhea).
- Don't forget about pets. They will also need clean drinking water.
Step 2. Fill the containers with water to the brim and then place the lid on top
Do not leave an air gap.
Step 3. Find suitable ways to store water
It is advisable that you have a variety of containers of various sizes. While a tank or barrel can be a wonderful way to store a lot of water, what if you suddenly need to take only what you can carry and go somewhere else where you are safe? What if old, weak, or sick people are left on their own and are forced to carry large volumes of water? It is best to have containers of different sizes in stock to suit any unforeseen circumstance.
- Choose food-grade plastic water storage tanks or tanks made to hold rainwater. Do not use plastic that will contaminate the water.
- In the US, FDA-approved # 34 opaque containers can be used.
Step 4. Store water properly
The shelf life of water may vary depending on the container used, temperature, access to light, etc. Contaminated water won't do you any good, so stick to the following guidelines:
- Use opaque water containers. If you buy bottled water in reserve, change it every few months for new ones and either use the old supplies for your needs, or water your plants with this water.
- Store all water away from light. Do not give algae or other life forms the opportunity to develop, which is just what they are waiting for.
- Keep the water away from anything that can contaminate it, such as pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, gasoline, paints, or any other chemical.
- Do not store water outdoors where it may freeze. The block of ice won't come in handy when you don't have the heat to melt it. The only exceptions are those who live in regions with a very hot climate, they can store a small amount of water in the freezer, as it will melt in the heat.
Step 5. Empty your water supply if you are going to store it for longer than 6 months
If you do not want to purify the water, replace it with fresh one, and dispose of the old one (or use it for watering).
Step 6. Stick on labels and change the water periodically
You need to date every bottle of water so you know when to change it. The frequency of replacing old water with new one is quite suitable, which would coincide with replacing the batteries in your fire alarm or with the transfer of the clock to winter / summer time.
Step 7. Learn how to properly purify water, if the need arises
The water from the drinking-water pipelines does not need to be cleaned; in this case, only replacement is suitable. Water from sources that do not purify water can be purified as follows;
- Add four drops of unscented household bleach per gallon of water (1 drop per liter of water).
- Mix well.
- Alternatively, you can use funds from camping or disaster preparedness stores that are specifically designed for the purpose of water purification. Research the market in advance to find the most suitable product for your needs and preferences.
Step 8. Store water where you can easily get to it
Place your water supplies in different parts of the house in case there are problems with access to water, such as a building collapse or collapse. It would also be nice to have a supply of water in a shed or garage.
Step 9. Consider where else you can get water in an emergency
There are other places in your home where you can get water:
- The boiler or pressurized tank contains potable water if it is filled from the utility lines
- Toilet cistern water is safe, unless you have added a chemical cleaner to it.
- Pool water can be used for washing and sanitary purposes, but never drink it
- Water from rivers and streams near your home may only be used for fire fighting purposes; there is a very high probability that it is contaminated there.
- A portable container should not weigh more than six gallons (22 liters). To make sure you are able to carry the container, fill it up and try to move it. If you can't do it, you need to purchase a smaller container so that in case of something you can move it.
- Always empty containers before storing water in them. To do this, use household bleach or a suitable industrial cleaner.
- Supermarket water is fine, but needs to be changed every 6 months for a fresh supply of water.
- Personal hygiene includes washing your hands, brushing your teeth (but keep in mind that there is a huge variety of flossing products that make it easier to brush your teeth when there is no water available) and a quick shower.
- Do not use plastic milk containers to store water, as bacteria build up and are very difficult to clean.
- Get rid of any water that looks dirty. If you have no choice but to use it, clear it first.
- To store water that is not collected from utility and drinking pipelines, but from a stream, well or lake located not far from your summer cottage, cottage, etc., you must first clean it.