You may remember me talking about how to store water for drinking and cooking. This is a friendly reminder through an update to stock up on water for drinking, particularly if you haven’t started that effort yet!
Obviously, we know that water is vital for life to exist as we know it. But, did you know that our freshwater sources are only 2.5% of the water on Earth? And, two-thirds of that water is frozen in glaciers, but that supply is dwindling more every day. This means in times of disaster, water is going to be in high demand and supplies are limited.
Water demand already exceeds supply in some parts of the world, which means storing water for drinking and cooking is of utmost importance. Here in Utah, water conservation efforts are a topic in the news almost daily.
Along with all the other western states, Utah is still struggling with a drought that has been affecting the available water supply for many years now. The Colorado River which supplies much of the usable water for many states along its path to the sea is shrinking, causing the man-made lakes designed to store its life-giving water to also shrink to levels never seen since the construction of the dams.
The future of usable water here is truly in jeopardy, and we all need to stock up now so we are prepared if things don’t improve, or get worse.
Below, I will be sharing with you some reasons why we need to stock up on water, how much we need, and just how to do that!
Why Should You Be Concerned About Prepping?
I cringe when I hear, “I need to go help my grown children if we have a disaster,” really? Are you freaking kidding me? For the love of your children, I hope you taught your adult children to be self-reliant so they are ready BEFORE a disaster strikes.
When a disaster hits, more than likely there will be zero food stamps, zero banks open, zero ATMs that work, and the grocery shelves will be empty. Please promise me you will NOT be standing in line waiting for a case of water from your local government.
The time is now to be prepared more than ever before. Besides the shrinking supply of local water resources, Russia tried to hack our grid system, for example.
Please read the book “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel. I love to “read” audible books, this is the best book, besides mine, “Prepare Your Family For Survival.” It’s a no-nonsense book to help you to be prepared in case we have a large power outage or disruption. Have your family read it, it’s critical to be prepared today, not next week.
Why Can’t We Use Nearby Lakes For Water?
I’m going to share how I store my water. Keep in mind some of the water you think you may be able to harvest after a disaster may be diverted in a totally different direction and the water source may even dry up.
Some people, like my friend Lori in Michigan, have several lakes surrounding the general area where she lives. But, when there is a natural disaster of any kind, the water may be tainted with algae and is not able to be used for bathing, cooking, or brushing your teeth, to name a few things.
Additionally, the water in lakes and rivers may contain harmful bacteria, chemicals, feces, and other things you don’t want in or on your body, so part of your plans would be to get and learn how to use water filtering systems.
It is important to be ready for backup plans B, C, & D when your plan A doesn’t work anymore.
What Things Do We Need Clean Water For?
You probably realize that you will need water for both drinking and cooking, but you need to keep in mind other reasons you will need clean water, such as:
- Washing Dishes
- Taking showers and baths
- Flushing toilets
- Brushing your teeth
- Health concerns, like cleaning cuts, scrapes, and burns
Yes, you could use other than culinary water to flush the toilet, but who wants to keep two separate storage systems fully stocked?
Of course, if we have a real disaster, and I’m expecting one, or I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, you will need quite a lot of water.
How Much Water Do We Need?
You may know by now that The American Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day. Additionally, they recommend that everyone have enough water to last at least three days. Three days of water should be enough to get you through periods of water shut-offs or contamination from natural disasters like earthquakes, tornados, and ice storms, in many cases.
Three days is a good starting point, but let’s face it, many disasters can keep things shut down for much longer than that. Therefore, it is recommended that you store at least two weeks’ worth of water at 1 gallon per day per person.
I am here to tell you, that’s not going to cut it, period. You need four gallons of water per person per day.
We need to have sufficient water to drink, minimum personal hygiene, washing dishes (unless we have a bunch of paper plates and plastic utensils stored), and enough water to at least wash our underwear as needed.
Mark and I need 8 gallons of water per day, and 56 gallons per week. It’s all in the numbers, 8 gallons a day times 7 days equals 56 gallons per week.
That’s a lot of water if you’re trying to store water for a long-term outage. Now, I can stretch the water, but I would rather have more water than not enough. This is why preparing is so important.
I’m telling you today, actually, I’m begging you, to get water purifiers and store lots of water. Please do the calculations for the water your family needs. I hear people mention to me, “I’m going to Linda’s,” please don’t count on it. We must be self-reliant. I have water stored for Mark and me, period. I don’t have a community water tank outback!
Are Emergency Water Packets a Good Idea?
A reader asked me about these packets, Emergency Water Packets. These little packets are great for backpacks, but they are too expensive to store water for everyday drinking purposes in large quantities.
I get thirsty just thinking about how small the packets are. But I drink a lot of water throughout the day. They would be okay for the car, but I can’t recommend them unless you put a box of them in the car for emergency use.
If you have very many people in the car they would only “wet your whistle,” so to speak. Let’s get real here my friends, we are so subject to the dwindling water resources we rely on, and that’s without the unexpected disasters caused by earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, etc. we read about all the time.
Because we can’t continue to rely on the government to provide all the water we need since there are no adequate ways of storing water for everyone’s needs, please consider my recommendations for storing water.
Store Water For Drinking
Below is a list of options that you have when it comes to storing water for a disaster. Please remember to store water containers on 2 by 4’s to keep the containers from leaching the chemicals from the cement. Make sure all water containers are BPA-free and safe for water storage. Some people assume that all storage containers are manufactured to be safe for water storage, and that isn’t the case. Be sure to perform your own research to be sure!
55-Gallon Water Barrels or Water Tanks
Be sure and get a pump so you can draw the water when needed. Some storage tanks have spigots to drain the water, but most 55-gallon barrels don’t. We recently had to move four of these barrels and Mark was pleasantly surprised that the “pump” we bought actually acted like a siphon, and he was able to drain them in about 20 minutes each.
How to protect the water so it can be used later is a really important issue. Many people use drops of bleach when they fill the barrels. Yes, you can use that method but plan on draining them every six months or so as the bleach loses its effectiveness. Also, plan to use unscented bleach so you don’t contaminate the water with possibly harmful chemicals.
I became aware of a great water treatment solution some years ago called Water Preserver. If used in the proper quantity, your water will be safe for up to five years. These barrels use one full bottle of Water Preserver.
You may be able to pick up the 55-Gallon water barrels online from Walmart or other stores. This is one of my new favorite water tanks: PURCHASE HERE: 55-Gallon Water Tanks
These are stackable and I use 1/2 teaspoon of Water Preserver per 3.5-gallon container. I like them due to their compact size and their weight, making it easier to move them if needed. For years we’ve had over 50 gallons stored in these units under a queen-sized bed in our home. They come with a handle, again making them handy for use and portability. PURCHASE HERE: WaterBricks
High-Capacity Water Tanks
You can also purchase tanks that hold 160, 250, 350, and even more gallons of water. They can be found at many emergency preparedness stores. Some of the smaller 160-gallon tanks stack. We’ve had 160 and 250-gallon tanks in our garage for some time now.
They both have two spigots for easy drainage. The spigots are located near the floor and up a foot or two so you can put a bucket underneath for drainage, and so you don’t have to bend over as far
I can’t tell you how comfortable and confident I’ve felt having those. You’ll have to follow the instructions on the side of the Water Preserver containers to determine how much of their solution is needed for the larger tanks. Just remember, they are good for 5 years with that approach to water protection.
BlueCans are another product I’ve come to appreciate and use. Yes, they can prove to be more costly if purchased in larger case quantities, but the water lasts for decades, doesn’t require any additives, stacks when purchased by the case, and can withstand temperatures up to 150 degrees. Again, no added preserver is needed. Yes, they are expensive, but I want several types of water sources at my home. The cheapest place to buy these is Brownells. Watch for coupons and free shipping.
I’ve had a number of cases stored behind my TV entertainment center in our master bedroom for a few years now. The water tastes great. I gave each of my daughters some cases for Christmas a few years ago, just in case.
5-Gallon Water Containers
You can buy 5-gallon water containers that are stackable. They do weigh more, making them a little harder to move around. Most families should consider buying a few at a time to see how they like this size. They can be purchased as stackable units. I quote: (two or three high at the most) PURCHASE HERE: 5-Gallon Water Containers
- Portable (approximately 11.25″ x 10″ x 14.25″ tall)
- BPA free Food-grade Plastic; Plastic resin USA sourced
- Includes one spigot and one cap wrench
Here are some additional posts that will show you how I store several emergency items in my small home: Linda’s Home.
Purifying Water that You Store
Here are my recommendations for purifying the water you store for drinking and cooking.
Buy here: Big Berkey
I prefer black ceramic filters because they filter and purify large quantities. I quote from their website:
- Includes: Stainless Steel Spigot for Berkey System
- Purifies up to 3.5 gallons per hour
- Filter Life: Up to 3,000 gallons per filter element
- Holding Capacity: 2.25 Gallons
- High Grade 304 Stainless Steel
Buy here: Berkey Sports Bottles
I gave every one of my family members one of these as a gift. They are awesome! I quote:
- Filters can be replaced
- Can be refilled up to 640 times using a municipal water source
- Reduces harmful microscopic pathogens: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli 99.99999%, and other pathogenic bacteria
- Removes unpleasant taste and odors, cloudiness, silt, sediment, and chlorine
Buy here: Lifestraws
I have given these to my grandkids who hike. I quote:
- This official LifeStraw personal water filter will provide 792 gallons (1,000 liters) of safe drinking water without using chemicals, iodine
- Removes 99.9999% of bacteria including Escherichia coli (e-Coli), Campylobacter, Vibrio cholera, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella
- Removes 99.9% of protozoa including giardia lamblia (beaver fever), Cryptosporidium parvum, Entamoeba histolytica
- No shelf life – can be stored indefinitely, even after use
- Perfect for your family and friends to use during camping, hiking, and backpacking, or for your emergency kits at your home, car, and office
Use a Water Preserver in the water you store, it’s approved by the EPA. I quote:
- Use tap water to store emergency drinking water for 5 years. To be used with 55-gallon water storage barrels.
- Water Preserver is the first and only product recognized and proven effective for 5-year water storage, registered and licensed by federal and state EPA.
- The water Preserver was scientifically tested for 10 years to ensure its potency for 5-year storage.
- Guaranteed 100% effective.
- Water Preserver is a proprietary formula of stabilized, ph-balanced sodium hypochlorite with highly effective residual action that kills bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus. Accept no substitutes.
Are There Other Sources of Water for Storage I Should Consider?
There are at least two other considerations I can suggest as follows:
If you live in an area where you receive consistent rain, you may want to consider looking into rain barrel storage. The first concern is if your local government agencies will allow you to collect and store rain runoff. I haven’t performed extensive research on the matter, but do understand that some states and or municipalities don’t allow it.
If allowed, you then need to determine the best location on your property for the barrels. It would seem logical to dig a hole right under the drain spout, place the barrel so the water fills the barrel, and then bury the barrel so it’s out of sight. The challenge I see is how do you drain the water from the barrel if you need to use it, and what to do when the barrel gets full and can hold any additional rain.
I’m sure you can get some design specs from the manufacturer, and your local water regulators probably have some design and code specifications to follow. Good luck, and remember, the water has to be treated if used for drinking and/or cooking.
The second consideration is if you have a stream, river, pond, lake, etc. that is readily available. Unless there are any restrictions, these may prove great sources of supplemental water. There may also be a well or two close by where water can be shared by neighbors. Either way, you’ll need to figure out a way to get the water to your home, and that might not be easy, particularly in large quantities. Finally, this water will also need to be filtered/treated before culinary use.
Be Prepared Like Lori
A friend, Lori, shared the following picture. She teaches small groups how to be prepared so they learn skills she knows. I applaud her work. She purchased a hand pump for $9.99. Here’s this great Bottle Buddy Holder or this one Bottle Buddy 3 Tier System (3 Pack) 9-Bottle, Black. You may be able to buy the 5-gallon bottles at your local grocery store. If not, they are available on Amazon: 5-Gallon Water Bottles
I didn’t buy all of these water containers at the same time or place, I’ve been buying them a few at a time. Please teach others in your neighborhood how to store water for drinking and cooking, and don’t forget personal hygiene.
Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda