There Are Rules for Everything – Including Water Storage
We really take water for granted these days. It can be found at every store and every faucet. It’s inexpensive to purchase and it’s essential to daily life. They say you cannot survive beyond three days without water.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty unhappy after one day without it.
Day two would be agony and by day three I’d be doing whatever I could to find drinking water.
In times of emergency you will feel the same way.
The Water Storage Law of 3’s is this – be sure you know three ways to get your water.
That means you need to be sure that you:
Take the time to Store it before you need it– Can Find it when you need it – Know how to Treat it when you find it.
1. Storing Water
The daily recommendation for water storage from FEMA is one gallon – per person – per day, and they suggest you should have at least two weeks of water stored.
A family of four should have access to 56 gallons at a minimum. It might sound like a lot, but that really does mean the MINIMUM.
Have you ever tried to survive on one gallon of water a day for drinking, washing, and cleaning? I guarantee you are going to want more!
While FEMA recommends purchasing your water, I think it worth your while to learn how to fill your own containers and use your home water source if at all possible.
Here are FEMA’s recommendations for reusing liter bottles and other food grade containers.
Thoroughly clean the bottles with dish soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
Additionally, for plastic soft drink bottles sanitize them by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart (1/4 gallon) of water.
Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. (If your water utility company treats your tap water with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean.)
If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. (Mama’s note: you can do this when you are ready to use it so you don’t waste bleach).
Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your fingers.
Write the date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it. Store the containers in a cool, dark place.
Consider these ways too:
- Fill your empty canning jars
- Purchase bottled water and store under beds or in closets
- Buy 5-gallon jugs
- See the post 5 Easy Ways to Begin Your Water Storage from PreparednessMama
2. Finding Water
If you find yourself in a predicament and haven’t taken the time to store enough water for your family for then you need to know how to find it.
You should know how to evaluate it for drinking safety because found water may not be safe.
In your home: Know the likely places to find water in your house? Your hot water heater typically holds up to 40 gallons. You can access it by turning off the power source and opening the valve at the bottom, it’s that simple.
Your toilet TANK – not the bowl! – holds a few gallons and is quite safe to use…unless you have added a cleaner to it.
Outdoors: You can rely on the sky and create your own drinking water still from the morning dew and a tarp. This will not give you enough water for gulping, but it may just keep you alive.
See instructions in the video below where a military vet gives a step-by-step guide to collecting dew and turning it into drinking water in a life-and-death situation.
If you are in the right part of the country (or if it’s the right time of year) you can put out buckets and collect rain water.
Make sure to treat rainwater before drinking or cooking. Because of environmental contaminants, it is not safe to drink on its own.
Since water runs downhill…look at the bottom of hills to see if there are any accessible streams. This other post from Preparedness Mama, How To Purify Water, should also help.
3. Treating Water
The simplest and best way to treat water is to boil it. Whether on the stove or on a fire, found objects like tin cans or even soda cans will work in a pinch to boil water.
Boiling may be impractical if you are away from home. It requires time and fuel to be effective.
Consider having a small folding camp stove and enough fuel in your 72-hour kit and boil water for one minute to make it safe from contaminates.
Important Note: NEVER try to treat flood water – it is abundant in viruses, bacteria and protozoa (Does giardia ring a bell?) from overflowing sewage systems and rotting animal corpses.
Chemical disinfectant is lightweight, inexpensive and has an indefinite shelf life.
Iodine based tablets are usually used, but the water they produce has an off taste. You better try it before you rely on iodine tablets as your only method of water purification.
Another popular disinfectant is chlorine bleach. Used on clear water the ratio is 1/8 teaspoon bleach per 1-gallon water.
Add it to the water and let it stand for about 30 minutes before using it. If you are treating cloudy water, change that to 1/4 teaspoon per gallon.
Some people use pool shock as an alternative because it has a longer shelf life, much lighter. and is easier to store than bleach.
This excellent article from Gaye at Backdoor Survival explains how to use pool shock to treat water.
If you are able to find water from a stream, the first step is to filter it. This removes some contaminants and dirt (which is not very friendly to your kidneys) by passing it through a fine filter.
It does not purify the water, so you must first filter it and then disinfect it to be safe.
You may find it easier to carry a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter in your kit, which will treat up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals.
Another option is the Survivor Filter Bottle. It has a lifetime warranty and will clean 33,000 ounces before you need to replace the filter.
I find these two options the easiest, mostly because going this route means I have taken the guesswork out of treating water.
Our bodies are 75% water. Decide today which part of the water storage rules do you need to work on – Saving enough for two weeks, knowing where to find it, or having treatment resources on hand.
Other similar posts from PreparednessMama: 5 Ways to Begin your Water Storage – Water Storage Infographic
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Norma P. says
Lovely post! I am getting really serious about having a water stored in the house! With these climate changes you never know! I have really much to learn about it! Thank you for the educational post! I will share it among my community!