How to Store Water for Emergency Preparedness (and Purification) BYfor MD Creekmore
Without the threat of severe weather or the need for immediate emergency medical care, potable water will be your first concern following any type of disaster. I always advise my consulting clients to strive for at least three independent sources of water for cooking and drinking. For example, stored water, a water well, and a rainwater collection system.
I cannot stress enough the need for reliable water sources. Without water, most people will die in only 3-4 days – a lot sooner if the weather is hot and you have no shelter, or you have to do a lot of physical labor or activity. A person needs about two quarts of water per day to stay healthy barring extreme weather or a lot of physical exertion.
Adding a minimum of one gallon of water for cooking, cleaning, and sanitation, a medium-sized family of four requires almost 30 gallons of water per week at a minimum just to stay alive. That is around 1,440 gallons per year.
Unfortunately, most preppers do not have enough room to store 1,440 gallons of water. Therefore, I suggest that you strive for, at a minimum, 55 gallons per person. If you live in an arid region of the country, I suggest you double or triple this amount.
You will also need to have several different methods of water purification available to you. We will go into detail about water purification methods in the following paragraphs, as well as how to store water long-term.
A Death by Contaminated Water: A few years ago, my grandfather told me a story that illustrates how deadly contaminated water can be. It happened in the summer of 1934 when he was only 9 years old. He was out in the fields gathering corn with his dad, brothers, and sister.
He said it had to be at least 100 degrees because the sun was bright in the sky and the sweat burned his eyes as it dripped from his forehead. His eleven-year-old sister got thirsty, and instead of going to the house to get water, she drank from a nearby stream. She died a few days later.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that a cow from a nearby farm had died upstream from where she drank, contaminating the water. They used the water from that same spot for years with no ill effects, so they thought it was safe, but it was not.
From U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76
By drinking non-potable water, you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you. Examples of such diseases or organisms are: