Doing it Right with Water Storage
We tend to expect water coming from our household taps to be clean, crystal clear, and safe to drink. Generally, that is the case, but not always. What do we do in the event of water treatment plant failure or unknown pollutants suddenly making an appearance in those water supplies? What can we do if something such as a water main break interrupts that supply of fresh, clean water? How can you prepare for the day when that reliable source of drinking water unexpectedly becomes unreliable? Storeitfoods.com hopes to be able to assist you to cope with these scenarios, should they arise, by providing access to some of the water storage tools shown on this page.
Protecting your supply of drinking water need not be terribly expensive, and there is no 100% certainty that emergency water storage will even become a necessity, but taking a "just in case" attitude might someday be warranted.
You can look to Storeitfoods.com for assistance in doing that preparing.
Water Storage Aids and Options
Tap Water for Emergency Water Storage
The first step to take is to choose the proper container in which your water can be stored.
There are a number of options available to you:
Buy plastic containers as found in your local hardware, department or sporting goods store
Don't buy blindly. Check them out so as to make certain that they are appropriate for water storage. You do not want chemical leaching into your stored water and polluting it.
Disposable plastic juice and soft drink bottles.
You've already purchased the drinks, just don't throw out the bottles. Instead, begin collecting your left over pop and water bottles. Glass bottles are also safe, but you may find them more difficult to store and more prone to breakage. Whatever you choose, make sure they have tight fitting, screw top lids.
Use insulated jugs that are sold for picnics, lunches and camping.
Preparing the water container for use
Carefully wash and rinse the containers and let them completely dry before filling them. You want them to be germ and bacteria free before adding the water you intend to store for drinking.
According to the American Red Cross, "If your local water is treated commercially by a water treatment utility, you do not have to treat the water before storing it. Treating commercially-treated water with bleach is superfluous and not necessary." If in doubt you can add some unscented chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide (about ten drops per gallon of water). This will destroy most microorganisms, and not adversely affect the taste. As an alternative, boil the water. A one minute, rolling boil should be sufficient. As soon as it has cooled enough to handle, pour it into you clean bottles, and place it into storage.
Is ther any chance your stored water might be subject to freezing? If so, make sure the containers are not filled completely to the top. Water expands when frozen and is likely to damage or destroy its container in such instances.
Store water in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Also try to keep it away from chemicals and other possible contaminants. Remember that water is heavy. If stored off the floor, your shelf or shelves will need to be sturdy enough to handle the weight.
Purifying your emergency water supplies
It is unlikely that you will be able to store enough water to sustain you over a prolonged period of time. The longer the crisis, the greater the risk of running out. Consequently, it is wise to have other safeguards in place. Be prepared to treat your water through boiling or the addition of water purification chemicals. Have water filters on hand to assist when and where needed.
Choices in water filters
- Activated charcoal system. Charcoal filters are used to filter out minerals, improving taste. According to one report, however, "This type of solution works especially well in urban areas or regions where water comes from a treatment plant. But it's not recommended if you draw your water from a well." If the water is laden with bacteria, they can actually begin to breed in the filter.
- Ceramic Filters. This is the most common type of water filter. Ceramic filters are impregnated with tiny quantities of silver that kill off harmful bacteria. Often a charcoal filter is also a part of such filtration systems, with the carbron filter removing particulates and the ceramic filter ridding the water of micro organisms. Such filters need to be replaced from time to time.
- Reverse Osmosis. This is an excellent filtering system, but also rather expensive. These systems work by forcing water through a small membrane which collects and contains bacteria and minerals. Unfiltered water stays on one side of the membrane. Filtered water passes through to the other side.
- Distilled water systems. Although not really a filtering system, this is a common way of purifying water. Water is heated to the boiling point with the resultant vapor then allowed to cool and condense back to a liquid form. That leaves behind all minerals and bacteria. Home distillers, however, are electrically powered, which could be a serious disadvantage if your home is without power.
How much water is needed?
The recommended quantity of water to store is one Gallon (4.5 liters) per person per day under ideal situations. Uncomfortably high temperatures contribute to increased fluid loss by the body, and translates into higher water needs. Take that into account. You may want to plan on a gallon and a half rather than the gallon. Ideally you will also want to have water on hand for cooking and washing. That will increase your water needs by an additional gallon or so per day.
Probably the best approach is to stock enough water to keep your family going for at least that crucial three day period that follows the onset of an emergency. Better yet, plan for a week or two with other options available if needed.
Space is likely to be your biggest limitation. If you feel that you can overcome that obstacle then it would certainly be good to plan to add to that water storage. Having too much is never really a problem. Having too little certainly could be. The more the better.
AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION REGARDING YOUR EMERGENCY WATER SUPPLY
Stored food has a shelf life, so does stored water. It is recommended that you rotate your stored tap water every six months. As you fill a container mark the date upon it so that you know when it needs to be replenished. There may not be any problem in using water that is older than six months, but this is a wise safety precaution. It is also a step towards assuring good tasting water.