Today we’re going over the storage of the water you found yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll talk about purifying your water.
Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan
One of the most commonly addressed subjects that the general public doesn’t seem to know much about is water storage. Storing water is one of the most overlooked items in emergency preparedness, but it is easily one of the most important. Water is commonly one of the first things to become contaminated after a disaster, but it is essential to living. It’s important to know how much water you should store. The Red Cross recommends a minimum of one gallon per person per day in any emergency situation. In colder or warmer temperatures the need for water is even greater. The need for water also increases with exertion.
In most emergency situations, fresh drinking water is the most important item you can store. It is recommended to have both portable and stationary emergency water storage. Portable water containers should be light enough to carry during an emergency. Be sure to take into consideration that water weighs 8 lbs per gallon. Preparedness authorities recommend storing at least 14 gallons of water per person. This would mean a family of 4 would want to store approximately 56 gallons of water (remember to store both stationary and portable). There are many types of containers and options available for storing water for long term.
Heavy-duty, thick, polyethylene food grade plastic barrels are great for water storage. These barrels are normally blue (color is important, blue means water is being stored, red would mean fuel or flammable liquid is being stored, and colors other than blue may not be food grade plastic) and normally come in sizes that range from 15 to 55 gallons. It is recommended to store these barrels in a dark and cool area, such as a basement or food storage room. Storing your barrel outside could have an effect on the life of the barrel. It is not recommended to store any water container in direct or indirect sunlight. Also, it is best to store water barrels with a non-porous insulation barrier (such as wood) between the cement and the barrel.
It is not recommended to store a barrel outside, but if you have to, it is recommended to take certain necessary precautions. Cover it as much as possible to prevent exposure to light, ensure cleanliness and for insulation purposes. During the winter you have to take into account the freezing factor. When water freezes it expands. If there is not enough room at the top of your barrel, it can cause your barrel to become disfigured or may even crack. It is recommended to only fill the barrel 9/10 the way full if you plan on storing it in a place where there is a potential of freezing.
One of the best water storage options is the metalized plastic bag in a boxed water kit. The metalized bag is filled with water and then placed in a cardboard box. The water is kept from light, limiting any bacteria or algae growth. These kits are great because they offer an easy to use and versatile portable water system. The boxes can double as a sanitation kit (emergency toilet) and a carrying case for transporting water.
A smaller version of the metalized water bag system is the water pouch of purified drinking water. Each pouch contains approximately four to eight ounces of water that can be stored for more than five years. This would be an alternative to heavier containers as a minimum ration for small children, but it would not be a viable water source in place of larger containers.
Two-liter pop or juice bottles are also a good option for inexpensive water storage. Be sure to clean them well and store in a cool and dark area. Light and warmth will promote algae and bacteria growth. Over time these water containers can breakdown and leak. It is recommended to not store them next to food or other items that can be damaged by water. Heavy containers should always be stored close to ground level and secured to prevent breakage or possible injury in the event of any earthquake or natural disaster. Be sure to store these water containers away from any harmful chemicals. It is not recommended to use milk jugs. These jugs are biodegradable and can break down within a short period of time.
*All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Visit my emergency preparedness/self sufficiency/homesteading website! It is a work in progress so, please, check back often.