Water storage is one of the most important kinds of emergency preparedness storage, but I’ve also found that for me it’s the hardest prep. It’s the hardest because it’s heavy, bulky, and you need a lot of it. So, let’s dive into how to prep water storage.
How Much Water Per Person Per Day?
The recommended amount of water most professionals suggest storing is a MINIMUM of a gallon of water per person, per day. I want to challenge that. Because I really don’t think it’s even close to enough. I want to run through an exercise with you. I want you to think of all the times you use water in one day.
Below is a small example of when you might use water throughout your day starting when you first wake up.
-Use the toilet (flushing on average uses roughly a gallon of water)
-Wash your hands
-Brush your teeth
-Do your hair which may or may not require you to wash your hands again
-Drink water or use water to make coffee or other drinks
-Use water to make breakfast like pancakes or oatmeal
-Wash hands from making breakfast
-Cleaning up from making breakfast
-Drinking water (the average adult should be drinking around a gallon of water a day)
-Using the bathroom
-Washing your hands
-Cleaning up from lunch
-Cleaning up dinner
-Watering your garden
I’m sure I missed a ton, but that gives you a good idea of just how often you use water. It’s a lot. Could you do that with a gallon of water?
Water Conservation Argument
Now, most people will argue that if you were conserving water then you wouldn’t shower or drink a gallon of water. You would use hand sanitizer or wet wipes instead of washing your hands and you wouldn’t do laundry. Which is absolutely true. But, my counter to that is two fold.
1-Why not make your water storage good enough that you are thriving instead of just surviving?
2-What if it’s a long-term water outage? Eventually you are going to have to do laundry, dishes and bathe. After a while you’re going to have to use up some water and that’s going to be more than a gallon of water.
Long Term Water Storage Usage
You also need to look at the statistics on the response times for the disasters you’re preparing for.
For example, if you are preparing for an earthquake that could cause damage and create a major disruption to the vast majority of your state (like in Utah), how long is it going to take for your water supply to get back up and running? Considering that multiple water mains could be broken, water treatment plants could be destroyed, and like we learned in this blog post here, help may not be coming to you as soon as you think.
The harsh reality is that while 3 days of water and a gallon of water per person per day is a good starting point you could very easily need longer than 3 days and significantly more than a gallon of water per person/day. Especially if it’s summer and hot outside.
How Much Water Storage Do I Need?
So, how much water do you need to store? That’s a great question and I wish I had a solid answer for you (and me). What I have ultimately decided to do as a starting point for our family is to have a case of water AND a 5-gallon water jug per person and pet. That would give you roughly 8-9 gallons of water per person/pet.
Depending on how big your family is and how much water you need I figure it would last around 5-7 days. I know that my baby isn’t going to require as much water as my husband or I will, but having a case of water and a 5 gallon jug for her is going to help supplement for me or my husband.
Where To Store Water
The best place to store water is going to be in a cool dark location. This is going to help prevent mold and bacteria growth. When looking into where to store water you will see a lot of conflicting information on whether or not your containers should be on direct cement. Some people say that you shouldn’t store water on cement because the cement and plastic can cause a chemical reaction contaminating your water. Other people say it doesn’t matter. I would much rather be safe than sorry, so I always try and keep my water up off the ground. Either on wood or carpet.
Maintenance and Rotation
Maintenance and rotation of your water storage is very important. The last thing you want to do is be in a situation where water supply is limited and then get a water borne illness because you didn’t properly store, disinfect and rotate your water. There are water treatments out there that will preserve your water for up to 5 years if the water container remains closed. I will cover water disinfection and filtration in a later post.
Other Things To Consider
-Medical Devices: Some medical devices and medications require water/distilled water. When you are prepping water storage be sure to take into consideration your medical devices.
-First aid/Illnesses: Making sure you have enough water to help you if there’s a medical or first aid emergency is also very important.
-Gardens: If part of your food storage plan is your garden then you want to make sure you have enough water to water your garden
-Pets/livestock: I talked about pets a little bit, but you want to be sure that you have enough water for your pets/livestock.
There’s a lot to consider and thinkg about when it comes to water storage, but I hope that this helps you think through how much water storage you might need. In later blog posts we will talk about different kinds of water storage, water disinfection/filtration/ and purification.