In the event of the unexpected, the importance of having access to clean, potable water can't be overstated. Conditions like natural disasters, power outages, or even unforeseen water advisories can disrupt the water supply, causing every drop to become invaluable. Our emergency water storage and filtration system guide covers the in's and out's of preparing for an emergency, focused on practical tips and efficient practices.
Why Emergency Water Preparedness is Important
Water is the primary necessity for life. Beyond just thirst, water is necessary for cooking, hygiene, and medical needs. During an emergency, your regular water sources can become unclean or inaccessible, so having a backup is critical.
How Much Water Do You Need?
The general recommendation is to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This should be enough for both drinking and sanitation. For warmer climates or families with special needs, plan for an increased amount. More information on the CDC's recommendations on the subject can be found here.
Choosing the Right Storage Solutions
Food-Grade Containers: Select containers that are food-grade, which means they are safe for storing consumable water—these won't allow harmful chemicals to leach into your water and make it unsafe to consume.
Dark and Durable: Choose containers that are dark in color to minimize algae growth and are made from materials durable enough for long-term storage, and rough handling.
Multiple Sizes: Having containers of varying sizes allows for more versatility in storage. Fifty-five-gallon barrels are ideal for long-term storage, but smaller containers can make quick grab-and-go scenarios easier to manage.
Efficient Water Storage Tips
Keep It Cool and Dark: Store your water in a cool, dark place to minimize algae growth and keep your water tasting fresh.
Rotate Regularly: To keep your water fresh, keep the water containers marked with the date of storage and rotate them every 6 months to a year.
Use Water Preservers: If you use water preservers, you can actually extend the shelf life of your stored water to 5 years, then you really won't need to rotate the water as frequently.
Maximize Space: Storing water underneath the bed, in closets, or other underutilized spaces helps maintain precious square footage for other emergency supplies. Lay flat, square water containers take advantage of every inch.
Protect Against Contamination: A good rule of thumb to prevent bacteria and mold from spreading is keeping lids tightly sealed. To avoid contamination, the water should be accessed using siphon pumps.
Water Filtration and Purification Methods
The importance of having a reliable method to purify water is just as important as storing it. The availability of a few highly effective purification methods will ensure a healthy supply of water in any drought emergency.
Boiling: Boil water at a rolling boil for at least one minute to kill bacteria and viruses. High altitudes (over 6,500 feet) require an increase in boiling time to three minutes.
Chemical Purification: When boiling water is not an option, use household liquid bleach to purify water. Most regular unscented bleach contains 5-6% sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient, used for sanitation and/or disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, 5-6% household chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you drink it. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn't, then repeat the dosage and let the water stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not have a chlorine odor, it may be contaminated with something other than a disease-causing organism, and should not be used.
Water Filters: To get the finest water filters for the money that remove bacteria, protozoa, and cysts, search for "NSF Standard 53."
Check the packaging to confirm your water filter is certified by NSF to remove:
For more filters, go to NSF on the internet and search for “NSF Standard 53 water filters.”
UV Light: The water purifier designed for folks anywhere on the planet is a portable UV light, which makes questionable water safe to drink in about a minute without altering the taste. Just like a cell phone, the battery pack is lithium iron and can also be charged by a wall outlet, solar or hand crank.
Getting Water Back to Safe Drinking Temperature
The temperature of boiled water can be cooled five ways to make it drinkable more quickly:
@ 70° F (21° C) — cool straight from storage to head for the tap
@ 60° F (16° C) — set it near an open door
@ 50° F (10° C) — raise with warmth where sunlight comes in
@ 40° F ( 4° C) — place in any water running off the roof
@ 30° F ( -1° C) — just ice
After sitting around for an emergency to happen, the fun begins as the family room suddenly turns into a walk-in refrigerator.
Emergency planning is a critical aspect of readiness, especially when it comes to water. Practice these practical tips to make sure your water storage containers are best prepared to preserve your family’s health and well-being in any situation.
Regular Testing: Test on your water supply to make sure it is safe for contaminants on a regular basis. This is especially important if are you are relying on natural sources such as rainwater or streams.
.Regular Testing: Test your water supply regularly for contaminants, especially if relying on natural sources like rainwater or streams.
Safe Storage: Once purified, store your water in clean, sanitized containers, so there is no chance for it to become recontaminated.
In conclusion, securing a safe and dependable water source as you prepare for emergencies is critical. Following these useful tips for water storage and filtration will help in achieving that preparedness for your family. Remember, it is not enough to have resources on hand in emergency situations; planning for their use is what ensures their value.
With that, here’s to enjoying peace of mind from our guide to handling your emergency water needs, and staying healthy, happy, and hydrated!