Water Storage & Purification
Do you have enough water stored for your family to survive in case of an emergency?
Water is crucial to our survival, yet so many of us neglect to store it! If a natural disaster happens in your area, and all water supplies are cut off, what would you do for your family? Hopefully your family will become prepared, to avoid such an unnecessary experience.
My husband was the emergency preparedness coordinator for our ward (Mormon congregation) when he found that there were very few people who were storing water. He immediately set out to find 55-gallon water barrels. After searching online, he found a man who was willing to negotiate a bulk rate. It took some effort, but we were able to deliver dozens of water barrels to people who needed them. If you cannot find a similar deal in your area, try Home Depot or Wal-Mart. They occasionally have water barrels in stock, and they are priced under $35.
WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
- Water barrels (usual size is 55 gallons)
- Bleach (Clorox or generic brand)
- Water hose
- Siphon/pump for removing water
HOW MUCH WATER WILL OUR FAMILY NEED?
Your emergency water supply should last for at least two weeks. You may wish to calculate how many gallons you will need in order for your family before purchasing water barrels. A person can survive on one gallon per day, but cleaning, cooking, personal hygiene require more. If possible, plan for at least 2 gallons for each person, per day.
HOW DO I CALCULATE THE RIGHT AMOUNT?
An effective two-week supply for a family of 5 would require 140 gallons of water. (2 weeks = 14 days; 14 days x 2 gallons = 24 gallons per person; 5 people x 24 gallons = 140 gallons for all 5 people for 2 weeks). This family would need 3 large (55 gallon) water barrels. Remember, it’s better to have too much water than not enough!
HOW MUCH BLEACH SHOULD I ADD TO THE WATER?
First, check to see if your city’s water is already chlorinated, since it may be unnecessary to treat it.
1/8 teaspoon, or one droplet, of Clorox (bleach) for every gallon of water should suffice. For a 55-gallon barrel, you would add almost 7 teaspoons. Make sure you wait 30 minutes before drinking water that has just been treated.
TIP FOR FRESH-TASTING WATER:
After your water has been stored for a while, it may taste stale. This may be remedied by simply pouring it between 2 containers, back and forth.
Including your children in the planning will help them understand how to be more prepared. Keep it fun!
- Give your family the opportunity to calculate how much water you will need to store. Start by telling them that each person needs 2 gallons a day, and allow them to figure out how much water your family will need for 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks…etc. Make a chart to post near your water supply that explains their findings.
- You can use helpful hands when filling your barrels! A family member will need to be stationed at the water spiket, another at the water barrel, and as many as needed to communicate when to turn on/off the water source.
- When it’s time to replace the water in each barrel, hold a relay to see who can siphon a gallon of water out of their barrel the fastest. It seems silly, but everyone can use the practice!