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Water is essential to life, we all know this. But do you know how much water you need? How to store water? How to treat water to make it safe for drinking? Here I will explain steps you can take today, this month and this year to improve you water preparedness.
- Go drink a glass water right now. Stop reading my post and get a glass of water before continuing. They say when you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Drinking water now, you will be better prepared for what ever happens in the next few hours. This action is probably (mostly) free for you and requires minimal effort.
- Do the dishes. The pile of dirty dishes in your sink requires water to wash. If the power went out, and you lost water pressure those dirty dishes still require water to clean. This will increase your water needs. It will also ensure your plates, cups, pots and pans are ready for use.
- Fill the reservoir of the coffee machine. It will take only a few seconds after doing the dishes to top off the water in the machine. This will be that much more water you have on hand and make the morning coffee easier.
- Think about storing 1 gallon of water per person per day and storing 3 days to start. So a family of 2 like mine needs 6 gallons of water for 3 day supply. What container do you have that can be washed and used to store water? We use the hard plastic juice bottles, well cleaned and filled. These juice containers are 1/2 gallon, so we need 12 of them. Over time we accumulated that many without going out of our way. Rotate or check the water every six months to make sure the water is still good and nothing is growing in it. (Don't forget your pets need water too!)
- Those 3 gallons per person doesn't necessarily have to be liquid water. A few of these juice containers live in our freezer, where they are extra ice if the power went out. If the power went out they would start to melt, and by day three they would be liquid water we could drink.
- Think about all the liquids you drink. Do you drink only water all day long? Likely not. Do you put some flavor in your water, drink a coffee or juice in the morning, maybe the kids drink Gatorade after soccer practice? Thinking about water storage also means thinking about how you most enjoy consuming water. We store powered Gatorade mix if we need the electrolytes, as well as Mio/concentrated drink flavoring and instant coffee. (You may not love instant coffee, but in a pinch it should do.)
- Thinking long term now, what do you plan to do after your 3 day supply runs out? Do you have a swimming pool full of water you could use? How about a nearby lake or on-site well? You will need a source of water but also a way to make it drinkable.
- Invest in a water filter. There are a few commercial water filters that can turn muddy pond water into clear drinking water. This invest would save you from having to repeatedly filter and boil all water before using it. We recommend the Lifestraw family filter as well as the single person Lifestraw. The family filter is gravity fed and good for cooking water. The single person Lifestraw, shown below, is smaller and good for drinking even while hiking or camping. For large communities or large volumes, consider the Lifestraw community filter.
- Iodine tablets are another way to clean water, but takes time. A few extra on hand could mean the difference between clean water and diarrhea.
- Remember how I told you to do the dishes today? Well, when water is short it would be best to not waste it on dishes. Paper plates and bowls can help lessen the water needs. When there is a water storage this is not the time to be thinking about saving the planet with reusable goods. Disposable silverware can make keeping clean a little bit easier!
If you own your dwelling:
- Do you live in your own house with a water tank? I don't but if you do there may be a simple way to store extra water without any daily effort. Install a second tank between the filter and the hot water tank. This second tank will be an extra 50+ gallons of water in your house, and will always have fresh water as it will be consistently rotated out as you go about your normal life. This is solve you short term water storage problem without stacking your freezer full of juice containers. Someday when I own a house, this will be an essential addition. As I am writing this, there is an 80 gallon tank for $200 on Craigslist.
- Can you install a rainwater barrel? While maybe not recommended for drinking without purification, extra water can be used to water animals or plants during dry spells.
What sneaky places do you store water in? Have other methods for storing, filtering or saving this precious resource?
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