In the event of a disaster, water supplies can become cut off or contaminated. It is recommended that you store at least 3 days worth water for everyone in your family. The minimum you should store is one gallon of water per person, per day. This will cover everyone’s drinking needs. Storing three gallons per person, per day allows enough water for drinking as well as limited cooking and personal hygiene needs. (If you are a pet owner, please don’t forget to account for your animals as well.)
Below are some basic storage and treatment guidelines.
Storing household tap water:
- Tap water from a municipal water system can be safely stored without additional treatment.
- Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores. Never store water in any container that once held and chemicals or detergents.
- Ensure the water storage containers have tight fitting lids to prevent contamination and leaks
- Lable the water with the date filled, and keep in a cool, dark place.
- Make sure to replace the water once every six months.
Commercially bottled waters (such as Arrowhead or Dasani):
- Keep the water in its original container, with factory seals in place. Don’t reuse a commercial bottle once opened.
- If the bottles aren’t mark with a manufacturers expiration date, note one the packed when you purchased them. Make sure to replace the bottles at least once a year.
- Store in a cool, dark place.
How to obtain and treat water in the event of a disaster:
If a disaster occurs and you find yourself out of clean drinking water there are some steps you can take to ensure a safe supply of drinking water.
- Obtain water from your water heater or toilet reservoir tank (do not use the toilet basin water, or water from the tank if you use toilet tank cleaners).
- Swimming pool or hot tub water should not be consumed, as it is often treated with chemicals.
- Running water is always better than standing water. For example, streams or creeks versus ponds or puddles.
- Make sure to thoroughly treat all outside water sources before consuming.
Water treatment process:
Strain the water of any large particles of dirt or other contaminants through layers of clean cloth, paper towels, or any other medium that can act as a particulate filter. Next you need to purify the water in one of two ways -
- Boiling – bring the water to a rolling boil, and boil for a minimum of 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool and place in a clean, resealable container. The water is now safe to drink.
Bleach & Water Storage Supply
- Disinfecting – If the water is clear, many way you can add 1/8th of a teaspoon of unscented household bleach, per gallon of water. If the water is still cloudy after straining add a 1/4 of a teaspoon. Make sure that you are using regular non-scented bleach, with at least a 5.25% of sodium hypochlorite. Shake water and bleach for a minimum of 30 seconds, then let stand for 30 minutes. The water is now safe to drink. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal. If after 30 minutes the water still appears cloudy it is not considered safe for drinking and should be discarded.