I’ve been prep­ping for about 18 months now and have kind of lost the spark that dri­ves me to keep going. I real­ly have not done any­thing for the past two months oth­er than lis­ten to The Sur­vival Pod­cast and some oth­er “small” projects (sub­ject of future posts). So, I fig­ure it is time to go back to the basics and cov­er the “obvi­ous”, but not so obvi­ous aspects of my preps.

First, I find it help­ful to break down my prepa­ra­tions into sev­en basic cat­e­gories: water, food, shel­ter, finances, secu­ri­ty, med­ical care, ener­gy and doc­u­men­ta­tion. This is also the order in which I am under­go­ing a thor­ough review and refresh.

So, this post is about water and water stor­age. In my opin­ion, the first step is to deter­mine how much water you would like to store. This is where I hate the rule of one gal­lon per per­son per day. I think that is sim­plis­tic. I live in Hous­ton, Texas and in the event of a dis­as­ter, one gal­lon per day would be insuf­fi­cient to sus­tain a per­son dur­ing the sum­mer while per­form­ing any sort of phys­i­cal labor. As a result, I dou­ble this amount and desire to store 2 gal­lons per per­son per day. Since there are two adults in my house, this is four gal­lons a day for the peo­ple. I also have one big dog and two cats so I store 1.5 gal­lons per day for my dog and 1 gal­lon per day for the cats. This equates to 6.5 gal­lons a day for all the mam­mals in the house.

So, how many days do I want to be able to sur­vive with­out out­side water? I choose five days as my goal. To me, this is a rea­son­able goal for read­i­ly avail­able water stor­age. At five days, that is 32.5 gal­lons of water stor­age. It seems like a lot as I live in a small house with a one car garage. How­ev­er, I man­aged to store 41 gal­lons in a com­bi­na­tion of con­tain­ers rang­ing from 7 gal­lons to 0.75 gal­lons.

I real­ly like the 5 gal­lon con­tain­ers from Reliance.  This item has a built-in fil­ter in case you have to have a rough fil­ter on dirty water. Of course, there are dozens and dozens of stor­age options. Per­son­al­ly, I would nev­er go above 7 gal­lons as that is just too much to car­ry. Hav­ing small­er con­tain­ers is also won­der­ful should my wife need to car­ry water. The 3/4 gal­lon con­tain­ers are per­fect for this appli­ca­tion.

After the clean water sup­ply, I have a 55 gal­lon rain bar­rel that I always keep more than 50% full. It fills off the roof gut­ter sys­tem so it is main­ly used for the gar­den. How­ev­er, should it come to it, I could fil­ter the water and use it for drink­ing or mere­ly clean­ing.

Of course, you will want to use chlo­rine bleach to keep the water free of bac­te­r­i­al. There is an excel­lent arti­cle on stor­ing water here. The quan­ti­ties of bleach to use are:

4 drops bleach per quart or liter con­tain­er of water
8 drops bleach per 2‑quart, 2‑liter, or ½ gal­lon con­tain­er of water
16 drops bleach, or 1/4 tea­spoon, per gal­lon or 4‑liter con­tain­er of water

When treat­ing larg­er quan­ti­ties of water, use the fol­low­ing table to con­vert drops to stan­dard mea­sur­ing units.

8 drops = 1/8 tea­spoon
16 drops = 1/4 tea­spoon
32 drops = ½ tea­spoon
64 drops = 1 tea­spoon
192 drops = 1 Table­spoon
384 drops = 1/8 cup which is equal to 2 Table­spoons


The arti­cle rec­om­mends stor­ing this water only six months, so it has to be peri­od­i­cal­ly refreshed. That is a pain in the butt, but I emp­ty mine on the gar­den and/or the lawn and fill it up in the sink every six months like clock work. That way, I am assured that I have the nec­es­sary water to sur­vive five days with­out basic ser­vices.

Since I have only five days of water sup­ply, I need a way to fil­ter water col­lect from rain or the local stream so that it is safe to drink. While this is not for every­one, I chose a Berkey water fil­ter and bought it from Direc­tive 21. After putting sev­er­al gal­lons through it, I was sat­is­fied that the taste was won­der­ful. My wife did not want it in the kitchen, so I put it in the prep­per area in the garage. I also bought two sets of replace­ment fil­ters. Along with the Reliance fil­ters above, I can fil­ter large amounts of water should it come to that.

One last con­sid­er­a­tion is hav­ing water while mobile. I filled six used and cleaned Diet Coke bot­tles along with a used two liter bot­tle to put into the car. I also have a Berkey water bot­tle in the car for addi­tion­al purifi­ca­tion abil­i­ty. Con­sid­er­ing that I spend half my time away from the house, this is the best way to ensure clean water is avail­able should I need it while mobile. Although my wife does not like it, she has a sim­i­lar quan­ti­ty of water avail­able in her car.

With the five+ days of ready-to-drink water, 25–50 gal­lons of rain water, and the abil­i­ty to fil­ter almost unlim­it­ed quan­ti­ties, I believe  I have this aspect of prep­ping cov­ered pret­ty well. Of course, there may be gaps I had not con­sid­ered. Please let me know if you see some­thing I might have missed.


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