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.