Water Storage & Purification
“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Water is your most precious resource, above all else. With clean drinking water, you’ll probably be alright until the cavalry comes, even if all else is lost.
How much water is enough?
- Plan for at least a week
- One gallon, per person, per day for drinking
- One gallon, per person, per day for cleaning and other uses
Aside from buying bottled water and rotating your stock throughout the year, you can purchase water storage cans, or stackable “cubes” that can be filled in the days preceding a disaster. There’s also the Water-Bob , a bladder type device that fits in your bath tub. When filled from your faucet it holds up to 100 gallons of fresh water. It comes complete with a hand pump.
Plan and prepare for a boil water order or stop water use order
- Stock up on water well ahead of time
- Date stored bottles of drinking water with a marker AND rotate stock regularly
- If you have two bathrooms in your home, set one aside for its designed use and use the other for purification of/or storage of clean water
- If you have a swimming pool you may be able to use that water as utility water however – depending on the disaster it may or may not be potable
- Your hot water heater tank can be a source of fresh water in a pinch
HINT: DON’T DISPOSE OF EMPTY WATER BOTTLES OR JUGS RIGHT AWAY – SAVE THEM FOR LATER USE.
In the event that you don’t have a clean water source, or you have run out of your bottled water supply, you can purify reclaimed water.
If you have the ability to boil collected water – the first step is to let any sediment settle to the bottom of the container you collected in – or filter out any sediment using cloth or coffee filters. Next, pour off the settled reclaimed water into a clean pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Let it boil for at least one minute – then let it cool for use.
A second method, using sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) will also work:
These instructions come from Clorox.com and were listed under Disaster Preparedness and Purifying Water. **Clorox is not associated with the Prepared For Bear blogsite, ready reference guide, or podcast and “the bear” was not compensated for mentioning them.
- After you collect water that hasn’t been treated, you need to let it sit long enough to let any debris settle to the bottom of the container or filter it out using cloth and coffee filters.
- Next, decant the clarified contaminated water into a cleaned/bleached container.
Using the Clorox* purification method, use two (2) to three (3) drops of bleach per quart, eight (8) drops of bleach per gallon, forty (40) drops of bleach per five (5) gallons. *USE Clorox® Regular Bleach2 or new Concentrated® Clorox® Regular Bleach2.
DO NOT use Scented bleaches, High Efficiency bleach, Splash-Less bleach, Clorox® Ultimate Care Bleach, or the Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel in this process.
- Allow the treated water to stand for 30 minutes. Properly treated water should have a slight chlorine odor.
- If there’s no chlorine odor, then you need to repeat the treatment. Just add the same amount of bleach, and wait for another 15 minutes. Check again for the chlorine odor before drinking the water.
- If the water you want to treat is cloudy and you can’t decant or filter it, add twice the amount of bleach recommended above.
- Use bleach that was purchased in the last 4 months .
Water purification tablets and filters
Water tablets are an affordable way to ensure your drinking water is free of bacteria and viruses. That said, no preparedness kit would be complete without some type of water filter included. I carry and use both.
The bear’s go-to filter is a Sawyer Mini – a light weight personal water purifier that’s easy to use and rated to purify a lot of water. (Not a compensated endorsement)
There are also drinking straw filters, filtered water bottles, gravity fed and hand pump water filters on the market. Do your research and chose one that fits your family’s needs!
Non-potable water / toilets and waste
- Conserve water – “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”
- Save “grey water”, used dish washing water, water you boiled/cooked with for toilet flushing (let it cool, pour it into the toilet tank)
- You can pour packing water from canned goods into your toilet’s tank, also
- Consider buying a chemical camp toilet
- A homemade camp toilet can be fashioned from a five gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag and a toilet seat
- Remember to keep dog poop bags for cleanup and disposal of pet waste