It seems we cannot get away from the catastrophic events that are becoming more and more common. From the record setting winter storms, to people losing power, and not being able to use their water because of some incident that has happened. Most people would have no idea what to do if the water stopped spilling from their faucet.
The water basics for preppers is about being prepared for situations that may arise, and should be on everyone’s minds. But sadly, this doesn’t seem to be sinking in to most people’s brains. The sad truth is that most people are not taking responsibility for themselves or their families, and are under the impression someone else will help them.
However as history has shown us, the only person you can depend on in an emergency situation is yourself. Don’t wait for some major event to happen in order to start becoming more prepared, start today, and start now.
Below are a few ideas you should think about when starting your water storage. Water storage isn’t just for drinking water, water storage is also for cooking, sanitation and hygiene.
Waste Water (Gray Water)
The first thing you can do is to start keeping anything you purchase liquid in. Milk jugs, 2 liter bottles, ice tea containers, all work for beginning your water storage. If you buy drinks in plastic bottles, don’t throw them out. When you are done using them, wash them out and fill them up with water.
You will not be storing these milk jugs for drinking water, but you will be storing this for bath water, toilet water, laundry, showering, and anything else you can think of other than cooking or drinking.
You want to have a lot of ‘waste’ water set aside because you don’t want to have to use your clean drinking water for bathing, washing, etc. It’s not a good idea to store water long term in plastic jugs or bottles because most of these plastics have chemicals that will leech into your water. But if you need a gallon or two to flush your toilet, or wash your dishes, water stored in these jugs will work just fine.
For your drinking water, you will want to store water in BPA free containers. Right now you can get online and do a search for aqua-tainer. These are 7 gallon cube containers that you can buy for about $12.00, possibly even cheaper on eBay.
They do take some room to store, but the cubed style container makes it so you can store them in closets, under sinks, and even in your cupboards. If you have large rubber maid totes you store things in, you can put one of these in there as well.
While water never “goes bad”, you should still make sure to rotate your water. Roughly every 12 months or so, you should use the water you have stored, and replace it. That’s what makes these little aqua-tainers great. They aren’t incredibly heavy, and when it comes time to use them or replace them, you can dump the containers easily.
Don’t Forget your Furry Friends
How much water you need to store for your pets depends on how many you have and how much they drink. If you just have a dog or cat, the smaller containers will work fine. If you have large animals (like we do) You may need 55 gallon barrels.
Depending on where you live, sometimes you can find the food grade 55 gallon plastic barrels cheap. With these you can make a rain water catchment system (if it is legal to do in your state), and you can use them for water storage. But keep in mind, if you are planning on using them for storing your own drinking water you will need to have a hand pump, or some way to siphon the water out of the barrel. You can attach a spigot to the bottom of the barrel, making it so you can hook up a hose to get the water out.
If you have large animals, or even small ones, having a few of these barrels can help to give you water storage for them, because just like you, your animals need to have clean drinking water. This water needs to be used on a regular basis, to keep it fresh. By having a few of these barrels filled and stored in your barn or a covered area you can easily replenish the water with a garden hose when you use it up. It is a good idea to protect the barrels by keeping them covered, and out of sight. Because when a situation arises, you don’t really want to advertise to others what you have.
Think Outside of the Box
As preppers, we are always thinking of different ways to store items, or how we can incorporate our prepping into how we live every day. This can be done with water storage too. Having some water features on your property can serve several different purposes. Depending on where you live, you can have fish in a homemade pond, or just have a pretty waterfall feature on your pond with a solar pump. The pump will keep the water circulating, and clean. If you have a pond that this waterfall feeds, and you keep it full, you have another water source in a worst case scenario situation.
Don’t’ forget about sources of water within your home too, such as your water heater. Depending on the size, you would have somewhere between 20 to 50 gallons of water stored in that water heater.
You can also think about the back of your toilet. The water in the back of the tank is “clean” and each toilet holds about 2-3 gallons of water. If you have your water filter, or Berkey water bottle, you can put that water through your filter and have enough water to keep you alive for a while.
Another source of water within your home is in your canned foods. Most vegetables are packed in water, and although it may not taste great, it is a source of water.
If you are fortunate enough to have a well, you will have a built in water storage system without having to store hundreds of gallons of water. But if the power goes out, your pump will probably not work either. It would be a good idea to have a manual hand pump in order to be able to pump the water from your well.
There are many commercial products you can but for water purification. The best first step is to buy a high quality filtered water bottle for every member of your family. Look for a filtered bottle that filters bacteria as well as sediments. The lifestraw is a good choice, but for my personal preference, I like to have a water “bottle” so my choice is a Berkey. I don’t mean to make this a commercial, and I do not receive anything for putting this here, but this really is a great water filtration system.
You can also purify water by boiling it for just a few minutes. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and once this occurs, all pathogens will be dead. The process of bringing water to a boil will kill most pathogens, so there is no reason to boil for an extended period of time.
Allow the water to cool, and then you will have water that should be purified from 99.9% of impurities. But if there are sediments in the water, it would be a good idea to filter it first. If you don’t have a ‘real’ filter you can use a nylon stocking, or even a bandana. Just allow the water to run through it, and then boil it.
You should also have water purification tablets in your emergency kit. These can either be iodine, or chlorine. They can be purchased online or at sporting good stores, just look in the camping area. They are a great item to have always, and since they don’t cost very much they are an essential addition to your emergency kit. They work by chemical reaction, and can put a bitter taste to the water, but if you are thirsty, you will be very happy you have them.
You see, water storage does not have to be a daunting task. Just take it one day at a time, and do a little each day. In no time you will have a good start on a supply of water for you and the ones you love. Just keep on doing it, and keep on building your skills while you are building your preps. Get creative, and remember to always be thinking of unique ways of how to store your preps.