As many of us learned in the eighties, we humans might be described as “ugly, ugly bags of mostly water” (from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Home Soil” which aired on February 22, 1988 — Stardate: 41463.9). (Watch a replay of the moment here.) With that being the case, water is critical to our survival. Without it, a person will die in less than a week – typically three to five days. When our bodies don’t receive the fluids they need, our cells and organs quickly begin to deteriorate. (There’s a reason nurses often begin IV fluids immediately when patients arrive in the Emergency Room.)
In an emergency, clean water can be hard to come by. That means storing water now is where the water you’ll need then is going to come from. In addition to needing it for drinking, you’ll need it for food preparation and to keep yourself and everything you use clean. According to U.S. government sources, you probably use about 100 gallons of water a day in your everyday life! That’s a lot of water. It’s heavy and it takes up a lot of space. Imagine 100 one-gallon milk jugs stacked side by side! That’s how much water the typical person uses in one day!
Having said that, the government recommends (and you’ll find that most prepper sites agree) that you should store one gallon of water per person (and pet) per day. Plan on more if you live in a hot climate or are pregnant or sick…or if you want water for more than the barest minimum use. One gallon per day will be the minimum for drinking and food preparation only. It won’t include a hot shower or bath and it won’t include much washing of dishes or clothes.
The government recommends that you maintain a 3-day water supply in storage. Here at The Approaching Day, we’re not doctors or experts in much of anything, but we’re not at all comfortable with that minimal level of water storage. In any of our scenarios, a 3-day supply isn’t nearly enough water for us to feel prepared. We started with 45 gallons — nine 5-gallon storage containers. (Prepper tip: Large water barrels and tanks are great, but for the sake of mobility, a 5-gallon container is the largest size that most people can carry without excessive strain.) We’ve supplemented our initial water supply by typically having another five to ten gallons of bottled water on hand at any given point in time. According to the one gallon per person per day guideline, that’s about 25 days. We figure it’s closer to only 18 days of real usage. That’s still not enough stored water for us to feel comfortable — we’re building up to a greater supply. But it’s a start.
You can base the amount of water you store on the scenario you are prepping for and how that event will impact the water supply. Use the following formula to calculate the amount of water you need/want to store: (water storage calculation.jpg)
As I said in the first paragraph, our bodies are largely made up of water (weird, isn’t it?). With that being the case, it’s important not to risk getting dehydrated. Drink at least two quarts of water a day. If you’re in a hot climate, pregnant, or sick, drink even more. When the need arises, work on getting more water, but drink what you have on a regular basis or you’ll quickly become physically unable to get more.
Click here for instructions on storing water.
Click here for an article on finding water in and around your house.
Click here for an article on purifying water.