We begin our discussion of some of the “Basic Survival Questions” I mentioned in an earlier post. Today, we’ll be considering water. This can be rather a sticky topic.
The original posting asked: “How much potable (drinkable) water do I have stored and how long would it last if all sources of water were cut off?” It then goes on to suggest that “[i]deally, you should have 2 gallons per person per day”, or three if your food is freeze-dried or dehydrated.
So, how much water do you need? Really, estimates vary. I’ve seen numbers as low as a gallon per day, up through the 2 or 3 gallons/day posted and even higher. I’ll take 2 as a nice, round starting number. So, my family of four needs eight gallons a day. And you should also consider your pets–my two large-ish dogs drink maybe a gallon a day between them; our pride of indoor cats might drink a half-gallon a day; rounding up, that’s two more gallons.
Ten gallons per day, for drinking and a minimum of washing and cleaning. The problem becomes one of storage: where to put ten gallons of water? It’s not an unfair question; 10G of water occupies 2310 cubic inches of space–quite a bit of room on the shelf. Multiplied over a several-day period, and it can quickly become unmanageable.
A variety of solutions are available. The first one for me and mine: one of my hobbies is homebrewing; as such, I have numerous 5- and 6-gallon glass jugs (“carboys”), similar to the plastic water-cooler jugs so ubiquitous in offices. I use them to ferment my beer and wine; when they’re not in use, I clean them & fill them with filtered water. At present, this gives my family about 3 days worth.
Another solution is the water bob, a flexible bag of sorts that fits in your tub, to be filled with 100 gallons (10 days!) of clean water. (The aqua pod is similar, but slightly smaller. I should also mention that I have no affiliation with any of these companies!) It even has a pump, for easy distribution/removal of the water. Yet one more solution, one which my wife is enamored of, is the water brick, a water container that is stackable, and even has some degree of architectural use. They hold 3.5 gallons; for that volume they’re a little expensive, but are quite functional.
Something not addressed in the original question, but which is a logical follow-on, is: what do you do when your emergency supply is running low, or has run out? How do you get more water? Will it need filtering/sterilization, and if so, how will you accomplish this?