Ready or Not #2: Storing Water

You have probably heard the saying, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Well, like I promised in my last, or should I say, my first article, we are going to talk about storing WATER, so that you will have more than a drop to drink. First things first: two gallons of water, per day, per person for a two week period (Don’t worry, you will see that again and again and again – at least until I know that everyone has it memorized AND has stored their water.)

The majority of our bodies are made up of water and we can only live about 3 days without water before our bodies start shutting down. The common consensus is that we need eight cups of water a day. When I say “eight cups” I mean eight, eight ounce servings. I measured that out. The average glass is 16 ounces (with about a 1/4″ to a ½” space at the rim of the glass), so technically you only have to drink four full glasses a day, minimum – that is on a typical, not too hot or windy, not exerting your body, kind of day. BUT, we are talking about storing water for emergencies; probably hot – maybe cold, very stressful and physically taxing kind of day(s).

I’m still saying that you need (repeat again): two gallons of water, per person, per day, for a two week period, but would it be so bad to store more? How much for your family? Get your calculator out. In an emergency things are not usually calm (understatement) and your situation, and that of your family, will become quite stressful and your body will react to that. You will need water, more than you think.

When I got my C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) training, one of the trainers told us that when he was in California, after one of the earthquakes, he purchased a two liter bottle of water for $15.00 (that is not a misprint, $15.00 FOR A TWO LITER BOTTLE OF WATER- THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS!) for a total stranger. A woman was going into shock, partially because of dehydration, and her husband didn’t have the cash to buy the water. (Some of the side effects of dehydration are: headaches, nausea, aches, cramps and orneriness. STORE WATER and avoid all of that.)

Apparently the profiteer hadn’t been trained up in compassionate service and on top of that, he wouldn’t take credit. He was selling one gallon jugs of water for $50.00 – and that was assuming that the water he was selling was pure and safe to drink. Don’t think that won’t happen here. Again, please: two gallons, per person, per day, for a two week period! When asked the three most important things to store for an emergency, a friend of mine from California said: 1) Water, 2) Water, 3) WATER!

Water is just about the easiest and cheapest thing to store. All you have to have are some containers and your kitchen faucet. Really. There has always been a lot of discussion about how to store water, how long you can store the water and when you need to rotate it. Dr. Callison, UVSC professor and Program Coordinator for the Environmental Management Program at UVSC, came to Salem and gave a wonderful class on water storage and purification. It is very simple, just DO IT! The notes for the class and everything you will ever need to know about water storage and water purification are posted on the Salem City website at: www.salemcity.org.

Professor Callison also shared, with a picture drawing, plans on how to make your own ceramic water filter for about $35.00 to $50.00 (equal to that of $200.00+ unit.) This filter will take out just about any kind of nasty little nuisance, including giardia and other icky things. If you don’t have the internet, go to the library, or have a friend print it off for you – you will be glad that you did.

My feelings are that you need to have four different kinds of storage containers. First: Get a 50 gallon water container and fill it. Make sure that you put it in a place that it doesn’t have to be moved, believe me you won’t be able to budge it, also keep it out of the sun or hot areas. Changing the water every six months is best, but you can do it once a year. You don’t need to add chlorine. Make sure that you have a pump to extract the water.

Second: Five and/or seven gallon containers. You can buy them just about anywhere. These units are more portable and can be taken with you if need to evacuate. Make sure that you don’t stack them because water is heavy and the containers can fail over time if they have a lot of pressure on them.

Third: Two liter bottles or individual serving bottles. These are very portable and even small children can carry them. After drinking your soda pop, rinse out the two liter container and fill it with water. My mom and dad have built up a HUGE water supply by doing this.

Fourth: I buy my liquid hand soap and dishwashing soap in the large gallon size containers and when I use up all of the product, I fill them with water. The reason I do this is because I will then have hand washing and dish cleaning water without using the ever precious clean drinking water. Make sure that you label the containers as “Cleaning water only”.

Now go get a drink of water. I know you’re thirsty.

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