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Friday, March 12, 2010

What a 'regular' family needs.....Part III

Some day, count how many times you and the members of your family turn on the faucet. Getting a drink, rinsing dishes, washing dishes, washing hands, cleaning.....the list goes on and on. That doesn't include water used for dishwashers, clothes washers, showers, watering plants, watering animals, and so on. The fact is, you need water. Not only does your physical body need it, but our lives revolve around having cold and hot water available on demand. So, what happens if you turn on the faucet and nothing comes out?

Next in importance to storing food for your family, is storing water. There are a lot of opinions out there about how much to store, but a basic guideline is to store 1 gallon per person/per day. Are there 4 people in your household? Then to have a bare minimum, two-week supply, you need to have 56 gallons of water stored! That's a lot of water! Obviously, it would be great if you had another source of water available to you such as a hand-well, pond, or another large body of water.

Water must be stored in the correct kind of container. Milk jugs, which have soft 'bumpy-feeling' plastic are not appropriate and may leach into your water. You want to use smooth plastic like 2-liter pop bottles or juice bottles. Because we don't use bottled juice or pop, I make sure to buy gallon water jugs-in the correct plastic-every 2 weeks when I go to the grocery. If you're reusing a pop or juice bottle make sure that you clean it well before refilling with water. You might want to add a drop or two of bleach to the water. The few juice bottles I've collected and filled are dated so that I can be sure to water my garden plants with the water yearly and then refill with fresh.

I rarely use bleach, but I keep a few gallons on hand so that I can treat unsafe drinking water if necessary. (Bleach bottles are also perfectly safe to clean and refill with drinking water.) Some folks say that 1/4 tsp. is enough to purify a gallon of water. Cloudy-looking water may need double that. Hubby and I also have iodine tablets in our bug-out-bags so we can have drinking water in an emergency.

If you're in a situation where you are relying on your bottled water and you're not sure how long you'll need to, I would recommend that you stretch it as much as you can.
1. I never use paper napkins, and very rarely use paper plates, but I keep paper plates, bowls, napkins, and plastic flatwear to use in an emergency. You don't want to be wasting precious drinking water on dirty dishes.
2. You don't want to smell horrible during an emergency, but don't want to waste too much water bathing. Wet a washcloth, soap it up, and take a quick 'sponge bath'. Or better yet, keep baby wipes on hand to wash up those 'necessary' areas. Baby wipes are a cheap item to store.
3. Keep and reuse any water that comes out of canned veggies. Green bean water would be great to boil pasta in!
4. If you know an emergency situation is about to happen wash and fill your bathtub, sink and every available pot or bowl you have. Use that water first before dipping into your bottled water.
5. Your hot water heater tank holds many gallons of water. In the event of an emergency you have a great source of clean water in that tank.

You can't survive without water, and I'm sure you don't want to try! Next time you finish a juice or 2-liter pop bottle, clean it out and fill it with clean water. Or, pick up a smooth sided gallon jug of water at the grocery store. If you ever need it, you'll not be sorry you have it! You'll also need water in your bug-out-bag, which we'll discuss in the next post. It's the next item that the 'regular' family needs to think about.

P.S. There is a great, in-depth article on water at the American Preppers Network here.

Prep On!
Gen-IL Homesteader


upinak said...

Gen, you should have mentioned that some people who are on wells get sand or silt in the water heaters (if they do not have a filter) and others need to be aware of high concentrate of calcium!

Being aware of it is ideal...

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Yes, we're on a well and we have a pretty 'gurgly' water heater because of the 'sludge'! Good points, Upinak.

Aloha2U said...

Great post Gen! Water is highly important and you can never have enough of it especially in times of great need such as emergencies. A lot more things to think about and prepare.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Thanks, Aloha! Your comment got me wondering how you guys in HI would purify ocean water to drink? Is it just the same as purifying any other kind of water?

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