Water Storage and Purification Is Key When Preparing to Bug In

food storage prepping

Water Storage and purification should be your first concern when you are preparing to bug in. If you don’t have drinking water on hand if a disaster strikes, you won’t survive for longer than three days, according to the experts. How much water should you plan on having?

According to Scott Hunt, owner of Practical Preppers and consultant for National Geographic,

“To stay in good health and be able to function normally, Hunt says that a person should plan to have at least a gallon of drinking water each day, plus another four gallons for personal hygiene. And most of that must be potable—that is, sufficiently free of dangerous microorganisms and contaminants that would be safe to drink.”

Unfortunately, he does not mention how much water you should have for your pets; after all, they need water too.

water storage and purification
You can’t drink what you don’t have!


3 Things to Remember About Water Storage and Purification

1. You can’t save too much. If they say you need at least a gallon per day per person, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that that is all you should store. What goes in your belly is not a good indicator of how much you need as there are other things you will need water for. I’d rather have too much water than too little. You can’t drink what you don’t have 😉

2. It doesn’t have to be expensive to save on water products. For people that are on a budget such as your seniors, you could buy a little extra when you go to the store or order online – say a few extra gallon jugs or a few extra liters of water.

3. Water purification – This would be for drinking water or any water that will touch your body. If you have saved up water in gallon jugs or bottles and the disaster is only for a few days, then you would not need to treat the water. If it is longer than a few days, then use food-grade level containers and use one of the treatment methods below for treating.

Boiling Water – This is considered to be the safest method of water treatment. The recommended way to do it is to do a rolling boil on high for one minute.

Chlorination – Household liquid bleach can be used to kill microorganisms. Only use regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not even think of using scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.

You can purchase water treatment tablets and liquid from emergency supply stores or outdoor outlets. From what I have read, it is not advisable to purchase items that do not contain 5.25 or 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient.

Distillation – While boiling and chlorination will kill most microbes in water, distillation is an alternative you can use to treat water against microbes (germs) that resist boiling or chlorination methods, as well as being beneficial for removing heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

Let’s look at some different ways you can collect and store water that is safe to use for drinking or using for personal hygiene:

The Tap

You can run the tap water into containers (we’ll look at the different types of containers in a future article) and then purify the water. Please be aware that the water storage containers should be in food grade water storage containers that you can purchase from surplus or camping supply stores.

House Pipes

If you find yourself in a sudden emergency, you can drain the water from the pipes in your house. To do this, let air into the plumbing. How you might ask? Find the faucet that is at its highest point in your home and turn on the faucet. You will get a trickle of water. Then turn on the faucet that is at the lowest point in your home and fill up as many containers as you can. If you have been notified by your local news that a water source for your neighborhood has been contaminated, make sure you turn off the water valve that leads from the water main into the house to prevent contamination for your home.

Hot Water Heater

You will want to turn off the electric or gas prior to draining the water heater. The next step would be to open the drain which can be located at the top or bottom of the tank and turning on the hot-water faucet in your home. Shutting off the valve will help ensure the water quality is good.

Once you are notified by your local news resources or water company that it is safe to turn on your water in your house again, go ahead but do not turn on the electric or gas to the tank until the water tank has filled.

The water from the tank would be good to drink without treatment for only a few days. After that, treat it!

Ice Cubes

Need water and you have an ice cube maker? It would be a simple matter to melt the ice and use the water.

Water from cans of fruits and vegetables

Do you have canned fruits and vegetables in your pantry? You can drain the water from the cans in an emergency situation. Be aware however that the manufacturers add salt to the produce to help preserve it; so if you’re on a salt-free diet, you may not want to do this unless it’s in moderation.

Rain Water

Collecting rain water or rainwater harvesting is an excellent source of water for reuse in the garden, for livestock, water direction from low areas in your yard and irrigation. You can even use rainwater for drinking – if you treat it properly. This is why fresh rainwater makes it so ideal to be stored.

Unsafe Water Sources

The information I list below has been obtained from ready.gov as sources of unsafe water sources:

• Water from the toilet bowl or flush tank.
• Water beds. Fungicides added to the water or chemicals in the vinyl may make water unsafe to use.
• Swimming pools and spas. Chemicals used to kill germs are too concentrated for safe drinking but can be used for personal hygiene, cleaning and related uses.

These are sources that you would be wise to avoid if you want your water to be safe.

So, what is the point I am trying to drive home here? Water storage and purification is key when preparing to bug in. This should be your first place to start if you are just getting into prepping. Have you started yet?

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