When Noah went a sailing he must have been concerned about drinking water. Those flood waters may not have been contaminated with the garbage and chemicals we deal with but they still had to be nasty. Of course the rainwater might have been more pure if captured but he was pretty well sealed inside the ark. Back when Moses argued with Pharoah, they suffered through a few plagues affecting the water supplies. We hope that some form of contamination or pandemic doesn’t strike through our water systems. Yet that is a major concern for officials who are served with protecting our water supplies from an attack of any type. We’re told that man can survive for quite some time without food but only survive three days without water.
Gray water from dishes or laundry or baths can be used to manually flush toilets or to water the gardens in the event of disruption of the water services. But lack of electricity or other power source will disrupt our drinking water supplies. Most of us walk across the room and flip on the tap to fill a glass. But where does that water come from that supplies that tap? Do you really know or just assume the city has a big tank somewhere? The bigger question is, just how vulnerable is that water source. Obviously flood waters could contaminate lakes, streams, reservoirs, and even private wells. Naturally there are always rumors of terrorists who plan to release chemicals or other contaminates into the water supply.
Before every major storm or hurricane, FEMA and other officials warn us to fill bathtubs, sinks, and every container possible with clean water. Have you ever considered how much water your family would need for only 3 days let alone for longer periods of time? Most officials recommend a minimum of 1 gallon per person be stored for drinking and food preparation. Additional is needed for personal hygiene. It is also recommended to not skimp on water — that is, drink what you should in order to not dehydrate. If you use it all, then seek out additional water for the next day but do not ration water. Drink what is required for the day. Although 3 days is the minimum recommended, it is best to plan on considerably more to be on the safe side.
Those single serving bottles are handy for short term even if they add to our landfill issues. But they break down quickly so it is best to not count on them for long term storage. Milk jugs also break down quickly and are prone to splitting when least expected. With a bit of research on the internet, several sources can be found for a product referred to as a Water Bob that is bathtub sized. It is made to fit in a tub and filled with water, keeping it contained and preventing dust or other problems. If on the other hand you are on the same type of tight budget we are, two liter soda bottles and clear plastic soda bottles are ideal solutions. Wash them out thoroughly with hot bleach water, rinsing well. Fill with tap water for your storage. A few bottles filled each week will keep from affecting your water bill too badly. Have friends or neighbors save bottles for you if your family doesn’t use a lot of soda. Store out of direct sunlight and rotate every few months. Use the water you are rotating for dishes or watering your garden or for cooking rather than simply wasting.
Still to be considered will be to devise a plan eventually for longer term needs. Not everyone has the luxury of living with a well or other safe water source like a natural spring or river. You will need to decide if you believe it will be necessary to plan long term or not depending on what emergency you believe we are facing. For those who want to be more self-sufficient, catching rainwater is a great alternative at little cost to you other than the initial set up. There are many suppliers for the barrels but be sure you get a food grade barrel. Be careful in purchasing used barrels if you are not sure what they were previously used for. Chemicals will leach out of the barrels used for other purposes and contaminate water. You will want to divert water from your rain gutter downspout or use a rain barrel saucer to capture the water straight from the sky. An average roof will easily fill fifty gallon rain barrels. However be sure that your locality allows for the legal capture of rainwater.
If rainwater is not a viable option for you, consider the larger investments of water filtration systems such as the popular but pricey Berkley System. It is also possible to find easy to follow plans to build your own filter system. Another product out there is a life-straw. There are also single serve water bottles with built in filters. These products have limited uses though. Lastly it is possible to save bleach or pool shock to purify water for drinking. Be sure it is pure sodium hypochorite. Store it safely out of direct sunlight. It is also possible to purchase water purification tablets.
The best defense is to be informed. Read up on the many choices out there and use what works easiest and best for your family. Always remember the goal is to lessen the stress by being informed and not going into debt to do this!