Storing Water for Emergencies Back »

Having an ample supply of safe and clean water is a top priority in case of an emergency such as floods, hurricanes or ice storms. In such situations, the home drinking water supply may be damaged or polluted with contaminants that have entered the water lines. During emergencies the supply of water from other sources, including bottled water for purchase, may be erratic or unavailable. Rather than relying on alternative sources of water will be available, home water storage is a viable option for securing a supply of safe water.

Below are some guidelines for home storage of water:

How much water should I store?

  • It is generally recommended to store enough water for a week’s supply and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs two quarts of water per day just for drinking. Additional water is reserved for personal hygiene and food preparation. When deciding on how much water to store, you should also consider that individual needs may vary. Children, nursing mothers, ill people and people in warm climates need more water. Also, make sure to store enough water for the pets.

Should I buy water or fill my own containers?

  • Commercially bottled water: The safest and easiest water source is to buy and store commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it. Replace the supply when the ‘use by’ date stamped on the bottles is reached.
  • Preparing your own containers: Containers for long-term water storage are available commercially from e.g. outdoor or camping supply stores. Make sure to purchase food-grade water storage containers. As an alternative, soft drink bottles (such as 2-liter bottles) with tight-fitting screw-on caps can be used. Containers for water should be thoroughly washed with soap and disinfected using a diluted chlorine bleach solution (one part bleach to 10 parts of water). Swish the solution in the bottle so it touches all surfaces before emptying. Rinse the bottle with water from a safe source and fill the bottle with water from the same source. Fill the bottles as much as possible to leave as little air in the bottle as possible. Do not use plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk, juice or toxic substances in them. Milk protein and fruit juices cannot be adequately removed from these containers which may cause bacterial growth during storage.

How should I store the water?

  • Keep the water stored away from fragrant or toxic substances (e.g. laundry detergent, gasoline or pesticides) in a cool, dark place (such as a basement closet) that you will have easy access to following an emergency.

For more information, contact Jeppe Kjaersgaard at 605.688.5673

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