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How much water is enough?

by Tom Sciacca

If you like food as much as I do, it’s hard to imagine that our body can actually go weeks without food. It wouldn’t be fun, of course, but it can be done. But without water, our bodies can get into serious trouble quickly – just a matter of days before dehydration can set in. So why is it that many people keep lots of extra food stored in their houses, but neglect to store any water?

This subject came to mind recently when my cousin told me about having to endure a power outage with no drinkable water. Since power outages often impact water treatment facilities, tap water can be unsafe for drinking. The situation was made worse by the fact that her child had vomiting and diarrhea, which meant that there was an even greater need for drinking water, as well as water for cleaning, sanitation and hand washing.

For instance, a mixture of water and chlorine bleach would have greatly assisted in sanitizing around her child, helping to ensure that others didn’t also get sick. And obviously, you wouldn’t want to clean up after such a mess without being able to thoroughly wash your hands. (As a dad, I know that’s NOT fun!) Finally, water for food preparation is a supply you’ll need over and above what you plan to drink.

Now if you look at the conventional wisdom out on the internet, you’ll find guidelines such as the following:

A normally active person needs to drink at least a half gallon of water every day. Hot environments can double that, and children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

Additional water should be stored for use in food preparation and hygiene.
Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. You should have at least a two week supply of water for each member of your household.

This is all well and good for the most basic needs, but I recently contacted a very knowledgeable ecologist and cultural anthropologist about her opinion of these recommendations, and she recommended much more. Back in the times when people hauled water from lakes and wells, she told me, a normal household used over 2 gallons of water per person for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Nowadays, people are so accustomed to having plenty of fresh water around that it’s used at a much higher rate. (Don’t forget that people only bathed once a week in olden times!)

So my latest philosophy is that it is better to plan on 2-4 gallons per person per day. Sure, you may use less, but what if the situation lasts longer than you planned? You’ll be happy you had the additional safety margin.

Now, where should you get the water? Well, for a while, I sold canned water, as it can be stored easily for long periods. But after a time, I began to realize that the shipping cost of canned water made it very expensive for customers to acquire (plus, it’s not exactly a “green” practice to ship water that you can get from the tap), so now I just give advice on how to store it on your own.

You can buy jugs of bottled water or you can fill up old milk jugs (which you’ve thoroughly cleaned, of course). Make sure it’s a plastic that is safe for food use and don’t use them for an eternity. (I’ll cover safe water storage later.)
Store the water in a cool dark place, such as your basement, if you have one.
Rotate your water ever six months or so, by using up what you have in your cooking, washing or even flushing the toilet, then replenish the supply.

Keeping water on hand is not simply a preparation for TEOTWAWKI, but a smart precaution against power outages, storms or any other time we lose basic services. It means you’ll be less likely to panic (like all those unprepared people) and less likely to be demanding assistance from already-overtaxed emergency services.

Of course, having an adequate supply of food is important too, but without water, you’ll be majorly uncomfortable in an awful hurry. Fortunately for my cousin, she and her family came through okay, but the anxiety she felt during the situation helped her recognize that you can never have too much water on hand.

In a follow up to this blog, we’ll talk about what types of containers are safe to store water in and how to make sure bacteria growth doesn’t ruin your day. See you then!

-Tom

Tom Sciacca is President of http://www.campingsurvival.com/, specializing in wilderness and urban survival.
 

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Reprinted with permission

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How much water is enough?

by Tom Sciacca

If you like food as much as I do, it’s hard to imagine that our body can actually go weeks without food. It wouldn’t be fun, of course, but it can be done. But without water, our bodies can get into serious trouble quickly – just a matter of days before dehydration can set in. So why is it that many people keep lots of extra food stored in their houses, but neglect to store any water?

This subject came to mind recently when my cousin told me about having to endure a power outage with no drinkable water. Since power outages often impact water treatment facilities, tap water can be unsafe for drinking. The situation was made worse by the fact that her child had vomiting and diarrhea, which meant that there was an even greater need for drinking water, as well as water for cleaning, sanitation and hand washing.

For instance, a mixture of water and chlorine bleach would have greatly assisted in sanitizing around her child, helping to ensure that others didn’t also get sick. And obviously, you wouldn’t want to clean up after such a mess without being able to thoroughly wash your hands. (As a dad, I know that’s NOT fun!) Finally, water for food preparation is a supply you’ll need over and above what you plan to drink.

Now if you look at the conventional wisdom out on the internet, you’ll find guidelines such as the following:

A normally active person needs to drink at least a half gallon of water every day. Hot environments can double that, and children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

Additional water should be stored for use in food preparation and hygiene.
Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. You should have at least a two week supply of water for each member of your household.

This is all well and good for the most basic needs, but I recently contacted a very knowledgeable ecologist and cultural anthropologist about her opinion of these recommendations, and she recommended much more. Back in the times when people hauled water from lakes and wells, she told me, a normal household used over 2 gallons of water per person for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Nowadays, people are so accustomed to having plenty of fresh water around that it’s used at a much higher rate. (Don’t forget that people only bathed once a week in olden times!)

So my latest philosophy is that it is better to plan on 2-4 gallons per person per day. Sure, you may use less, but what if the situation lasts longer than you planned? You’ll be happy you had the additional safety margin.

Now, where should you get the water? Well, for a while, I sold canned water, as it can be stored easily for long periods. But after a time, I began to realize that the shipping cost of canned water made it very expensive for customers to acquire (plus, it’s not exactly a “green” practice to ship water that you can get from the tap), so now I just give advice on how to store it on your own.

You can buy jugs of bottled water or you can fill up old milk jugs (which you’ve thoroughly cleaned, of course). Make sure it’s a plastic that is safe for food use and don’t use them for an eternity. (I’ll cover safe water storage later.)
Store the water in a cool dark place, such as your basement, if you have one.
Rotate your water ever six months or so, by using up what you have in your cooking, washing or even flushing the toilet, then replenish the supply.

Keeping water on hand is not simply a preparation for TEOTWAWKI, but a smart precaution against power outages, storms or any other time we lose basic services. It means you’ll be less likely to panic (like all those unprepared people) and less likely to be demanding assistance from already-overtaxed emergency services.

Of course, having an adequate supply of food is important too, but without water, you’ll be majorly uncomfortable in an awful hurry. Fortunately for my cousin, she and her family came through okay, but the anxiety she felt during the situation helped her recognize that you can never have too much water on hand.

In a follow up to this blog, we’ll talk about what types of containers are safe to store water in and how to make sure bacteria growth doesn’t ruin your day. See you then!

-Tom

Tom Sciacca is President of http://www.campingsurvival.com/, specializing in wilderness and urban survival.
you can never store enough water. you must have a renewable source. a lake, river or good well.
 

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Reprinted with permission

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How much water is enough?

by Tom Sciacca

If you like food as much as I do, it’s hard to imagine that our body can actually go weeks without food. It wouldn’t be fun, of course, but it can be done. But without water, our bodies can get into serious trouble quickly – just a matter of days before dehydration can set in. So why is it that many people keep lots of extra food stored in their houses, but neglect to store any water?

This subject came to mind recently when my cousin told me about having to endure a power outage with no drinkable water. Since power outages often impact water treatment facilities, tap water can be unsafe for drinking. The situation was made worse by the fact that her child had vomiting and diarrhea, which meant that there was an even greater need for drinking water, as well as water for cleaning, sanitation and hand washing.

For instance, a mixture of water and chlorine bleach would have greatly assisted in sanitizing around her child, helping to ensure that others didn’t also get sick. And obviously, you wouldn’t want to clean up after such a mess without being able to thoroughly wash your hands. (As a dad, I know that’s NOT fun!) Finally, water for food preparation is a supply you’ll need over and above what you plan to drink.

Now if you look at the conventional wisdom out on the internet, you’ll find guidelines such as the following:

A normally active person needs to drink at least a half gallon of water every day. Hot environments can double that, and children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

Additional water should be stored for use in food preparation and hygiene.
Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. You should have at least a two week supply of water for each member of your household.

This is all well and good for the most basic needs, but I recently contacted a very knowledgeable ecologist and cultural anthropologist about her opinion of these recommendations, and she recommended much more. Back in the times when people hauled water from lakes and wells, she told me, a normal household used over 2 gallons of water per person for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Nowadays, people are so accustomed to having plenty of fresh water around that it’s used at a much higher rate. (Don’t forget that people only bathed once a week in olden times!)

So my latest philosophy is that it is better to plan on 2-4 gallons per person per day. Sure, you may use less, but what if the situation lasts longer than you planned? You’ll be happy you had the additional safety margin.

Now, where should you get the water? Well, for a while, I sold canned water, as it can be stored easily for long periods. But after a time, I began to realize that the shipping cost of canned water made it very expensive for customers to acquire (plus, it’s not exactly a “green” practice to ship water that you can get from the tap), so now I just give advice on how to store it on your own.

You can buy jugs of bottled water or you can fill up old milk jugs (which you’ve thoroughly cleaned, of course). Make sure it’s a plastic that is safe for food use and don’t use them for an eternity. (I’ll cover safe water storage later.)
Store the water in a cool dark place, such as your basement, if you have one.
Rotate your water ever six months or so, by using up what you have in your cooking, washing or even flushing the toilet, then replenish the supply.

Keeping water on hand is not simply a preparation for TEOTWAWKI, but a smart precaution against power outages, storms or any other time we lose basic services. It means you’ll be less likely to panic (like all those unprepared people) and less likely to be demanding assistance from already-overtaxed emergency services.

Of course, having an adequate supply of food is important too, but without water, you’ll be majorly uncomfortable in an awful hurry. Fortunately for my cousin, she and her family came through okay, but the anxiety she felt during the situation helped her recognize that you can never have too much water on hand.

In a follow up to this blog, we’ll talk about what types of containers are safe to store water in and how to make sure bacteria growth doesn’t ruin your day. See you then!

-Tom

Tom Sciacca is President of http://www.campingsurvival.com/, specializing in wilderness and urban survival.
I agree with you on this,I think 4 gallons per person per day would be good.

I still have 4 cases of the Anheuser-Busch drinking water as well,I wish they would sell it at the store.
 

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Silver Wings
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Water's for washin'. Whiskey's for drinkin' ... :D:

Seriously, thanks kev. Good article. Good site. :thumb:
 

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I would point out that storing water in milk jugs, no matter how well you've cleaned them, is a bad idea. While it's in there the milk seeps into microscopic holes and rifts in the plastic; you CAN'T wash it all out. And milk is not only an excellent food to promote bacterial growth, just by itself it will 'sour' water over time. Not to mention the plastic of milk jugs is designed to decay, and eventually become brittle and break, to promote absorption in land fills...

Plastic pop bottles. Those are the ticket. It's a different, less permeable sort of plastic, the pop doesn't seep in and CAN be completely washed out, and these things may outlast the human race. An excellent storage container.
 

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Yep I have heard the same about milk jugs, but even if they do end up leaking, just store in a place where no damage would result. Why not use the water they contain for toilets, watering plants, etc ? This way even if some milk residue is left it would not hurt a thing.

I too use pop bottles plus regular water containers as well.
 

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Our current house is a little older and will need some work, but one of the reasons I really don't want to move is that we have our own 12 acre lake fed by a nice creek and we have our own well. The interesting feature is that the well is inside the house (in my man-cave) with electric pump and my plans are to add a manual pump. That would be the best situation during a crisis. Either use a generator to run the pump or use the hand pump.

ROCK6
 

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How much to store should be based on two factors. The first is based on your individual assessment of how much the minimum amount you'll actually accept regarding hydration and cleanliness would be. Of course more is always better and if you can it would be foolish not to store more then the minimimum. The second factor on how much to store deals with the replenishment factor. Meaning how soon you think it will be safe to go out for more or how long you think it will take to get the water utility up and running. The main assumption here is that you know the location of nearby water sources and have a method to filter/purify the water. If you plan to store enough to "carry" you through till the water is flowing again, lets just say two weeks isn't going to do it in a nation wide SHTF situation.

While having a stored supply of water is extremely important, bottom line water storage is not the key to survival, having and/or knowing the location of an outside water source will be. IMHO people in citites and or "dry" areas will resort to violence in the quest for potable fluids long before they will for food. Most people have more food on hand than water, soft drinks ect.
 

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FM 21-76, the U.S. Army's Survival Manual, has a nice chart to help you estimate water requirements based on temperature and your workload. A gallon per day is OK if you are typing in an air conditioned room, but if you are cleaining up debris or defending your home when it is 105F, you'll need at least three gallons.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/downloads.php?do=file&id=1508
http://www.survivalistboards.com/downloads.php?do=file&id=1334

If you plan to eat beans and rice, you'll need a couple quarts to soak and cook them and clean the pot.

Finally, if you don't want diarrhea or worse problems in a few days, you'll probably want to wash your hands, face, feet and the hairy portions of your body.
 

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According to my last water bill my household used 40 gallons per person per day.

I know 1 gallon per person per day is considered the "minimum to survive"

I have a rainwater catchment system, that assuming it rains only once per year, will provide 1.7 gallons per person per day. Because it doesn't rain once per year I think I can safely assume I have at least 4 gallons per person per day.

My goal is 10 gallons per person per day (I think living on 10 gallons per day should be reasonably cushy)
 
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