Building up food storage is a significant aspect of emergency preparedness, but beyond freeze-dried food kits and basics, water must be included. Nearly all emergency meals rehydrate with water, and thus, a supply must not only cover food preparation but also drinking and hygiene.
The average citizen uses roughly 110 gallons of water per day. In times of emergency, however, this amount is greatly reduced. As a general rule for emergency preparedness, store 14 gallons per day for an individual and 56 for a family. Multiple approaches, in this regards, can be taken.
Cans of emergency water have a 30-year shelf life. To stay in good condition for several decades, the cans won’t burst from boiling or freezing and, in the rare instance of flooding, actually float. Rather than storing rain in a barrel, building up a water supply, or using a hand pump, cans provide a sufficient and treated supply at once.
Those more inclined to self-sufficiency tend to use rain barrels and water storage tanks. Made out of blue food-grade polyethylene, these emergency water tanks can gather rain for storage or hold any water brought up from a pump. Much like emergency food, water storage tanks should never be kept in sunlight. Water can expand in a tank, however, and in winter, one of these containers should be no more than 90-percent full.
Gathered water has one drawback – it’s not treated. Before use, be it for bathing or cooking, the water must be purified and filtered. Boiling or a few drops of bleach are common methods, but they require too much equipment or can be poisonous, respectively. Filtration and purification systems are far more reliable and are often portable.
Purification removes hazardous microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, cysts, and protozoa, while filtration gets rid of debris, chemicals, and other contaminant. UV purification devices, for instance, sterilize all microorganisms in the water, while a two-part filtration device (ceramic with hard-block carbon or glass fibers for short-term filtration) removes most small particles of dirt, debris, and chemicals.