In the event of a crisis, access to water is one of the most important things to secure. And having your own source of water is vitally important, otherwise you’ll be reliant on others or you might not have water at all. In a disaster situation it’s better to have everything you need in your house or apartment rather than having to wait in line for government handouts and the chaos that can result. You can’t survive more than a few days without water, so that should be the number one priority in your disaster preparations. Here are a few tips that can help you out.
The Four Sources of Water
There are four primary sources of water, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
1. Tap Water
Most of us rely on tap water for our daily needs. We go to the faucet and expect fresh, clean water to flow out. But in a disaster situation that might not be the case. Water purification facilities may not be working or may be breached by floodwater, so any tap water may need to be boiled or purified. You may also lose water pressure, meaning that you won’t have water coming from your tap. So at the first sign of danger, you’ll want to take advantage of the water flowing from your tap and store it before it runs out.
2. Store-Bought Water
You can buy bottles and jugs of water from stores, but the plastic they’re stored in is liable to disintegrate if stored too long or exposed to sunlight. As long as you rotate store-bought water, though, you can stockpile a fair amount. Be aware, though, that this could also get expensive.
If you have a well, great. Just make sure you have a backup method to run the well if you lose electricity. If you have access to a stream, pond, or river, you can use that water too. Even swimming pool water will work in a pinch. Just make sure to boil any groundwater if you aren’t sure whether it’s safe to drink.
Rainwater, especially if its collected from rooftops, can be filled with contaminants. It’s probably best not to drink it, but if minimally purified it could be used to wash clothes or equipment, or to flush toilets.
How to Store Water
Once you’ve figured out what your water source is, you’ll want to figure out how to store it. Here are a few methods.
1. Old Plastic Bottles
You may have some old plastic water bottles or milk jugs lying around. While they can be used to store water, they may be difficult to get clean enough to store water without becoming contaminated. But if that’s all you have, better to use them and then purify your water than to go without.
2. Collapsible Water Bags
Collapsible water containers occupy a small footprint when they’re empty, but they can hold several gallons of water when full. Many of them can be very easy to clean and fill, and they are designed to store water for a longer period of time than plastic bottles.
3. Plastic Water Tanks
Plastic water tanks can run the gamut from 5-gallon food grade water storage containers, to 55-gallon water drums, to containers that can fill a truck bed, and even larger. Even the smaller sizes can be difficult to store or move (remember that each gallon of water weighs around 8 pounds), but if you have the space, this could be one of your best bets for long-term water storage.
Yes, you can use your bathtub to store water in an emergency too. You can buy special plastic bladders that will fit in your tub and store up to 100 gallons of water. At the recommended use of a gallon per day per person, that will supply a family of four for over three weeks.
Whatever source of water you use and however you decide to store it, make sure you have a plan and stick to it. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the midst of a disaster scenario without any water.