You cannot afford to make mistakes in your disaster preps; not only will it cost you money and resources, it might also be fatal to you and your family when the crisis strikes. Your water supply is among the most important consideration when prepping. You already know how important water is for survival: you can survive without food for 3 weeks, but you can only survive without water for 3 days.
So when storing water, be careful and make sure to avoid these 5 common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not storing enough
People are usually advised to store 1 gallon of water per person per day. But, if you’re going to consider how much water each person use for hygienic purposes, sanitation, for cooking and others, one gallon is definitely not enough.
When storing water you should consider that some members of your group or family will consume more water each day like children, pregnant women, nursing moms, ill people, or when you live in an area where the weather is hot. Your pets will also need water so don’t forget to store water for them.
Err on the side of caution and assume that the right amount of water to store per person per day is at least 2 gallons. And always bear in mind that you can never store enough water. You must store as much as you can and rotate your supply regularly in order to keep your supply as fresh and clean as possible and to know how far your supply can really get you. Aside from storing water properly, you also need to know the basics of locating and purifying water in your area, whether in the city or in the wild.
Mistake #2: Not using the right containers
Using the right container in storing water is very important. There are containers that are not safe to use like used juice and milk jugs. When you store water in these containers, you will only encourage the growth of bacteria.
Food-grade plastic containers are the safest containers to use for water storage. To figure out if the container is a food-grade plastic, look at the bottom or the side of it if they are stamped with the letters HDPE (High-Density PolyEthylene). Look also for a recycle symbol and if you look inside the container you should see the number 2. HDPE containers are safe for storing water and food and are approved by the FDA.
Hardware and outdoor stores are selling these kinds of containers and there are different sizes available. If you are looking for a bigger container they also have 55 gallon HDPE drums.
Using massive containers can save you money and space, but the problem is they are hard to transport if it’s time to evacuate or move to another area.
You can also use plastic jugs, water boxes, 55-gallon barrels, 5-gallon containers and unconventional water-holding containers like this waterBOB.
Mistake #3: Not knowing if the water is safe for storage
Make sure that the water that you’re storing is safe to use and that your water source is also safe. There is no need for you to treat your tap water because it was already treated. But if you are not sure about the purity of the water, for example, you are getting it from a well, you can add 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine bleach for each gallon of water.
Take note: Use only a non-scented household chlorine bleach. Chlorine can kill any disease-causing bacteria that may have been in the water.
Boil water advisories are issued in various places in the country for reasons other than hurricanes or other natural disasters. Whenever water lines and treatment facilities are compromised, i.e. a busted line or water main break, boil warnings are issued. So always be aware of boil advisories in your area if you are storing water because you may need to boil water before you transfer it into containers.
Mistake #4: Not rotating your water supply
The shelf life of water has a limit. Water can taste and smell bad when stored for a long period of time. It can also encourage the growth of algae and bacteria, and if this happens, your stored water will no longer be safe for consumption.
To avoid these kinds of events, you should rotate your supply every 6 months to 1 year. Treating your water with a commercial water preserver will extend the shelf life of your supply to 5 years. Label containers so you can keep track when rotating.
Mistake #5: Not knowing where to store
Store your water supply in a cool, dark place like your basement or closet. Do not store your supply in a hot place or where there is sunlight. Heat and sunlight can shorten the shelf life of your supplies. Also, do not store water in a place near kerosene, gasoline and pesticides.
Start storing water now and do not wait for a disaster to happen before doing it. You have a very low chance of finding a good source of water during and after a disaster. And if ever you have found a water source it may not be safe for consumption.