Water is something we can’t live without. We need it for drinking, cooking, bathing, and it is essential for our survival. Should you find yourself in a situation where emergency water storage is a necessity, but you don’t have a stockpile of bottled water, you may have to get creative to find an emergency water supply. There are plenty of water storage solutions available, but you have to think outside the “bottle.”
How Much Water Do You Need?
Emergency preparedness websites and experts recommend stockpiling enough water to last everyone in your home (including pets) at least 3 days, but it’s better to have enough for several weeks. Some of this would be for drinking, some for cooking, and some for personal hygiene. Aim to stockpile at least two gallons per person, per day. Add an extra gallon per day for each of your pets. If you have a nursing mom in the home, or live in a really hot climate, you will need more, so plan accordingly. If you have an infant who drinks formula, you’ll also need to account for extra water for bottles, as well as cleaning used bottles. Some water may also be needed to rehydrate or prepare food. This would also affect how much water you would need to store.
Finding Water Storage Containers
If an emergency arises and you need to stockpile water quickly, you have to find appropriate containers in a hurry. There are several solutions for holding drinking water right in your kitchen cabinets and bathroom. In the kitchen, empty pitchers, bowls and cups with lids will work. Additionally, plastic food storage containers can hold water, and they can be frozen, too – which can aid in keeping food cold should the power go out in an emergency. Make sure not to fill them all the way to the top before sealing, to allow for expansion when frozen. You can also partially fill ziplock bags with water and store them in the freezer. They not only will be a water source when melted, but could be a pain-relieving ice pack if you have an injury. Empty 2-liter soda bottles make great storage containers, but make sure you wash them out first.
Locating Safe Water
Now that you have gathered some containers, it’s time to fill them with water. If you can’t access running water from your faucet, there are a few other places around your home to look. The hot water heater can hold quite a bit of water so check there first. Additionally, a backyard swimming pool can provide gallon upon gallon of water in an emergency. Just remember that in a power outage, your pool pump will not work and water quality will quickly start to deteriorate. Never drink pool water without first checking the chlorine level for safety and then make sure you boil it for three minutes just to insure that any pathogens are eliminated.Of course, you can also locate nearby water sources at creeks, rivers, and ponds. Just make sure you boil it and filter it to make it safe for consumption.
Rain barrels are another at-home option to collect and store water, but be mindful if you need to use that water for drinking, as it may need to be treated before drinking it, like pool water. Remember too, that in some areas, water being drinkable may be in question, particularly after a natural disaster, so you’ll need to have fuel and a camp stove accessible should you need to boil water. This will ensure it is safe for you and your family to drink.
Creating Water Containers In the Wild
If you are on a hiking or camping trip and find yourself in need of additional water storage, or possibly even find yourself stranded in a remote area, it’s time to get creative. Rinse and reuse any water bottles you may have on hand, but that may not be enough to sustain you for a long period of time. If you do find a water source with drinkable water, you will want to take as much as you can safely carry back to your campsite.
There are a few ideas I discovered online using materials found nature that can make water storage containers. One idea I saw was to create a bowl or cup from wood. You would want to use a pliable wood like birch or bamboo, and use your knife to hollow out the center to create a makeshift bowl. This video will teach you how to make a birch bowl using simple survival tools. You could also use the bladder of a large animal to carry and store water in an emergency. This particular method could have a two-fold benefit – the animal could provide you with necessary food, but its bladder can also become a makeshift canteen. You would need to completely sanitize it, though, scraping out the lining and cleaning it with boiling water. In a tropical location, seashells also can be used to hold water, and a coconut shell makes a great bowl when hollowed out. You can even use a large leaf as a makeshift cup.
Remember, you can go much longer without food than water. Food is needed, for sure, but water is vital if you want to survive. Finding and storing as much water as you can in an emergency situation is crucial. Do you have water stockpiled for an emergency?