importance of water storage

After reading about all the possible alternatives for water in an emergency, you might feel tempted to just skip water storage. DON'T (I am shouting)! It's important to notice that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints doesn't say to store filters or solar stills, instead they direct us to store water. This is the text from the new pamphlet, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage:

"Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight."

Depending upon your circumstances, you may or may not be able to collect water using these emergency methods. Having water already stored is a sure bet. If you want to plan on utilizing these alternate methods, great! But I would recommend that you get your basic water storage first.


water filters

I'm NOT talking about a Pur or Britta filter, and I'm NOT talking about the filter in your fridge. Though these filters make your water taste better as well as filtering out some bad stuff, they don't get the most dangerous bacteria out.

You can purchase heavy-duty filters that eliminate bacteria and parasites at emergency supply or camping stores. They can be very expensive. There is currently a "straw" filter being developed for use in third-world countries. This technology may indeed make storing a filter with our home storage more cheap and practical. I'll update as I know more. I'm already seeing some knock-off straws that are available for around $10. The straw filter does not protect against giardia. Iodine tablets or colloidal silver can also be stored and added to water to clean it. Neither iodine or silver should be used long-term.

Here are two great articles on water filters by REI:


solar still

If you've exhausted all of your personal water supplies, sometimes you have to get creative with water in an emergency. One way to collect water is using a solar still. Most often, you will already have the supplies to make one on hand.

Solar Still
a) Dig a large, shallow hole (4' wide - 3' deep).
b) Put a collection container in the middle of the hole.
c) Place a piece of 6' x 6' clear plastic over the hole.
d) Put a small rock or something right in the middle of the plastic that causes the plastic to slope to the container.
e) Wait for water to condense on the plastic and drip into the collection container.

Detailed Instructions: http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/dec/stories/water.html


rain water

Rain water can definitely be a water source in an emergency (assuming that it rains). In fact, many homes around the world already have cisterns, sometimes on their roofs, to provide water where water supplies are already limited. Rain water, however, is usually pretty dirty and needs to be filtered using one of the methods that we've already discussed. A large barrel at the bottom of a rain gutter would be a great source of water for gardening. You can buy barrels especially for this purpose. Typically they also have a tap at the bottom. A full barrel can provide enough water pressure to hook up a hose.

A video on how to make a rain-water storage barrel:


prepared in houston

This is a real email that a friend posted last week. This family is in the Houston area and has been clearly blessed because of their preparedness. This is a real life example of the importance of storage, particularly water storage.

Dear Friends:

(We) are doing well. We have a 6'x6' hole in our roof, no electricity or running water, Trees down everywhere. However, because we listened to the counsel of our Prophet we are prepared, calm, and helping one another with trees in roofs, flooding, etc.

There is a POD or Point of Distrubution where we live. There you get water and ice IF you have enough fuel to wait in the 3 hour lines. We don't have to do that because we have 3 full water barrels, 75 juice bottles filled with water, and our pool which is dirty but we use it to flush.

It is very difficult to get gas. Police guard the stations when fuel is delivered and you might wait half a day to get up to the pump just to have them say, 'Too bad, we are out'.I am grateful that we have a generator. We run it 4 hours a day to keep our fridge and light.

I am grateful that we have had fuel for it. You can't even by gas containers as they are rationed. We can only buy bread once a week and limited to 2 loaves at a time. Water is rationed by the case at the grocery store. 3 cases per family.

The Atm machines do not have power. For the past 6 months I have stashed small bills away because I have had such a feeling of foreboding. We have cash because of that. LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT. Get cash in small bills because the stores can't make change and credit and debit cards often don't work. I had to pay 5 dollars more for an item because they couldn't make change for me.


Believe it or not...I have not had a bath in 4 days, Today was the first day I got to wash my hair with pool water. I haven't fixed my hair in a week!!! It just doesn't matter anymore. We can not do laundry because we don't have water. So, we wear our clothes until they are literally disgusting. When we do finally get water we will have to boil it since it is contaminated.

I am grateful for my parents. When we got low on generator fuel they drove 45 minutes to help us. They filled up their cans and brought us 10 gallons of fuel which kept us going until this morning at 6:oo am when we finally found some gas.

I want all of you to know that I have such a testimony of following the counsel of our living prophet. There really is safety and peace in your heart if you are prepared. Please get your generators, 5 gas cans full of gas, canned goods, baby items, baby wipes to bathe, and all the water you can store...even if you have to trip on it in your home. Have your lanterns, crank flashlights, tarps, rope, etc.. ready to go because you never know when it will be your turn to endure the test. It's overwhelming, but it's going to be ok eventually. I have a home, I have food, I have water, because i listened to the counsel of the prophet. Please make sure you do the same. It's time to have your life in order. Tomorrow may be too late.


emergency water sources

In an emergency, you may or may not have access to your water storage. It's a good idea to know about the different ways that you can find water in an emergency. Here are some possibilities:

1) Tap Water - In many scenarios, tap water may still be flowing and pure. Listen to authorities for instructions as to the purity of your water. When in doubt, boil it.

2) Home Storage Water - Now is the time to use this water. If you can't get to it, maybe you'll have access to water in 72 hour kits. I also keep a case of water bottles in the back of my car. We use it all the time for soccer games or road trips. Even on the run, I'll have access to a little bit of water.

3) Home Water Sources - You have more water in your house than you thought. Your hot water heater (turn off gas/electricity to the tank first) and toilet tanks are just two examples. Often there is water that lingers in our garden hoses or sprinklers. A waterbed is also a source of water (if you haven't added fungicides) and probably your freezer has a small supply of ice. You can also extract water from your pipes, but will need to shut off your incoming water supply first (as to not contaminate). Then turn on your lowest faucet to access the water. The water from a swimming pool can be used for cleaning and flushing toilets but not drinking. Even if you're unsure of one of these sources drinkability, you can always use the water for cleaning. I wouldn't count any of these sources towards your home storage. They are unpredictable at best.

4) Outside Water Sources - You should never drink flood waters. Nearby streams, ponds or rivers can be a source of water, but you should always take measure to make the water safe by straining, boiling, distilling or chlorinating it.

Here are some great links for emergency water:


water rotation

Do you already have your water storage?

Then it's a great time to rotate your water storage! I try to think about things around spring and fall General Conference. If you connect these tasks to General Conference, then you'll find yourself assessing your fire-alarm batteries, 72-hour kits, and water storage regularly.

Rotating a good-sized water storage can be a pretty big task. You should rotate your water regularly. I rotate my water every few years. Water looses its oxygen and can taste stale. The taste can be improved by pouring water back and forth between two water pitchers. Rotation also makes your water more likely to be clean and drinkable right out of the containers if you ever need it.

Some store their large drums of water on sturdy wheel carts which makes them easier to move. Some people also store their water near drains to aid rotation. My large drums are in my garage and I usually carefully tip the barrel and roll it out onto my lawn to drain. You can also siphon the water out using a siphon pump. Smaller containers can be moved using a wagon or wheel barrel and then emptied. Soda bottles are easy to carry and dump. All of the discarded water could be used to water a lawn, plants or garden.

You can pull a hose almost anywhere to refill most of your containers. A hose can even be pulled through basement windows if that is where you keep your water storage (connect a hose sprayer with a handle that you press to turn the water on/off to ensure that you don't get water everywhere). I have had some concern about using my normal garden hose (which has the "California: this has chemicals which can cause cancer" label). I did see recently that Emergency Essentials has a 25 foot "drinking water safe" hose. It costs about $16. I haven't been concerned enough to actually purchase this hose, but it is an option. Soda bottles can be refilled easily in a sink.


goal 1(c) - water storage

Our first goal is WATER STORAGE.

You purchased or began collecting containers for water storage.

Fill those containers up! As long as the containers are clean, there is no need to add bleach or anything else. I usually do a quick rinse before adding the water.

I know this information is also included in previous posts, but I thought a quick reminder would be good. Don't place your water containers directly on a concrete floor. Instead place them on untreated wood or pallets. And remember not to store them next to any chemicals. If you are storing them outside leave a little head-room for freezing. One last reminder: It's a good idea to replace the water each year. Water tastes bad after long storage. If you don't, and end up needing to use your water, just pour some of the water back and forth from one container to another (this aerates the water and makes it taste better).

See past posts on water for sanitizing and filling information:(http://iprepared.blogspot.com/search/label/Water).


case lot sales

For you Utah readers, Maceys started their case lot sale yesterday. They've offered water storage containers again at a reduced rate. Here are the prices:

55 gallon drum - $41.99 ($34 is the best price I've seen for these -- but it's been 3-4 years since I saw that price)
5 gallon water bottle - $9.99 (this is the kind that you use with a water dispenser)
5 gallon camping jug - $4.59
15 gallon drum - $24.99

Water spigot - $.99
Siphon pump - $7.49 (these are pretty fragile, so store accordingly)
Frontier Emergency Water Filter - $6.99

Our next goal will be working on our three-month supply. If you have a plan for your water storage and are working on it already , you might want to consider stocking up on your three-month supply with some of these sales. Because of the current state of the economy, Maceys case lot prices aren't fantastic, but are good enough to stock up if you can afford to.

Link to Pinching Your Pennies Price Lists


would i have been ready?

It is helpful for me, as various disasters happen near to home, to assess my preparedness. As I've watched the footage of Ike hitting the Texas coast, I've paid attention to the problems that have resulted. Currently, they are asking residents of Galveston to leave or not come back (if they evacuated) because, "There's not enough clean drinking water to serve the needs of the 15,000 to 20,000 people who stayed on the island." (Galvestonians Urged To Leave) Also, the residents of Houston are still being told to boil their water. It's been three days since the hurricane hit and the water supply is still compromised. Some residents still don't have power and might not even be able to boil their water. I saw pictures yesterday of people standing in lines for hours waiting for water bottles and ice (Ike Survivors Face Long Wait).

There is a lot to learn from these circumstances. Just like with Katrina, water seems to be the first priority. Having a water storage at very least would prevent you from having to walk for miles and stand in line for water bottles. In the case of Katrina, there weren't any lines for water, you would have had to exist on what you had already stored. I don't like lectures or scare tactics -- I don't intend this post to take that roll, but rather to make you think about the advantages and realities of having water stored.

I've read several stories about residents who did think to prepare. One family bought enough water to line the perimeter of their dining room. (Houston Family Huddles) She was lucky that water was available, but it's great that she thought ahead. I also read the story of a family who rode out the storm in a 6th story apartment building. They filled every container in the house with water in anticipation of losing their water supply. "We have water in garbage cans, flower pots, all the kitchen pots and pans and anything else that could hold liquid. My dad wanted to make sure we could flush the commodes and have some to drink if our bottled supply ran out." (Riding Out Ike)

We can learn a lot from their experiences. Maybe it will help us to be more ready for the next hurricane, earthquake or whatever challenges may face us.


safe drinking water

After you've stored your water, you've got to make sure it's safe and drinkable.

From providentliving.org (Water Storage Guidelines)
*Commercially bottled water in PETE (or PET) plastic containers may be purchased. Follow the container’s “best if used by” dates as a rotation guideline. Avoid plastic containers that are not PETE plastic.
*If you choose to package water yourself, consider the following guidelines:

*Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
*Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to one quart (1 liter) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
*Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
*Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.

Water Pretreatment:
*Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.
*Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every gallon (4 liters) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
*Storage Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly.
*Store water only where potential leakage would not damage your home or apartment.
*Protect stored water from light and heat. Some containers may also require protection from freezing.
*The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.

Recommendations from the AMERICAN RED CROSS:
"There are many ways to treat water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Two easy treatment methods are outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

Boiling: Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.
Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

Disinfection: You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

The only agent used to treat water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.


drinking water

This is the second point discussed in the "All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage" pamphlet. The pamphlet states, "Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in
sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight."

We store our water in large blue 50-gallon drums. An old rule-of-thumb was to store 14 gallons per person (about 2 weeks worth of drinking water only). The church no longer recommends a specific amount. We learned from the hurricane, Katrina, that water becomes a precious resource in an emergency. So, I would recommend that you store as much as you can. We also have some smaller containers of water that are more portable (could carry water from our drums to a more useful location). We've stored some filter tablets, a container of bleach, a pump and a bung wrench (to open the big barrels). I try to keep a box of bottled water in the back of my car. I probably need to purchase a water filter to provide an ongoing supply of water. How do you store your water?

Here are some water storage suggestions:
*Rinse the inside of your barrels with water and then fill them.
*Because of the chlorine already in our water, no additional chemicals are needed when filling the barrels (use tap water and a clean hose.)
*Do not place your barrels directly on concrete floors or right against concrete walls. They can leach moisture from the cement. You can raise them using (non-treated) wood.
*Store water away from harmful chemicals and foul-smelling products because plastic has a tendency to absorb odors.
*Blue barrels are fine for storage in light.
*Siphon pumps are plastic and crack easily. Place in a safe spot.

“Culinary water (tap water) can be used for long-term storage. Guaranteeing that culinary water is bacteria-free is difficult. You do not need to treat culinary water at the time you store it. The time to treat your stored water is after you’ve stored it and just BEFORE you use it. Why? Purifying chemicals eventually wear out, and bacteria can begin to grow”. (Larry Barkdull, Emergency Essentials, page 20-21.)

These links give additional information:
Water Storage Guidelines - This is from providentliving.org. It has all the information about types of containers, pretreament and post-treatment methods.


goal 1(b) - water storage

Our first goal is WATER STORAGE.

You should have chosen a type of container(s) for water storage as well as a location(s).

Begin collecting or purchasing those containers.

This might be a one time purchase or especially in the case of pop bottles, an ongoing endeavor. Containers should be food-grade and clean. You can store an assortment of container sizes and put them in many different places. In an emergency, having a variety might give you some flexibility as you use your water.

Extra Credit:
A siphon pump and wrench (to open the seals) may be helpful for use with the large barrels. These run from $5 to $10. They are not necessary, just helpful. It's not very convenient to tip these barrels just to extract a little water. The siphon pump allows you to leave the barrels upright and move the water into smaller containers. I didn't have a specialized wrench for a long time and would just use the side of my hammer to open the seals.

See previous posts on water for sanitizing methods. (http://iprepared.blogspot.com/search/label/Water).


safely gathered in

This past week I stumbled across a great preparedness blog. Safely Gathered In is written by Hannah and Abs. They feature detailed food storage recipes with many instructional pictures which are helpful for anyone at any ability level. They have a lot of good food storage information and ideas for rotation. They also have ongoing goals. For example, right now they are working on 72-hour kits, specifically adding a shovel to your kits.

The blog has a nice warm feel to it. I felt like their links and lists were well organized and made sense. Today on the blog, Hannah shows pictures of the Aqua-Tainer water storage containers, which are apparently available at Walmart for around $8. Don't worry, they aren't trying to sell anything, which in my opinion, makes the blog even better.

Here is the link: http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/

Want to share a great preparedness blog? Send me a link and I'll check it out. Featured blogs need to have a specific home storage or preparedness emphasis. I try to stay away from any blogs that promote or sell items/services for which the blog owners make a profit.


water storage budget

How much should I budget for water storage?

Well that depends on the size of your family and which containers you choose to store. If supplies are not readily available and you have a low budget amount if might take awhile to acquire containers. With a $20 monthly storage budget, it could take as long as 5 months to save enough money to ship a 55-gallon bucket (which would almost be the minimum water for a family of four). In the meanwhile, it is relatively inexpensive to save, clean and refill pop bottles (approximately 28 bottles per person for a minimum of 14 gallons).

Here are some price examples:

5 gallon
$15 emergency essentials
$13 walton feed
$4 maceys
$30 walmart (4 gallon)

7 gallon
$8 - $11 @ walmart

55 gallon barrel
$39 maceys (these are rumored to still be this price, but I haven't verified)
$60 walton feed
$85 emergency essentials


water storage containers

Where can you find containers appropriate for water storage?

Pop/Soda bottles are readily available (some already filled with water) at grocery stores. Larger storage containers can be found at grocery, home, or super stores. Sometimes camping supply stores carry the smaller containers. Make sure you buy food-grade plastic for water storage. Blue is the universal indicator of water storage. Blue containers also inhibit light within the containers which helps reduce undesirable growth. Opaque is better than translucent, colored is better than clear. I don't promote or vouch for any outside internet sites. But I can point you towards some stores that carry and/or ship their products.

Here are some:
Emergency Essentials - Their products tend to be way overpriced, unless purchased with a group discount or on a great sale.
Walton Feed - Prices are more reasonable, but shipping can be expensive and slow (unless you are shipping with a group via truck). If you are making a trip to Montpelier, Idaho, you might be able to pick items up.
Maceys - Stores in Utah almost always have water storage containers on hand. They have sales once or twice a year.
WalMart - You might find water storage containers at WalMart.
Camping Supply Stores - Generally have the smaller containers.


goal 1(a) - water storage

As I look at the LDS guidelines, water storage seems to me to be the most important. You can go for quite a while without food, but even one day without water is debilitating. So our first goal is going to be water.

Our first goal is WATER STORAGE.

Determine which containers you will use to store your water. You also need to decide where you are going to store your water. I wanted to separate these two items, but you can't. Which containers you choose depends a lot upon where you have space to store your water.

Some possible containers: 55-gallon barrels, 7-gallon jugs, commercial water bottles, pop bottles.
Some possible locations: In your basement or garage, under your beds, above your kitchen cabinets, in a box at the bottom of a closet.

Don't store plastic milk jugs (or the portable water containers made out of the same plastic). I know from personal experience that they will eventually leak. Also, I wouldn't store water in glass containers because they are prone to breakage in many emergency situations. Don't store water next to chemicals that might leach into the storage. Ideal location of water: in a cool, dark, accessible location. We have our 55-gallon barrels out in our garage. It's not ideal, but it works for us.

How much? Start working towards 14 gallons per person as the minimum. That amount would provide ONLY drinking water for two weeks (one gallon per day).

Need some help figuring that out?
1 person: 14 gallons
2 people: 28 gallons
3 people: 42 gallons
4 people: 56 gallons
5 people: 70 gallons
6 people: 84 gallons
7 people: 98 gallons

If you are storing 2-liter pop/soda bottles, you'll need approximately 2 bottles per gallon requirement. In other words, one person will need 28 pop/soda bottles of water.

Extra Credit:
After you get a minimum of 14 gallons per person, and if you have room to store additional water, 28 gallons per person is a better amount (one gallon a day for drinking and one gallon for cleaning). Do you have room and motivation to do even more? Great, the more water, the better.

This link gives you all the previous posts on water storage.


where do i start?

We've done a pretty thorough review over the past month of the LDS guidelines on home storage. I know it can all feel really overwhelming. It was so much information for me, six years ago when I was determined to start working on storage, that I was basically paralyzed. My biggest piece of advice on this topic, is to START SMALL! There is a lot to be done, but the prophets have repeatedly said to do a little bit at a time.

"Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."—The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007, 1

"As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son." -- President Hinckley, The Times In Which We Live, Ensign, November 2001

"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. Begin in a small way, my brethren, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." -- President Hinckley, To Men of the Priesthood, Ensign, November 2002.


lds catalog

Did you know that you can purchase items for longer-term storage through the LDS catalog if you live in the USA or Puerto Rico? The Distribution Catalog has a category called Home Storage. There you can purchase the following items:

All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage.
Family Home Storage Pinto Beans
$36.75 USD
Family Home Storage Quick Oats
$23.25 USD
Family Home Storage Starter Kit
$34.25 USD
Family Home Storage Wheat
$30.50 USD
Family Home Storage White Rice
$43.50 USD
110 Volt Automatic Impulse Pouch Sealer
$350.00 USD
All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage Basic Recipes.
Dry-Pack Pouches. Foil pouches, case of 250
$94.00 USD
Oxygen Absorber Packets. Oxygen absorber, pkg. of 100
$12.00 USD

This is a great option if you can't find food storage supplies in your area. While our family lived back east, we were unable to find anything for food storage and had to ship it via truck from Idaho. This would have been a great option for us back then.