How much water should I store?
Store as much water as you feel is necessary. There is no magic number. I would recommend storing at least 2 gallons per person, per day. You will also need to consider your pets, livestock, etc. Also, water isn’t just used for drinking, it’s also used for cooking, hygiene and cleaning. Store enough water for all of those purposes plus plenty of extra.
The best way to get an idea of how much water you need to store is to take count of exactly how much water you use on a daily basis. How many times did you turn the faucet on? How much water did you drink? How much water did you use for cooking? How much water do your animals use? If you have a garden, how much water does that need?
Calculate it out and in an emergency or disaster, you may use less, but it’s always better to have more.
Where should I store water?
Contrary to popular belief, you can store water in hot areas, like a garage, shed, etc. You don’t have to just store them in a cool, dark place. Water won’t go bad quicker just because it’s in a warmer environment. All a warmer environment does is make the water warm. That’s it.
The only thing you need to be concerned with is keeping it out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight COULD melt the plastic to where it would leech harmful chemicals in the water. Even then, it would have to be in direct sunlight for a very long time in order for any harm to come to the water. And even if some chemicals from the plastic seep into the water, it wouldn’t be enough to cause real, immediate harm. Unless the water is contaminated with truly harmful chemicals such as gas, viruses or bacteria, then I wouldn’t be too concerned.
Anyway, it can be stored pretty much anywhere, just try to keep it out of direct sunlight. Also, if you live in a very cold region, I would suggest against storing them outdoors during the cold months to prevent the water from freezing. There’s nothing wrong with frozen water, besides the fact that it has to thaw before you can use it.
What if I need to go out and collect water?
There are a few ways that you can collect water. My favorite is rain water collection. Even though I live in TX and we tend not to get a ton of rain, especially during the summer, our rain barrel has still produced quite a lot of water in which we can purify and use for whatever our needs are.
If there are nearby water sources such as rivers or lakes, those are of course great resources, as long as they’re fresh water.
If you live in the city, you may need to purify the water a couple of different ways just to make sure there aren’t any residual chemicals or other harmful bacteria or viruses.
If it snows in your area, snow is a great resource for water. Melt the snow first and make sure you get it to a rolling boil to kill any bacteria or anything else.
Dew is also an option, though it usually results in very little water.
If you’re in the desert, you can dig down into the ground to find water.
If you live near the ocean, you’ll need to come up with a desalination process to remove the salt before consuming. There are water purifiers on the market that you can buy or you can try to do your own DIY version. You can also try digging a hole down into the sand behind the dunes to get fresh water.
There are many different ways to collect water. Always make sure you purify whatever water that you’ve collected.
How can I purify water?
There are lots of ways to purify water. Boiling is always effective and anyone can do it. You could get a home water purification system like a Berkey or you could rely upon purification tablets or bleach. Just be sure to follow the directions for whatever system you decide upon. My book goes into further details about the best ways to purify water.
Here are some videos for more ideas:
Should we ration our water?
It really depends. If things are looking desperate and you can’t collect water and don’t have a lot of water left in your storage then you may need to ration it. It also really depends on how active you are. The more active you are, the more water you’ll need and at that point I wouldn’t suggest rationing water. If you ever become dehydrated, don’t chug the water! Instead, sip it slowly until you are rehydrated. If you chug the water, it will most likely make you sick and vomit and that will just make things worse. This will be on a case-by-case basis, use your best judgement.