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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Survival Water Storage

Whether you live in a region prone to natural disasters or if you are emergency survival preparedness minded, it is imperative that you store water for you and your family, BEFORE you think about storing food.
A human cannot survive without water for more than just a few days in a hot environment or at most maybe a week in a colder environment. That may seem unreal to some, but it is true.
The human body is about 60 percent water by weight. We normally get our water, H2O, from not only the beverages that we drink but also from the foods that we eat. We can live much longer without food, most doctors agree 4 to 6 weeks maximum.
This is why it is so important to build a water storage supply first, BEFORE you think about food storage.


Here is a very simple, economical, and practical way to build up a survival storage of safe drinking water.
First, obtain as many “food grade” five gallon buckets that fits the following formula.
One gallon of water per person per day. Survival water for one person for one month equals 30 gallons, or 6 five gallon buckets.


To be safe, the buckets should be food grade. You can find deals on quantity purchases of Food Grade five gallon buckets, which are usually white (not always), and will have an Icon on the bottom of the bucket that reads HDPE #2.
A very important clarification is that all food grade buckets are made of HDPE #2 (high density polyethylene) but not all HDPE #2 buckets are food grade. Buckets that are not food grade will out-gas and leach into the container, and whatever is in the container.
A side note, if storing food (not water) in five gallon buckets, you could use Mylar bag inserts, which allows you to use any type of five gallon bucket – food grade or not.


The lids need to be air tight and water tight to keep any little critters or particles out. A standard lid will work OK, especially if it has a gasket insert.
However, for tremendous convenience, I highly recommend a special type of lid, something that I have been using for all of my five gallon buckets, the Gamma Seal Screw Top Lid.
The Gamma Seal ring snaps on to the bucket and has a heavy duty O-ring gasket built in for a good air tight seal. The screw-in center of the lid easily spins in or out with little effort.
This is SO MUCH EASIER than prying off a standard lid, especially if accessed frequently for use or maintenance.


How to store water for an emergency

Clean and disinfect a five gallon bucket, ideally using a solution of 1 tablespoon of regular bleach added to one gallon of water to disinfect the surfaces. Dump out the excess.
Fill the five gallon bucket (food grade quality bucket) with tap water, leaving about one inch of space at the top.

Using a swimming pool water test kit, measure the chlorine level of the water in the bucket. It will probably measure about 1 ppm of chlorine (parts per million) if it was municipal tap water. Regions may vary.

An ideal chlorine level for water storage is about 2 or 3 ppm, so you will need to discover and add an appropriate amount of regular bleach to achieve this level.
My experience while using tap water of 1 ppm chlorine was to add 3 one-eighth teaspoons of regular bleach to the five gallon bucket. This brought the total chlorine level of five gallons of tap water up to 3 ppm. Once I discovered the correct amount, the rest was simple… fill the next bucket and add that amount of bleach, over and over until done.
It sounds complicated but it is not. If you use a simple pool test kit, it is really easy.
First, just add one-eighth teaspoon of bleach to the five gallon bucket, mix (stir), then measure the chlorine level (with a pool test kit). If the measurement is below 3 ppm, add  another one-eighth teaspoon, mix and stir, and measure again. Do this until you hit 2 or 3 ppm (don’t worry if it goes slightly over). Once you discover the total quantity needed, the rest is simple. Just add that same quantity to all subsequent buckets.


Seal the five gallon bucket. If using a Gamma Seal Screw Top Lid, be sure that you tighten the screw lid good and tight. Stack the buckets, ideally in a darkened environment, away from heat. Just be sure that the buckets are not exposed to direct sunlight for optimum results.
Now, don’t you feel better having some emergency water storage?

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