Add to Technorati Favorites
I would encourage you to do something every week to help with your personal preparedness. Learn something, buy something, teach something or do something. Doing a little each week will pay off .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Water, Water Anywhere?

Water! It is our lifeblood. It is so important I decided to put my water information in a post.
Storage of water is one of the simplest but most neglected areas of emergency preparedness. Many people store dried storage foods are dried such as powdered milk, beans, rice, etc. which required water for eating.
You can survive several days or even weeks without food, but only a very short time without water. A normally active person needs to consume 2 quarts of water each day to remain healthy. Activity increases that amount, which if you were in a crisis circumstance activity would be increased.
If you have pets you need to remember to include about a gallon a day per dog and a pint per day per cat.
Facts about water
One gallon of water weighs 8 lbs.
Water is more essential than food in sustaining life.
Many times when you feel hungry, it is because you are dehydrated. When you feel hungry between meals, have a glass of water before you grab something to eat.
Water helps your kidneys function better. In fact water cleanses all your vital organs. Your spinal cord needs water to cushion the bones, Water helps reduce headaches & helps regulate your blood pressure.
Many of the health problem Americans suffer are actually caused by dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated to some extent. Drink before you feel thirst.
Water is also a way to boost your immune system & help yourself stay healthy. It can lower your risk of major diseases. It also helps your skin & helps keep you looking younger longer.
After using water for dishes, bathing etc. water will be used for other purposes that be discussed later
How much water should I store?
According to the Red Cross and Civil defense, you need a minimum of 14 gallons per person for a 2 week period. That is enough for 1 gallon per person per day, which is bare minimum survival,
3 gallons needed for enough water for personal hygiene, doing dishes
4 gallons to have enough for more personal care, to wash clothing and minimal cleaning.
This breaks down as follows: (In parenthesis are per person needs)
Drinking- Seven gallons for drinking would give each person 8 cups per day for 2 weeks (½ gallon)
Food Preparation for a family of 6 will take about 1 1/2 gallon per day. (1 quart)
Washing Dishes - 1 ½ gallon per day (1 quart)
Personal Hygiene - Hygiene water is not optional! If you don't wash your hands you can spread diseases quickly. Tooth brushing water must be purified. Tooth brushing will take 1 cup per teeth brushing, not with running water. (brush 2 times minimum) Pour the water in the cup and swish from there. Hand washing would take absolute minimum of 2 cups. This would need to be purified too, your hands touch what goes into your mouth. Wash your hands 3 meals and 4 times going potty= 7 times minimum. (½ gallon)
Sanitation needs- you can flush your toilet with out running water, if you don’t have broken pipes. We will talk about sanitation in detail later on, but several people would have to use the bathroom before you used a 2 gallons to flush it. That would have to be a personal choice. For our purposes we will say 3 flushes per day = 6 gallons. (1 gallon) (You would need to use water from left over from dishes and washing hands.)
Bathing - Can be done via spit bath..each person uses 2 quarts water to get cleaned up with, starting with the top of the body and going to the feet... You would have to save up to wash hair. (Note this water does not have to be purified like drinking water.) (½ gallon)
A bathing side note: There are also solar showers that work well in the summer time. They come in several sizes. It takes several hours and you need a sunny day. You probably need more than one per family or there could be only one shower per day–they take anywhere from 2-5 gallons depending on the size. Also if you use minimum water–less than 2 inches you could take a bath. If water is really short, then more than one person can bathe in the same water, just adding a bit more hot water, and saving a bit of fresh for rinsing hair.
TOTAL for minimum’s listed above= 3 gallons per day. ( A little less with recycling)
If we were truly in a crisis situation , we would probably know after about a week that the water wasn’t coming back on, with this amount of water, we would hopefully have enough time to find more resources before it ran out.
This chart shows how much water you would need for a two weeks supply for 1-2-3-4-5-6 people.
(Babies would need more.)
1 gallon for each person per day
1 person - 1 gallon = 14 gallons
2 people - 2 gallons = 28 gallons
3 people - 3 gallons = 42 gallons
4 people -4 gallons = 56 gallons
5 people - 5 gallons = 70 gallons
6 people - 6 gallons = 84 gallons

2 gallons each per day
1 person - 2 gallons = 28 gallons
2 people - 4 gallons = 56 gallons
3 people - 6 gallons = 84 gallons
4 people - 8 gallons = 112 gallons
5 people - 10 gallons = 140 gallons
6 people - 12 gallons = 168 gallons
What is the shelf life of stored water?
Water must be stored in clean containers and out of sunlight. If stored properly water should have an indefinite shelf life. It is advised that you trade out your water every 6 to 12 months. (We do ours every Oct. Conf.)
After setting for a while water will taste flat. You will need to pour it between containers to aerate.

How can I store water?
You can get really creative with storage containers for water. You can store a lot of water without spending a lot of money on containers I have 100+ gallons in random containers. Here are a few ideas: one and two liter pop bottles, juice bottles, mouthwash bottles, V-8, punch, gatorade, pedialite bottles, etc. I always take pop bottles after parties at family, friends and church. Any bottles that come with food liquid in them (except oil) can be used. Be sure to wash well. (Once you get your water supply you can also use these to store, wheat, beans, popcorn etc. Your water is top priority for these.) You can acquire two-liter plastic bottles for nothing. If you currently buy soft drinks in cans, switch to plastic bottles and save the empties. They are easy to tuck in nooks and crannies all over your house. They make it easy to transfer water from your large storage source into other area’s.
As you empty your fruit jars, wash lids and fill bottles (these wouldn’t be sealed) back up with water to store on your shelf, when canning season arrives and you haven’t used the water you can empty and fill with fruit. Never leave a canning jar empty!
Milk and oil containers will continue to leach fat back into the water, no matter how much you wash them out. Milk containers are also designed to break down after 6 months
You can also store waters in barrels designated for water, coke barrels, food barrels, as long as the food doesn’t have fat in it. If you buy used containers to use for water storage, be sure and wash them out with Clorox water before filling them with your water.
Note from Clorox regarding use of Clorox bottles for storage - "Although our current label says not to use the Clorox bottle for storage of any liquid except Clorox, it is safe to use the bottle for the storage of water after the bottle has been rinsed out with water and proper procedures are followed. Rinsing the bottle before adding water will avoid getting too much or too little Clorox in the water for purifying. Too much would not be harmful, but it would cause the water to be distasteful.
Do not use metal containers
5 gallon plastic water containers are available at army surplus, sporting good stores, discount stores and preparedness stores.
When you fill up barrels be sure and use water safe hoses to fill them up
This will be discussed later but you can start now to use your dishwashing soap bottles, liquid laundry soap bottles & dishwashing soap, liquid soap bottles too. After you use it all up, don’t rinse it out. Fill with water and label it soapy water. That way you will have it to use for sanitation and not have to use precious drinking water Cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, personal hygiene, etc. will all be discussed in coming up weeks.

Where can I store water?
Water is bulky, but in smaller containers you can tuck here and there. I have water in the back of our corner bathroom cupboards, in the outer darkness corners of our kitchen cupboards, in the backs of closets and the corners of upper closet shelves. Behind beds and under beds. You can tie a piece of twine or rope around the neck of 2 liter containers, mount a 2x4 along storage walls and hook the liter bottles over nails on those boards. These can be run high next to the ceiling to use otherwise wasted space in storage areas.
Be sure and keep water out of sunlight and heat.

How do I treat water?
It is not necessary to treat water from a public water supply if it is already chlorinated.. Many public water supplies are already treated and should be free of harmful germs. (Ammon City chlorinates once a month, so you need to treat it, unless you get the chlorinating day! . Idaho Falls chlorinates. Comora Loma is untreated, I don’t know about the other subdivisions.)
Water from untested and untreated water supplies such as a private well or spring should be purified or treated before drinking or storage.
Clorox - Amounts according to civil defense guidelines. Double if water is cloudy. After adding proper dosage, stir and allow to stand about 30 minutes.
Quart - 2 drops
½ Gallon - 4 drops
1 Gallon - 16 drops
5 Gallons - 1 tsp
Boiling - Most water can be purified for drinking purposes by boiling it for 5 to 10 minutes. Bring it to a boil then start timing If your pot is covered it will shorten the time to reach a boil. This method is recognized as the safest treatment against bacteria and viruses. NOTE: This does not remove pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Sterilizing - Sterilized water may also be stored. To sterilize, boil water for 10 minutes and pout into hot sterilized jars, put on sterilized lids, or you can process bottles of water in a water bath. (Ten minutes for a quart jar.) Store in boxes with cardboard dividers or on shelves with a 1x2 board across the front of your shelves to prevent glass breakage in earthquake emergency
Purification Tablets - Tablets that release iodine may be used safely to purify drinking water. These can be found at drug and sporting good stores. Use tables according to instructions on the package. Usually one tablet is sufficient for one quart of water (double dosage if water is cloudy.)
Liquid Iodine - caution if you are pregnant, nursing or have thyroid problems do not use Iodine
Double if water is cloudy
Quart - 3 drops
½ gallon - 6 drops
Gallon - 12 drops
Filters - Most water filters will filter out bacteria and other chemical impurities and are used successfully by many people in places all over the world. They are generally designed so that pre treatment of the water by chemicals is not necessary/ But not all filters are the same and some may not work well on very small viruses. This is the reason for chemically treating the water before filtering. It adds an extra measure of safety. Portable water filers are available at most sporting goods store’s. You will need to research each filter to find which will meet your need.
Water Pouches or Water bottles - You can use these for 72 hour kits are storage. They are ready to drink and are minimal in cost.
Essentials of a water treatment kit
1 bottle Clorox (Clorox will loose it’s umph after about 18 months, so this needs to be rotated.)
1 tsp measure
1 medicine dropper
1 funnel
Coffee filters (these would be for filtering water with debris)
What other sources of liquid will count for liquid intake?
Water packed fruits and vegetables
Canned or bottled fruit juices. If they are concentrated, you need to plan on water to reconstitute.
Fresh fruits that are not contaminated
Do you know resources to get water from after a disaster has occurred?
Ice - Liquids in refrigerator or freezer such as milk, juices, ice, would be short term liquids to be used first.
Water Bed - Algae does grow in water beds so you need an algae inhibitor, make sure it is not poisonous to humans. This water should be used for flushing toilets or other uses rather than drinking.
Toilet Tanks - This holds 3-5 gallons, do not use for drinking.
Bath Tub - As soon as a disaster happens, if you are able fill your bathtubs and every container you have with water. If the water stays on, you can empty these out, if it doesn’t you will a extra to use.
Rain Barrel - In the event that a disaster created a long term problem, a barrel that you can use to collect water after rainstorms after your house would be priceless. Place under down spouts on home. Cover top with some type covering or oilcloth to keep leave, dirt, and critters out. Put a clean rock in the middle of the oil cloth to draw the water down. You could use to do laundry, water garden, flowers or purify to drink.
Hauling Water - In the event we were without water for an extended period of time, we would need to haul water. You would also need containers to haul the water. By this time water barrels would be empty so they could be used for this purpose. Especially in times of disaster assume any water not stored or purchased is contaminated. It could a crystal clear stream and still be polluted. Even spring water could be contaminated. If you the water you locate is brackish, first strain the debris thought a paper towel, clean cloth or coffee filter. Instructions follows.)
Water Heater (50 gallons each)
Turn of gas/electricity supply to tank.
Close the main water valve to your home
Turn off the inlet water valve at the top of the water heater.
Turn on the nearest faucet This will allow air to enter the hot water tank as you drain it.
Drain water into a container by opening the drain faucet at the bottom of the heater.
Never turn on the gas or electricity as long as the tank is empty.
Water in pipes of house
Shut off incoming water valve to prevent losing any of the water in your pipes and prevent contaminated water from entering if there are broken or contaminated lines.
Open the two highest faucets in your home (hot and cold) This will allow air into the piping system ans you remove water below.
Place a container under the lowest faucet in the house (a sink in the basement for example)
Open faucet to fill container.

Three Days Without Running Water Experiement
Several years ago there were about 8 families who lived for 72 hours without water, electricity, plumbing etc and used our food storage foods. and we lived to tell about it!!! We learned a lot!
Each family filled out an evaluation form. These are a few notes from those forms.
(The notes about sanitation uses, cooking and cleaning will be included when we get to that part.)
1 - Was your stored water ok to drink?
Some of the water was cloudy, it made me nervous to use it. We did purify some and we boiled other of it. Both of them were fine to use. But the water that was boiled after it had cooled tasted better. If you have to boil your water, you need fuel to do that, so it is better to just purify it right to begin with.
The water that had been siting for a while tasted flat, we used a couple of jars to pour back and forth between and then it was great! After doing this I will be better about rotating our water yearly.
We had a filter we used to put the water through, but then realized that the water we had stored was ok so we wouldn’t need the filter and needed to save it unless water had been contaminated.
Sometimes we weren’t real accurate about measuring the Clorox, so some of the water was stronger than others, we now measure the Clorox very carefully
2 - How was it only using one gallon per person per day?
At the end we were all ecstatic to turn on the water! What a blessing clear ready to use water is. We let everyone use the large pop bottles (2 quarts) for drinking and one bottle to use for everything else, washing faces, brushing teeth, spit baths, cooking and cleaning. It is not very much water!
We found it takes 1 gallon of water to do dishes for 6-10 people and about ½ (2 quarts) gallon to rinse. Times 3 meals is 3 gallons for washing and 1 ½ gallon for rinsing. The water when it was done was used to wash floors, etc. Paper plates were invaluable to help with water usage.
We also used Clorox in our rinsing water for dishes to keep them cleaner
Everyone used a cup of water to brush teeth and a cup each time we washed hands. We kept handwashing water to use for other things.
We had a lot of water containers that were empty, not sure where to put them after they had been used up.
In a crisis situation, we've either got to flush less or have more water. This was a real eye opener.

Assignment for this week:
Inventory the water in your house---How much do you have? How much do you need? What are your resources? What can you store water in and where?
Choose one day and let every person use just one gallon of water and see how far it goes. Then you can evaluate your personal circumstances to know how much water you think you should have.
By the end of one month try to have the minimum at least 14 gallons per person in your home. (Remember your water heater counts in this total.)
Stock up on two-liter soft drink bottles– Soft drink bottles have three outstanding features: they are cheap, they are convenient, and when filled, in a post disaster era they will make excellent barter items, In an emergency, people will gladly exchange food, fuel, or other valuable articles. for safe, clean water.
If anyone is interested we can see if we can find some used barrels. E-mail me privately if interested.
Again, practice how you'll wash hands, dishes, flush the toilet, etc. NOW when deciding how much to store and how long it will last. Getting a sponge bath, brushing teeth without running water, and so on are all skills that many of us are unfamiliar with.

Some of the strategies we've used would be useful in any emergency where water was at a premium.
1. Community water for bathing. If water is really short, then more than one person can bathe in the same water, just adding a bit more hot water, and saving a bit of fresh for rinsing hair. In the old days, everybody took a bath once a week on Saturday night in the same old wooden bathtub. 2. Don't empty the tub afterwards. Put a bucket in it and use it for flushing the toilet.
3. Save all grey water for watering plants. In the old days entire gardens were watered with this water. Water was taken from the top without disturbing the sediment that settled to the bottom. No noticeable damage to the plants.
4. When rinsing dishes, fill the largest with water, and rinse them all in that water. The idea is to get the stuck pieces off, so it really doesn't matter how dirty this water gets. Then wash by hand in clean water.
5. Water plants after dark, so evaporation is minimal. Water less often, but deeply. Both minimize the water needed and maximize the water available to the plant.
7. Hand wipes or antibacterial water less soap, cuts down on water needs.
8 Paper dishes would cut down for a short term emergency but not a long term situation.
9. Laundry you could postpone for a while if it is a short term emergency.
10.At some point if it is a long term problem we would have to build outhouses...will be discussed later.

Good old fashioned purifying water instructions: (This is definitely info for the binder!)
First, filter it. Filtering is important to remove the dirt and other debris that is in the water. Bacteria like to hang on to these things and they make it hard for any disinfectant to kill the bacteria. Start with a coarse filter (even a clean cloth) to get out the rocks and logs, then move to a finer filter. You can make a sand filter using a couple of five gallon buckets. Put holes in the bottom (big holes), then put in some rocks, that will hold the sand. Then put 6-8 inches of clean sand in on top of the rocks. You should have about 12" of open space at the top. Set this up over the second bucket (use the lid of the second bucket to set it on - with holes in the lid to match up with the top bucket). You can then put your water into the top of the first bucket and just let it filter through the sand. This is a slow sand filter and has been used for well over 150 years in many places to clean the water. It's pretty effective.
Finally, add chlorine (Clorox, etc.) to disinfect the water. Chlorine is not necessarily the best disinfectant, but it is cheap and can be stored easily. Clorox is good, but avoid the scented types. .
If you don’t have Clorox boil water for 10 minutes.

Personal Story
I have a new appreciation for water storage and I would like to tell, no, shout it out to everyone around me to make sure they have water stored!
The middle of July I mowed the lawn one very hot afternoon. I got dehydrated. I was obviously already dehydrated and this pushed it into a deeper level. . It took me about 8 weeks to not feel any of the effects of it. The recovery from this is long and slow . Besides physical problems, it really affected my nerves. It creates a panic inside and claustrophobia when you feel that way. It was all I could do to keep myself from full blown panic all the time. I can’t not imagine feeling what I felt and being in a crisis situation at the same time. I couldn’t swallow food without water, because I didn’t have any saliva. I was joyful the day it came back! I could spit! WOO HOO!
These are the foods you need to help you recover more quickly.
Gatorade (powered stores well--but you need water for rehydrate it!)
Yogurt (Yogurt starter is available, you need powdered milk and water for this),
Cottage cheese (you need rennet and powdered milk and water for this),
Apple juice
Ensure or meal replacement (powered is available--but you need water for this as well).
No hard foods for several days as it takes more water inside you to digest it.
I have lots of thoughts about this and we will have to have the help of the Lord in these matters. We have the Priesthood in our midst! I am so grateful for that. I know we can get water from rocks with Priesthood Power We need to make sure we have stored water enough to last us until we get to our rocks.

1 comment:

rosarychaplet said...

Hi. I just discovered your blog. Great information. I try to practice minimal water baths. I recently took a one inch water bath in my tub. I washed and rinsed using the same water. I have also practiced the spit shine bath. From head start preschool I learned to brush my teeth with a VERY minimal amount of toothpaste. This means less water to use to rinse. Another option? Rinse w mouthwash. I used a one liter bottle of water to wash my hands, face and brush my teeth. In the sink I put the stopper on. I pour water from my bottle to my li'l Dixie cup. Whatever water was poured out to rinse my hands were caught in the sink for a 2nd rinse after lathering.