Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least one gallon per person, per day. Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can. If supplies run low, never ration water. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container, and do not open it until you need to use it. Additionally, store bottled water in the original sealed container, and observe the expiration or “use by” date. To conserve and minimize the use of bottled water, consider filling bathtubs with water prior to a natural hazard occurring. Such water can specifically be used for washing and flushing the toilet only.
If You Are Preparing Your Own Containers of Water…
It is recommended to purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage. If you decide to re-use storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles – not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. The reason is that milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers, because they are heavy and may break.
To store water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps: thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water. (Please note: water not commercially bottled should be replaced every six months)