Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Easy Ways to Store More Water

So with Hurricane Irene come and gone, I've been focusing on preparedness more.  No, I have not seen the new special "Livin' for the Apocalypse" on TLC, but I'll let you know when I have ;)

The number one thing that I stockpile that gets the most comments is surprisingly water.  For me it makes perfect sense.  We've done a few plumbing repairs this year and having the water to flush toilets is priceless.  Just a reminder, the Canadian government suggests that all households should have 3 days of food and water on hand in case of emergencies.

Each household member needs to have about 2L of drinking water and 2L for cleaning each day.  So, you should budget about 4L (one gallon for Americans) per person.  When doing your calculations, you should include all pets and regular visitors too.

We have anywhere from 2 to 5 adults regularly in our home plus one cat.  I figure we need about 66L (5.5 people * 4L per person * 3 days).  This should really be the minimum.  Storing that amount of water can be challenge.  Here's how we've stored ours:

Disposable Water Bottles (15 L)
Pros -
- Easy to find in the stores. 
- They are easy tto carry and can be stored in your 72 hour bags. 
- Wait for a sale, they're usually heavily discounted.  We went through quite a few this summer and will be stocking up now that the sales are on. 
- The bottles are well sealed, so the water should be safe if stored away from other chemicals and opened before the expiry. 

Cons -
There is quite a bit of waste with this option, so choose a bottle with less plastic in the design, recycle your used bottles, and try to implement other reusable options in addition to these disposable bottles.

Camping Water Jug (20 L)
- This size is still easy for me to move around but still holds quite a bit of water
- Often come with a spigot for easy pouring

- Not available in all stores
- Reusable, so less waste
- Water will need to be rotated

Refilled Pop Bottles (31 L)
- Cheap.  These would have been going to the recycling, so instead I refilled them. 
- This type of plastic is sturdy and leaches low enough levels of chemicals to be safe for storing food and water. 
- Easy to port around

- May take a while to accumulate enough
- Water will need to be rotated

Even though the refilled bottles were filled with treated city water, I also keep bleech on hand for purification if there's any question about the safety of the water.  The bottles get checked and refilled regularly.  If you knew an emergency was coming, you could also fill up containers while you still had water: water bottles, pots, jugs, etc.

We have a large hot water tank in our home, but this would only be used in a worst case scenario.  Water stored in sinks and the bathtub would need to be purified before use and would also be a worst case scenario option.

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