Preparing for emergencies is a high priority task that most people tend to put off. In an attempt to make the emergency preparation project more manageable, I decided to break it up into small chunks. Because having enough water is so critical in an emergency, I elected to tackle the emergency water storage first. The whole process took about 1-2 hours (more or less depending on whether you have “little helpers” who can significantly slow down your progress). This is how I did it:
Step 1: Determine how much water you need.
Most experts recommend one gallon of water per person, per day for 14 days. So if you have 4 people in your family, you’ll need about 56 gallons of water in reserve.
Step 2: Buy your water storage system.
I did some research and decided to buy the Emergency Essentials 55-gallon water barrel combo that comes with a siphon and water treatment kit. The combo kit comes with everything that you will need to store water. I liked that the barrel is heavy duty and is BPA free. You can also buy the water barrel itself without the kit.
I also purchased a 7-gallon BPA free portable water container because I realized that in case we have to evacuate, we won’t be able to carry the giant, heavy water barrel with us. I order this grab-and-go portable container for that very purpose. You can refill this container by siphoning the water from the barrel into the container. I ordered everything from Amazon and it was shipped in two days.
Step 3: Find a place to store the water
Avoid storing your water in direct sunlight or directly on concrete. We decided to store the water in our garage. We placed the water barrel on top of a couple of 2×4 wood planks to keep it off of the concrete floor.
Step 4: Prepare the container for water storage
That just means cleaning and disinfecting the water barrel.
- Wash the inside of the barrel with a few drops of dishwashing soap and water. Rinse clean – we did this multiple times.
- Sanitize the barrel with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of unscented chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.
- Roll or shake the barrel to completely coat the inside. We had the kids help us roll the barrel around. They had a blast.
- Wait 30 seconds, then pour the bleach solution out of the barrel.
- Air dry the water barrel before use or rinse with treated drinking water already available.
Step 5: Place your water barrel in its storage location before you fill it with water
You might be tempted to fill the barrel somewhere other than where you plan to store it (like outside near a hose), but once it’s full it will be so heavy that you won’t be able to move it!
Step 6: Fill the water barrel
Using a drinking-safe water hose, fill the water barrel with tap water. If you’re using water treated by municipal sources, you won’t need any extra treatment. If you’re using well water, captured water, or other water from untreated sources, you have to use the Aquamira water treatment drops (follow the directions on the bottle) or add 2 tablespoons of fragrant-free liquid chlorine bleach to the 55 gallons of water.
Step 7: Save the instructions and write the date
Tape the instructions onto the barrel (in case you forget how to siphon the water) and write the date you filled the water.
Step 8: Empty and refill the water barrel annually
Set a reminder on your phone calendar or do it around a major holiday to help you remember.
Do you have your emergency water supply set up? For about $100 and an hour of time, you are protecting your family from loss of clean water if disaster strikes your community. Take the necessary steps now to store your emergency water supply.
Happy Chic Mom, a blog for moms
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