Safe Water Storage
Safe Water Storage
For emergency disaster preparedness, one of the most important aspects that should always be planned ahead pertains to safe water storage. Oftentimes, we take water for granted thinking it is a widely available resource that can be easily replenished by turning the tap. However, in emergency and disaster situations, the absence of water may be enough to turn an uncomfortable situation into a dire one. Thus, embracing the principles of safe water storage is an essential step towards thorough disaster preparedness planning and one that should be ingrained in households all over the world.
When planning out your safe water storage strategy, here are some of the most important things to remember. Try not to compromise on these tips and considerations if you truly intend to have a source of clean and potable water in the midst of an unexpected emergency.
Federal emergency organizations recommend the use of plastic containers over metal ones. Metal containers tend to corrode over time contaminating the water, especially when stored for an extended period. Purchase plastic containers specifically designed for water storage and wash those containers prior to filling them with water. It is a good idea to fill and then smell the water to check for unwanted scents prior to making the final fill for storage.
The size of the containers should be sufficient to provide the needed volume for the family during the whole period of the emergency. For potable water, federal agencies recommend storing a gallon of water per person per day for the whole period that the emergency is expected to last. As a sample calculation; if you are living in a household of 5 and the emergency is expected to cut off the water supply for up to a week, the expected storage volume of the water should be 5 x 1 x 7 = 35 gallons of potable water.
The rain water that is harvested and stored is not typically used for drinking. This is because the rain water can be contaminated by pollutants. However, it can be used for this purpose. A filtering system (ultra violet filtration, reverse osmosis) can be added to the rain harvesting system so that the water that gets to the storage facility is potable. There are also some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of rain water contamination.
The roof or catchment area should be kept clean. Painting the roof should be avoided as majority of paints contain toxic substances that will contaminate the water. When the rainy season is anticipated, the rain water storage tank should be cleaned thoroughly.
Rain water storage is quite commonly practiced in India, Africa and other less developed nations. However, this practice is catching on in the developed world and specifically in the United States.
Rain water storage also has the added benefit of being a water conservation method. If the rain water is not stored, it will simply go to waste.
Though our website is mainly geared towards emergency water purification methods, we do like to add related information such as this article on rain water storage. One reason we are doing this is that if you harvest and store rainwater you will always have a good supply even in a disaster situation.