Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Much Water?

So go ahead and check for yourself...  Google how much water to store or visit your favorite prepping website and look it up for yourself.  Undoubtedly you will find the same answer everywhere you look, two quarts per person per day for drinking plus two quarts per person per day for cooking and washing.  At the time of writing this post the temperature is 30°with a humidex of 36°.  My 2 quarts of drinking water is long gone.  Given extreme weater conditions, or your regional climate, the suggested amount of drinking water just won't cut it.  In summertime, you sweat more and therefor need more water.  On theother hand in winter, our food preferences will turn more to soups and stews than sanwiches and salads.  Either way, think of how much water you are likely to consume.  4 quarts may be a more realistic target for drinking purposes rather than a daily total for everything.  That means that a 55 gallon barrel of water would last a familly of four a mere 12 days and not the expected 24. so for a familly of four, a 30 day supply of drinking water would equate to 480 quarts or just over 2 55 gallon drums.  Sound like a lot to store up in a closet?  Well it is.not to mention a rotation schedule to keep it fresh and the weight of that volume of water.  Don't be fooled by what the "experts" are recomending.  Many of these recomendations are only minimums required to sustain life.  On a day like today, going about your daily business, a minimum is not going to be enough.  You could quickly find yourself dehydrated and in a life threatening situation.  Think then of the extra activities performed during a crisis situation.  Instead of driving or taking a bus, you may have to commute on foot or by bicycle.  Without the modern conveniences that we now enjoy, your calorie intake goes up and with it, your need for hydration.  Be smart and find a way to collect water as you go along as well as storing a supply.  Here in Canada, we enjoy a liberal amount of free water for much of the year as snow.  Even the west coast gets an abundance of rainfall during the cooler months.  A rain barrel should be a big priority for you as well as a way to purify the water you collect.  The amount of bacteria in rain water collected from your roof may surprise you.  Have a means of boiling the water AND some regular chlorine bleach put aside for purification.  2 drops per quart is enough to kill what might make you sick and will not too adversly affect the taste.  A good idea would be to have some drink mix such as iced tea crystals on hand to help mask any odor or flavor you might notice.  Don't get me as much water as you can, especially in a container size you can easily bug out with.  Rotate it regularly to keep it fresh and keep it handy in case you have to get out of Dodge, but plan to gather water to keep a supply going when things get rough.


  1. Don't have barrel storage yet but do plan on it. Rain barrel/s outside and at least one inside plus two 40 gal water heaters. Have a large basement so storage is no problem. Have been putting a few cases of water and a few 5 gal water cooler bottles away and drink a lot of cranberry and other juices. Take those plastic bottles and rinse well and then fill with water and soap and let sit for a day or two and then rinse well and then fill with water and about 2 ounces of a 25% chlorine solution and let soak for another day or two and then empty and refill with water. I find this easier than trying to put a couple of drops of full bleach in the bottle. With already treated water there is enough bleach left for the rinse sol for long term storage. I now have about 80 1.89 liter bottles for storage. I just fill them up instead of throwing them out and the storage just grows. I date the bottles and will start refilling at about a year, since I am constantly doing this every week when I have to refresh I only have to do a few each week to keep fresh. Two of those is is a gallon and they are easy to move and pack in a bug out situation. Also have different ways to boil water and have a couple of berkey filters also so I think I am in good shape. Do want to get a couple of small 5 or 6 qt pressure cookers so if have to cook beans can do so in 10 min with a lot less fuel.

  2. Water usage for drinking also largely depends on diet, a diet high in fresh vegetables and fruit will require less water but in a SHTF situation we are more likely to be eating heavily prepared foods, and a lot of it dehydrated, so water consumption definitely goes up. If you normally drink 2 litres (8 cups, not a lot!) of water a day you will likely find a 50% increase when eating from survival prep foods.

  3. Agreed.

    Some Sites I've seen recommend 2 litres of water per day, per person. Looking at my own personal consumption of fluids, I'd recommend no less then 4 Litres or 1 Gallon per person, per day.

    The storage of this volume of water will be a challenge especially for long term outages but with diverse sources such as Rain Barrels, Water Heaters, and commercially bottled water, this should be doable for most people, at least in the short term.