Short term needs:
1 U.S. gallon [4 litres] per person/per day. Multiply by 14.
This is the basic amount of water one should have on hand for the short-term emergencies at all times.
That amount takes care of drinking water,
water-based beverages like coffee and juice,
water for personal hygiene that contacts your mouth
and any water needed for cooking meals.
Because the containers you would put tap water in will not be sanitized, the preference here is to bottled water.
If you have a method of filtering the water, then bottling your own tap water is perfectly fine.
If you have the space, consider bottling extra water for flushing toilets especially if you live in an area with frequent power outages in storms.
Long term Water Needs
For extended periods when electricity is not available to operate water pumps, one must have a backup plan to acquire water and purify it. If you are fortunate to have a nearby spring or artesian well then your water needs have been answered.
Water as an appetite suppressant: Drink two glasses of water about 30 minutes before meal time to help reduce your appetite and allow you to consume less food thereby extending your food rations.
For drinking and cooking water… If you are drawing water from a spring then the water may be potable straight out of the ground…but in all other cases, boiling or heating the water to 165F is not enough to purify it.
Heating water to 165F for 10 minutes, will kill all living organisms. Unfortunately, heating the water, in of its own, does not make it safe to drink as it does not remove contaminants such as minerals, oils, toxins, etc that could have polluted the water and that may be toxic.
To properly purify water, there are a couple options:
1. Filter the water.
There are manufacturers like Berkey and LifeStraw who make water filters that remove pathogens, bacteria AND contaminants. Berkey is made of steel; Lifestraw is made of plastic. If you are at a permanent location, then something like a Berkey makes sense. If you are on the move, LifeStraw is more portable. P.S. This document is not an endorsement for any specific vendor. Products listed are to help in your research for your needs. http://www.berkeywaterfilters.com/bigberkey.html http://www.buylifestraw.com/
2. If either of the above is not a solution, then charcoal, cotton [t-shirts, cheesecloth], etc...method could be attempted to filter water…though its more crude and likely needs repeated cycles…filter, boil, filter, boil… to get contaminants out. Its success as a drinking water source depends on many factors and is not as reliable as the previous method. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-purify-your-water/?ALLSTEPS
Look around where you live. Where does water go when it rains? Is there heavy dew in the evening? Does it rain frequently? Do you have rain gutters?
Now that you have looked, what method would allow you to catch water?
Here are some suggestions: –
clean containers to catch rain water from your eaves and roof top. –
Clean tarps / plastic laid on the ground to catch the dew. –
Clean tarps / plastic laid on a slope whisking rainfall into a gutter or through the bottom end that drains into a container –
Filling water jugs at a nearby lake or water course. – Melting snow in a pot on a woodstove, or in a warm space. P.S. Do not eat snow as a source to quench thirst. Melt it first. Snow dehydrates you and lowers your core body temperature. –
Well with a hand pump where you can draw water manually.
Depending on where you are located, other options may be available. If necessary, be creative.
Water Purification Tablets:
For emergency situation, when boiling water is not possible or for added security, water purification tablets can help. The better-known tablets take care of any harmful living organisms. Any toxins or metals present in the water are not neutralized or removed with water purification tablets.
To remove toxins and contaminants, filter the water through a coffee filter or cotton (t-shirt). You may need to do this a few times. If the water is clear, you may skip the additional filtration step.