Emergency water preparedness is a popular topic for desert dwellers. How much water should you store? Where do you store it? How do you treat it? According to The Center for Disease Control, you should store at least one gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. And since we live in the desert, it’s probably a good idea to store even more! Water should be stored in food grade storage containers, and the containers should be washed and rinsed thoroughly before filling them with water.
To ensure your stored water is safe for human consumption, you can rotate it periodically, treat it, filter it, or a combination of all three. To maintain fresh water, you’ll need to check your storage periodically for taste, purity, and odor, and change it as needed. There are a number of factors that affect how long stored water will last, so do your research and check your water frequently to determine how often to rotate it.
Alternatively, if your emergency water has been sitting for an extended period of time, you’ll want to treat it before using it. Ready.gov recommends treating all water “of uncertain quality” before using it for drinking, food washing or preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice. There are many different ways to treat water, including boiling, chlorination, and distillation. There are also a number of water sanitation products available for purchase. Again, do your research to determine which water treatment method would work best for your household.
You may also want to consider a water filtration system. Water filtration comes in many forms and there are many products on the market to choose from. Backcountry water filters are relatively affordable and excellent at filtering out bacteria, protozoa, and particulate.
Water storage is a broad topic, and these are only a few suggestions to get you started in preparing your emergency water supply. Also remember that you have several sources of water already in your home that can be used in an emergency, such as your hot water heater, toilet tanks (don’t use water that contains colored disinfectant), water pipes, ice in the freezer, etc.