The next in the series of:
Water water everywhere, and I am guessing you know the rest; although swinging in my hammock on the bow of a large boat sounds OK. Essential to our well-being and even cognitive function, water is the cornerstone of life. Unfortunately, most of us wander around at any given time mostly dehydrated and unprepared for any sort of emergency. Having clean water available at home or while traveling could be the difference between surviving an unfortunate situation and becoming a victim. With just a few basic preparations you can mitigate the risk factors associated with an interruption of your water supply. See also:
You have about three days without water before your body starts to shut down and your begin taking damage. You don't even get to roll a D8, you just take the damage. Drinking dirty water can extend the period of time before hydration, but you will suffer. Suffering from unclean water is not a pleasant experience, most of us have had the "Rocky Mountains Trots", but nothing compares to a full on attack of dysentery that can ultimately lead to death. Now if you’re a world-famous pop star you can probably spray the canvas and make 1 million bucks, most of us aren’t that fortunate.
What to do? Store a bit of water and travel with a filter. The average person needs at least a half gallon of drinking water per day, people in hot environments and children will obviously need a bit more. We also require a bit more for hygiene and cooking. A good rule of thumb is to store 1 gallon per person, per day of expected need. At a minimum each of us should have a weeks worth of water on hand for the family. Two weeks is by far better, and six months is a good goal to shoot for. Realistically, you will probably never need six months worth of water supply, but if something does happen water is a valuable commodity that may help you trade for those items which you don’t have.
There are several ways to store that amount of water for a family of four, a simple 55-gallon barrel stores enough water for about 45 days. Bladders which can be placed underneath your bed or other furnishings and also hold anywhere from 50 to 100 gallons. Your water heater holds another 40 to 50 gallons and is easily accessible. Treating this water with a touch of chlorine extends the life and usefulness so that swapping water out once a year keeps your supply fresh.
If you happen to decide to reuse storage containers for water, 2 L plastic soft drink bottles work excellent. Plastic milk or fruit jugs and cardboard containers do not work well, both can lead to the growth of unwanted bacteria. Glass containers are typically heavy and bulky and break easily. Another benefit to 2 L soda containers is the ability to attach directly to a filter straw if water quality is in question.
*When I was much younger I would refill my mother's whiskey bottles with water. The action had little to do with water storage, but it was still a form of prepping for self preservation.
When filling water bottles be sure to thoroughly clean the bottles with soap and water and then rinse thoroughly so there is no residue. Sanitize the bottles with a teaspoon of chlorine bleach mixed with a ¼ gallon of hot water. Rinse thoroughly after sanitizing with clean water. Fill bottles to the top with regular tap water. If you are tap water is already chlorinated there is no need to do anything further if it is not adding two drops of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. Do not make the mistake of believing that over bleaching is a good idea.
*Remember the conversation about spraying the canvas? Your gut has loads of good bacteria necessary for good health that will get massacred if you ingest bleach. Limit bleach use.
Containers should always be tightly sealed with as little air as possible inside. Do not contaminate lids by touching the inside of them. Make sure that each container is dated for future reference. Storage should be in a dark cool place. Your storage location should also be easily accessible and out of the realm of risk given your area and possibility of natural disaster. Be sure to store the proper such as a bond wrench, pump, and other necessities you may need to access your water. Keeping a filter with your water is a good idea as well, just in case. You can use your no tie elastic shoe laces to attach tools to your water containers.
Keeping a few filters on hand also expands your water supply. Filters that can be placed in line with your home's city or well water supply can remove most if not all of the contamination. Travel filters such as camping pumps and filter straws can easily be used to filter water while on the go. These items are easily placed in day-packs and vehicles. The cost for most filtration is relatively inexpensive, $16. The Haggard water filter straws will filter up to 1500 L @.01 micron and last for a year after their initial use.
I typically keep a filter in my Dutch oven cooking kit along with my Dutch oven mitt, you never know what the water quality where you are headed my be like. I would rather relax in my hammock than worry about how my food will taste with the added local flavor. You should consider it, it makes a big difference. Hey, the straw filters make great Christmas gifts as well!
*Ya, I know - 12 days of Christmas and not one of them in November...