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Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center








Water Storage Containers

During those times of emergency one of the crucial things our bodies need for survival is water and we can't live long without it.  You figure that an normal use of water for one person is 140 gallons of water per day for drinking, bathing, laundry, dishes, watering lawns, etc.  But for subsidence purposes you would need 2 quarts for drinking and 2 quarts for cleaning and bathing purposes a day.  That is a big difference and not a lot of water.  The more water storage containers you can have the better your situation will be.  Fourteen gallons of water per person is the suggested amount to store for a 2 week emergency situation but  to have more would never hurt. If you have the room to store more you probably will want to do so. For traveling, if necessary you might want to consider getting also hydration backpacks.

The easiest way to store the bulk of your water is in 55 gallon, polyethylene (plastic) water drums. These can be obtained from most food storage companies or from local container companies found in the yellow pages. It is important that you use only food grade, good quality containers. Many times you can get food grade containers from companies that distribute beverages or syrups. If you clean them well, they can provide a good water container that costs considerably less. One word of caution, however, often the taste or odor of the previous contents has leached into the plastic and over time may reintroduced to your water. If you plan to use previously used containers make sure that what it had in it before is something you wouldn't mind tasting or smelling in your water. To economize many people are tempted to use empty milk jugs, but don't plan to store water in these for more than 4 months. They are biodegradable and will break down within 6 months. Not only may you loose your water, but if they are stored near food or other items, they may damage them.

Most water container tanks come in 5 gallon, 15 gallon or 55 gallon sizes. A suggestion is that a family stores between two and six of these smaller water containers along with their 55 gal. drums. This is a prudent suggestion in situations where you might need to transport water, in the normal course of events or in a situation where your normal water source might be disrupted, such as after an earthquake, hurricane, etc., and you might have to go to a secondary water source such as a water truck, stream, etc. to refill. Water weighs approximately 8 lbs. per gallon. Fifty five gallon drums are much too heavy to handle (440 lbs.) and awkward. Smaller water containers don't hold enough water and would require too many trips, especially if you have to go on foot. Five 15 gallon water containers are more practical and can easily be put into a wheelbarrow or child's wagon and wheeled to and from an area. Two liter pop bottles make a good water container for additional water storage and cost nothing if you save them and fill them with water as you empty them. Heavy water containers should always be stored close to ground level and secured to prevent breakage or possible injury in the event of earthquake, etc. Be sure to store your water containers away from any harmful chemicals or objectionable smelling products.




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