Favorite Emergency Essentials: Water the Element of Life

Emergency Drinking WaterWater is one of the basic needs of life and among the most important elements of survival. It is essential for numerous reasons. It is needed for hydration and people have to drink water regularly in order to replenish the loss of liquid in the body and to quench the thirst. Water storage is an emergency essential to surviving any disaster.

Water is vital to a human body. Purified water is needed for optimum health and it is used for other important activities such as bathing, cleaning and cooking. FEMA and other experts recommend at least a two-week supply of water and food for emergencies.  Keep in mind these are considered to be the minimum recommendations.  I always try to keep at least three months of food and water for my entire family including my pets.

Water can come from rain, stream or through other sources. Additionally, Water is brought into our homes through pipes from local water stations. As a society, we have become dependent and rely on the water coming from the pipes in our home.  This water supply will most likely be contaminated in a natural disaster.  An important fact, did you know that water in your home is dependent on electricity? The water at the local water treatment plants cannot filter the water without power.  Be prepared.

How much water is enough?

How much is enough? Well, that all depends on the size of your family.  A general rule of thumb; each family member will consume on average a full gallon of water a day.  Now you may be saying to yourself, I don’t drink a gallon of water per day.  This may be true and in fact most people only drink about ½ gallon of liquids per day.  This will include milk, juices, sodas etc.

However, keep in mind that in most disasters you will not have air conditioning, fresh air, sodas & juices will be luxury.  Additionally, you will use water to wash, clean & cook.  This all takes away from your on-hand water supply.  With these considerations in mind, keep one gallon of water per member of the household and include pets as a member as well. For example, for a family of three people and one dog or cat you will need at least 120 gallons of water for a 30-day supply, 240 gallons for a 60-day, and 360 gallons for a 90-day supply.  Wow, that’s a lot of water, but an essential element of life. Be prepared.

Water Storage


Homes can store water by using water storage tanks or containers. Some designs of water storage tanks can be used to collect rainwater. I personally use a rainwater collection system to collect water to use in case of emergencies for washing, cleaning, brushing teeth and general use.  I do not use it for drinking water.  There is nothing wrong with drinking rainwater if it is filtered to remove contaminants; I just prefer to use rainwater for general use. There are many rainwater collection systems on the market; however, this is the one I prefer:

Drinking Water

A clean, sterilized water container can be used for water storage. Containers made of thermoplastic have been invented for long-term water storage. Since ancient times, people have invented containers from different materials for the purpose for storing water. I personally rely on the Reliance Lifeguard 7-gallon container with built-in bacteria filter.

I have six of these containers on-hand filled with tap water. They provide 42 gallons of emergency water for my wife and me.  This will provide a 21-day supply of fresh water without the need to treat the water before consuming. I recycle the water in these containers every six months to keep the emergency supply fresh.

Additionally, I use two 55-gallon water storage barrels for long-term storage.  This water will need to be treated with a water preserver concentrate and can be stored for 5 years before recycling.  You can purchase 55 gallon barrels from Amazon using the link below.

Another element in my arsenal for water storage is personal water bottles with a built in water purifier.  I highly recommend the Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier.  Don’t accept imitations, the Berkey is the best.  It eliminates up to 99.9% of contaminates including Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and E-Coli.  I would purchase one of these for each family member.  In emergencies, only drink water from these bottles regardless of where the water came from, as you can never be too safe.  I always keep two of these in my bug out bag, as they are compact and light.

Emergency essentials such as Water, the element of life, should be at the top of your list when planning for disasters. A water storage container is one of the few important things that a family should purchase. Water storage containers are important for survival and a personal portable water purifier is perhaps the most needed item in a survival situation. Be prepared.

PS.  Let me know your thoughts, comments and questions in the comment box.  If you find my post useful please share using the buttons below.

By Rodney Butler

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