I’m going to start this blog with a story. Just for the sake of sharing so you can see how helpful a storage system can be. Humor me here. Two nights ago I was making spaghetti for dinner. I had forgotten to thaw anything else out—so of course I turn to the pantry for help. I start the spaghetti and find that I have only a half a jar of sauce in the fridge from last week’s pizza episode…now what? That won’t cover pasta for four people… (use your super hero theme song here) Da dum! Food Storage to the rescue!
In a flash I went to my food storage for canned diced tomatoes and spices. With a little bit of cooking (I added my leftover sauce to the pan) I had plenty of sauce for the pasta—and some left over even. It tasted great, was super cheap to make and stretched what I already had. PLUS—I live 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store and if you think for one minute I’m going to drag two kids to the store thirty minutes before dinner for a jar of spaghetti sauce, you’re crazy. Food storage saved the day!
Now for water…
Survivalists know that having an available water supply ranks higher on your priority list than food. We know that and we must make provision for our water supply. Probably one of the most difficult items to store just because of the amount of space it takes up, it can be a challenge.
As an estimate, you should have one gallon of water per person per day—this is only for drinking and cooking. Unless you want to stink estimate 3 gallons per person per day for basic hygiene and washing. Very basic. Just hit the high spots.
You can store water in a variety of containers. Just no plastic milk jug style bottles. The plastic in these will break down—causing your water to slowly leak away. Choose instead heavier plastics like juice bottles. You can buy water in these heavier bottles at lots of discount stores. You may also choose to buy larger storage containers for your water—JUST MAKE SURE THEY ARE FOOD GRADE AND HAVE ONLY HELD FOOD ITEMS IN THEM. Don’t buy containers from the hardware store –they aren’t guaranteed food safe and could leach chemicals into your water.
Rinse out your used juice, or other sturdy plastic containers and reuse them. It’s a good idea to rotate this stock of water annually if you don’t drink it, just to keep it fresh. One great fact about water: you can store it outside. Water is great for storing in a garden shed, garage or even a barn as long as it is well protected from light and damage. Light can cause water to break down—taking on a stale or off flavor. If you find this has happened to your water, just pour it back and forth between two bowls to add some air, and that will help.
I don’t have any plans of using my container water for washing clothes or bathing. That’s just for cooking and drinking. For the rest of my water needs, I like a rain barrel or other collection device attached to a downspout, or a pond is always a great option if there’s one close by.
So that brings up a great point…what about pond water? Well you don’t want to drink it straight…unless you like diarrhea. Instead, bring it home and boil for 5 minutes, then add regular household bleach (preferably less than a year old and not expired) to further clean it. See the chart below for information on how much bleach to add. Let it sit for thirty minutes before drinking and you should be good to go. Water can also be stored in sealed Mylar bags for up to two years without any rotation.