There is nothing more frustrating that when there is a water service outage. And when the water outage is not planned, it is even more frustrating. At least when expected, the day before, you can fill some containers to have water for that next day. And what about those days when the service water have weird colors or odors or look rusty or muddy, and you don’t have a water filtration system and no water reserves.

The Crisis

Remember before a hurricane, where people go to the supermarkets and empty the water racks in just hours. Most people never prepare for a long-term crisis, maybe for three days. But in general, the majority of people lack preparation awareness and survivability knowledge. The vast majority of the population believes that in a crisis, they can depend on the government for full support. Plus, some don’t care and think that nothing wrong could ever happen to them.

The Golden Rule

Beginners on preparedness and survivalism know that one of the first basic rules to be learned is that the human being cannot live more than three days without drinking water (an average person). The human body is 75% H2O. A person who does not recover the lost fluids during strenuous conditions can suffer from dehydration, and this can lead the human body to begin to lose liquidity of the blood plasma. The vital organs begin to function with difficulties until causing death. It imperative that a person consumes 2 liters of water per day to stay hydrated. Water can also help to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells.

How Much Water Do I Need

Every family needs to have some water reserves at home, in case public water is not available for days. Your water reserve can be stored in different ways; it all depends on the space you have and your economy. First, we have to know how much water you need per day for consumption. 2 liters per person per day. A family of 5 people would need 10 liters. The imperial system; 1 gallon = 3.7 liters. So 10 liters / 3.7 = 2.7 gallons per day. Use this formula to find out the average daily consumption in your home. Plan your water reserves based on this formula. Examples: A family of 5 in a week needs 18.9 gallons of water. In one month, 81 gallons of water. When you decide to buy your water containers, always consider how and where you are going to store your reserves.

Water reserves

Buying Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water

Both methods must be combined, but it all depends, as I said before, on the budget and the available space for storage. A box of 16.9-ounce bottles of water carries approximately 40 bottles. For a family of 5 that equals 5.2 gallons, that is almost two days of drinking water. So ten boxes of water last you approximately 20 days of drinking water. This is a formula used to plan the quantity of water to buy and its duration. Bottled water has an average shelf life of 1 1/2 – 2 years. Bottled water needs to get stored in a cool, dark place. Exposing bottled water to direct light can create chemical changes and change the taste of water.

Tap water is just as safe to store. It should be stored only in plastic containers and preferably dark-colored and not transparent. Because there have been cases of contamination with used plastic containers, be sure to choose bottles or containers exclusively for use in food products (food grade) and that have the initials “free BPA” or made with “HDPE.”

Examples of Water Storage Containers (Most Used)

water reserves

The container is 5 gallons. It is a soft plastic, difficult to place one on top of the other. Semi-transparent, can change the taste of water if exposed to sunlight or heat.

6-gallon, Jerrycan. BPA free. Dark-colored container. Good for putting them in lines and taking advantage of limited floor space. Excellent option. Be-careful with the cheap version.

7-gallon container. BPA free. Dark-colored container. They can be placed one on another. Excellent choice

Water bricks, 3 to 10 gallons. BPA free. Dark-colored container. They can be put one on another.

55-gallon plastic container. One of the most used. Be aware; If you buy it second hand and used, make sure that it is exclusively food grade. New or used for long-term food storage, look for the symbol in the bottom “HDPE 2”. If it has an HDPE 1,4 or 5, it is suitable for food but not for extended storage—dollar to dollar, the best option for your water reserves. Try to stay away from the white-colored since light can go thru and could have algae build up.

Water reserves

Containers of 100 gallons or more. Lots of variety in sizes. An excellent option for storing potable water or non-potable, rain, or gray water. They take up a lot of space and can be expensive, but worth the investment.

Water reserves

Water Storage BOB is a sturdy plastic bag to hold up to 100 gallons of water in the tub. The water inside BOB is suitable for drinking and home use. A good option for those who have two bathtubs in the house.

Water reserves

Drinking water for emergencies. Packaged to last five years or more without needing to be purified. Perfect for bug-out bags.

Water Reserves Purification.

The tap water in reserve must be in a rotation of every six months. This water, when it is going to be changed, you are not going to waste it, but instead use it to wash clothes or in the garden. However, if the water passes the date of rotation and you need to use it because there is a crisis, you can still serve it as drinking water. Purify the water with chemicals.

Water reserves

Chlorine is an excellent option to purify the water that has been in reserve for six months or longer. With a dropper, you can add 8-16 drops for every gallon of water. You can double the dose if the water is cloudy. Mix the water well and let it sit for 30 minutes before being consumed. Please do not use the chlorine with fragrance, it’s not safe for consumption.

Water reserves

Water purification tablets work well for water purification during emergencies. Many brands guarantee to purify the water and kill many water-borne diseases; however, you should use the iodine-free only. While it’s useful in killing viruses and bacteria, iodine tablets are only moderately effective in killing giardia lamblia, according to the CDC, despite the manufacturer’s claims to the contrary. It’s also ineffective against cryptosporidium. The CDC also advises against consuming iodinated water for more than a few weeks. Pregnant women, those with a history of thyroid disease, and those allergic to iodine should not drink iodinated water. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Water reserves

Nowadays, you can buy water filtration bottles with replaceable filters. Many of these filters remove up to 99.9% of bacteria and protozoa. When you purchase these filters, be sure to read what’s the purification percentage is and what types of chemicals, bacteria, or parasites they can reduce or eliminate.


These are just a few different ways to start with your water reserves or expand your current reserve. Remember that water can go bad on long term storage unless you pay attention to the recommendations of what kind of containers to have and how to maintain a rotation of every six months if possible. Also, to have a plan B for when the rotation didn’t happen on time, and you need to use that water. So have some purifying chemicals just in case.

And remember…Always Prepared

Are you living close to the coast? Then check out this article – Desalinization of Seawater.

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