Without a doubt, the most important aspect of your emergency preparation is water. Think about it. If you and your family are faced with any emergency situation which endures for longer than a few hours, water will become essential. While we may hope to remain in our homes (with running water available) during an emergency, history has shown that this is something we should never count on.
Hurricane Katrina or Andrew survivors came to understand how important water was during the crisis, where bottled water meant the difference between life and death to many of these people. For instance, the Louisiana National Guard had delivered three truckloads of water to the Superdome alone (enough to supply 15,000 people for three days). Unfortunately, there were thousands more people at the Convention Center and airport as well with little to no water.
In order to determine the appropriate emergency water storage plan for you and your family, one should recognize the four primary uses of water:
Of course, of these four, drinking is the most essential. But all are important. Each of these uses should be considered when planning for and storing water (and applicable supplies). In order to formulate your own water storage plans, it may be helpful to answer the following question: If there was an interruption in water service in your home, how much water would you and your family need per day in order to survive? (See the chart given below.) How will you store that amount of water in your home? (This is, of course, assuming that you will be able to remain in your home during the emergency).
A few primary items that should be considered when planning for water storage are:
- Plastic water containers of various sizes (from quart size to 50 gallon barrels)
- Items that could be used for water storage inside your home (such as bathtubs, water heaters, or wastebaskets lined with plastic bags)
- Water bladders (such as those placed in a pack)
- Water filtration systems (from small personal size to large group size)
Note – Average Water Usage: It can be fairly astounding to realize just how much water we utilize. An average person uses up to 100 gallons of water every day. Some of the most basic activities during which water is used are:
Activity Water Used
Shower 15-30 Gallons
Brushing teeth (water running) 5-10 Gallons
Shaving (water running) 5-10 Gallons
Washing dishes by hand 5-10 gallons
Washing dishes in dishwasher 9-12 Gallons
Flushing toilet (per flush) 5-7 Gallons