The human body is 65 percent water. Water is essential to life as we know it. Water carries nutrients and hormone through the body, regulates body temperature, lubricates our eyes, and cushions joints. After 1 to 2 day without water, the brain literally starts to shrink. Researchers found that the same task will take a dehydrated person twice as long to complete as a hydrated person. After 3 to 5 days without water, organs and brain functions will shut down.
Water storage should be a part of everyone's emergency preparation. During a disaster, water lines easily can be interrupted or damaged. You might not have access to clean drinking water for several days. Authorities recommend having enough water for at least 72 hours. However, some areas remain out of water for 4 to 5 days, and others even longer.
As a general rule of thumb store 1 gallon per person per day. For example, a family of four would need 120 gallons for one month. Keep in mind children or nursing mother might require more water. More water will be necessary for warmer climates. Water needs can double in extreme heat.
Don't forget your fur family when stockpiling water for a disaster. A healthy dog should drink about 1 ounce per pound of body weight. My 42 lbs Border Collie mix would need about 1/2 of a gallon per day. Cats, on the other hand, get most of their water through their food, but they still need 2-3 ounces of water per day. My family of 5, plus two dogs and cat would need about 21 gallons of clean water for 72 hours.
Daily Water Use
- 1 Gallon per person
- 1 Ounce per pound of dog
- 2-3 Ounces per cat
Store water in various sized containers. It will be extremely difficult to move a large 55-gallon drum during an evacuation. Bottled water is easy to carry. You will need 8 16.9 oz water bottles per person per day. My family would need about 56 bottles of water per day.
3 Day Water Supply Containers
- 4.6 water bottle cases (36 16.9 oz water bottles per case)
- 21-gallon jugs
- 12 2.5-gallon rectangular jugs
- Don't ration water unless told to by authorities. Drink what you need. Limit your water needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
- Don't drink soda, coffee, or alcohol. Caffeine and carbonation will increase your water needs.
- Avoid cloudy or questionable water. Drink the water you know is clean first. Treat the questionable water if possible. Don't become dehydrated, drink the questionable water if there are no other options.