Mar 29 2018

How Much Water Should A Prepper Store Before The SHTF

How Much Water Should A Prepper Store Before The SHTF

When the SHTF and an emergency hits us all, life as we know it is going to change, fast. One of the biggest concerns will be drinking water. Its availability and quality will become reduced, very quickly.
Which leaves us with the big question of "How much water should a prepper store before the SHTF?"

During the London riots we watched as mindless idiots went on the rampage, looting and stealing anything they could lay their hands on, and they weren't even hungry or thirsty..!!
Just imagine if they were.....

Without food or water, people are going to get rather crazy, rather fast, and before you know it a full blown emergency is right there on your doorstep.
Very bad things can happen, and these things are guaranteed to disrupt the way you live. 

There's many scenarios that could stop the flow of water from your taps:
From something as simple as a pipe fracture, to the more serious, electrical grid down, causing storage treatment and pumping plants to simply shut down.
It's not difficult to image your fresh water supply becoming contaminated with anything from e.Coli to a diesel spill, meaning you could be without water for weeks or longer, until it can be cleaned, tested and confirmed safe to drink again.

So, could this really happen - dam right it could - it has already, with contaminated water. But if the SHTF and water stopped flowing, what are you going to do?
Bottled water would be no existent, as people panic buy and strip the shelves bear almost instantly.
As a prepper you've always thought about storing water, You may have been a little apprehensive and reluctant at having to store such a simple, seemingly endless resource, But regardless of that, you have made a start, and begin to store a supply of water, just in case.

But the big question is: How much water do you need?.

How Much Water Should I store?

The main source of worldwide information and guidance on water requirements is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, America.
They recommend ONE GALLON OF WATER per person, per day. (4.5ltrs/person/day))
They also recommend that, in an emergency situation, you try to drink at least half a gallon of water each day – and even more than that if you live in a hot climate or it's mid summer, if you are sick, pregnant, or a child.
We can then use the other half gallon for hygiene sanitation and cooking.

Not only that, you nay have pets as well.
Although most animals are more than capable of drinking from any old puddle or water source without harm.

But you should still remember to store extra water for then as well. Remember, they’re part of the family, too and can provide a means of safety for your family.

So look to store an additional gallon of water for each pet, per week.. 

I disagree With The 1 Gallon Per Person rule

Personally, I actually disagree with the CDCP's recommendations..!
The reasons are simple: As preppers we prioritise our resources, meaning water is pretty much the No:1 resource and most essential item we require to survive.
That being said I would greatly reduce its usage for things like washing or sanitation. I realise this could have health implication, but it really is not big deal going without a wash for a couple of days.
When your out bugout practice in the woods, this is common practice.

So How Many Days Worth Of Water Should I Store?

Going by the CDPC's recommends:  An absolute bare minimum of stored water should be for three day’s. Then multiply that minimum figure by the number of people in your family or household, giving family of four, at the very least, 12 gallons of water stored water.
That's your bare minimum, and is only really enough for a slight problem that may occur.

In a disaster situation, where emergency services are hard stretched to help out, then you need to go for a two week store. This should enable you to ride out that emergency until rescue arrives.

Typically, the massive floods we experienced here in the UK all over the Worcestershire and Northamptonshire area, back in 2012, highlighted the importance of drinking water.
In these cases people were cut off for weeks without drinkable water.

Again, with a family of four, it works out that you need to be storing a minimum 56 gallons of water, for a two week period.

Seems a lot eh..!!
Which begs the question: "Where the hell do I store that amount of water?”
Good question. 56 gallons of water is a fair amount after all. Is it possible?

Here's what I suggest......

  • My personal view is that figure could be extended, comfortably to 3x that figure.
    Giving a total of around 56 gallons (254ltrs) lasting a family of 4 for six weeks, and remember, there's always the famous 'wet wipes wash' if things get a bit smelly..!!

Various Ways To Store Water

When you stop and think about it, there are actually quite a few different ways to store your essential water.
Obviously it is very 'space dependent', and if you are limited on you living space anyway, then pilling up more stock, and especially bulky water bottles,  can be a problem.
After all you need space for any emergency food preps you have stored away as well..!

With limited storage, I would start with the smaller 24 case bottles.
These don’t take up much storage space, and you can begin by getting a few cases of water from most stores.

They are easy to store, or stack in a corner, or even under your bed. Making them ideal in a confimed space.

As well as small bottled water, theses also the emergency canned water route, again quite space saving.

For those on a tight budget, you can also use empty bottles that have a saleable cap. These can then be re-filled up enabling you to store your water in as well.
* these must be thoroughly cleaned  and washed out first though, and also worth adding a water purification tablet as well.

If you are able to find more storage room, I sugest using the larger 15 ltr water cooler bottles.
To get a total of 56 gal (250ltr) you would need 17 bottles, which, if stacked properly would only take up a small space in a garage or spare room.

  • Never store any food or water supplies in a loft space - the higher temperatures will reduce shelf life considerably, as well as potentially spoiling the goods. 

These type of water containers are also very handy, making perfect larger storage for a vehicle bugout situation.
Any bigger than this would probably be too difficult to move around, which is something to consider with water storage.

If you go with the larger 15 gallon or even the 55 gallon water barrels it will mean they stay where they are put, as they are very heavy and difficult to move around, plus storing water in this way will need monitoring and treatment to ensure it stays fresh.

Unless you are very sure of your safety in hunkering down and bugging in, I would go for the 15ltr bottles every time.
A rack system is ideal for good storage and, of course for stock rotation, something that is most important to get the best from your supplies.

They can be moved around easily and are far more practical and manageable. 

Steve Hart UK Prepper

Of course you don't have to follow my recommendations. I base them on my experience on wild camping and the like, where I have a litre of water per day for drinking and cooking.
It works fine for me...

It is also very impracticable for me to store masses of water at home.

Along with water storage, I highly recommend having several water filtration filter bottles.
They give instant, clean, safe drinking water from any old puddle or stream, and are a very useful, all round bit of kit.

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5 comments

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    • Phillip Singleton on July 16, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply

    The gallon referred to is the US gallon of 3.785 litres,so we here will get extra if we go with the gallon recommendation.However I agree with the author that you probably won’t require quite so much.

    • Lee on June 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm
    • Reply

    Hi there,

    don’t forget that we all have a tank of water in our dwellings, normally in the loft. Find out where the shut off valve is so that you can stop any contaminated water entering this source once the SHTF. I f nothing else this water can be used for sanitation purposes.

      • Neil on July 27, 2018 at 8:33 pm
      • Reply

      We don’t all have a water tank in the loft, or anywhere else in the dwelling in the UK. In fact with the advent of the combi boiler, less and less of us do.

    • George J McCue on May 26, 2018 at 11:38 am
    • Reply

    Thank you for this website . You have given me lots
    to do and prepare for.

    • Michael Dawes on April 15, 2018 at 8:08 pm
    • Reply

    Keep on doing what your doing

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