Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Emergency Water Storage

If there's anything I've learned while living here in Hawaii it's that nothing is reliable here.  Everything is on Hawaiian time. It takes longer to get mail here. Paperwork for school, work and everything else takes twice as long as it should. It's more difficult to get coupons here (a VERY big deal).  The grocery stores are often not stocked with the advertised sales. The stores are often not stocked with lots of things. It takes forever to get things fixed or replaced. Some of these problems are caused by geography and some of the problems are caused by people.  Either way in the face of an emergency these problems are only going to get worse. So I want to be prepared.

Today I am working on my water storage.  In Hawaii we are prone to hurricanes, tsunamis and flooding.  All three of these disasters damage and contaminate local water systems easily.  In other states we've lived in Emergency authorities have said that 3 days of water storage is a bare minimum.  Knowing how unreliable things can get and the potential for long term problems here the minimum is 2 weeks.

Emergency Officials recommend 4 liters of water per person per day so to meet the minimum you need four liters, per person, per day, for two weeks. Our minimum goal is 4liters x 6people x 7days x 2weeks =336 liters.  I will be using 2 liter bottles as my water storage vessel so I will divide my total by two to determine how many 2 liter bottles I will need. 168.

Yikes that's a lot of 2 liter bottles! Today I've only got 9 but I've gotta start somewhere. Afton and I started out by cutting the labels off the bottles.  This will help us to recognize that this is water storage and NOT soda.  It also leaves fewer spots for moisture to hide and start a mold colony (a very big problem here).

I choose to use 2 liter bottles because they are easy to get, easy to store and easy to use. I get my bottles when soda goes on sale--even here I can find 2 liters for less than a dollar a bottle fairly regularly--and when we are at parties or events where soda is being served I sometimes ask if I can "dispose of" the bottles for the hostess.

Once the label was cut off we thoroughly rinsed the interior and exterior of the bottles making sure there was no sticky soda residue on the outside to attract ants, nor on the inside to contaminate the water.

The next step is to fill the bottle with fresh water straight from our tap. I always fill the bottle with room temperature water so that I don't get condensation on the outside of the bottle.

After the bottle is full I put a few drops of Chlorine bleach in the water.  This will help to keep any bacteria from growing in the bottle.  This is an especially important step if you don't have a reliable water source.  Put up to 1/8 tsp of bleach in the 2 liter bottle.  I don't have a dropper so I just filled the bleach lid with bleach and then carefully dripped some into my bottles--much easier than balancing the whole bleach bottle for a couple drops.

Now I put the lids back on the 2 liter bottles and tightened them down.  Afton Dried off the bottles and checked for leaks. I always put the date on the lid and a big C, which stands for Chlorinated.  Supposedly you should rotate your water storage and put fresh water in your bottles every 6-12 months.  I have never rotated my water.  Instead I just figure I'll use the water that I bottled  most recently for cooking and drinking while using the older water for flushing and cleaning.

The very last, and most difficult, step in this quick process is finding a storage spot for the water bottles.  I have always kept our water storage under beds because it is out of sight and keeps the kids from stashing junk under their beds. To contain the water, and keep it from rolling out from under the bed,I am putting the bottles into these under-bed plastic storage bins that I already had on hand.  It fits 12 bottles: a one day supply.

Cora (in case you couldn't tell)

Afton (didn't know those eyes could get any bigger)

1 comment:

  1. Great idea.....I especially LOVE Afton's Navy lanyard. Go Navy!


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