We can survive on a lot less than we think we can. Water, though, is a necessity. Begin by thinking about your water situation: I’ve read that a gallon a person per day is enough. That might be enough for drinking and surviving, but it isn’t enough for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and hygiene needs. So, start with a gallon per person per day, but keep in mind, you will eventually want other sources as well.
So, for a 72 hr emergency kit, you would need at least 3 gallons per person of safe, dependable drinking water. Start with getting enough for your family for ONE day and work up to 3 or more.
Container Tips: Thick, clear plastic water jugs work well and do not deteriorate like the milk jug type. Milk-jug type water containers break down over time and may leak out and ruin things. Smaller quart size water bottles might work better for putting in back packs, etc.
Walmart and hardware stores will often sell water jugs in camping sections or near the same area where gas cans are displayed. Gas cans are red. Water cans are usually blue or white and usually are 2, 3, or 5 gallon size. The larger cans are great for storing more water for longer than 72 hrs or for washing and hygiene uses.
Two problems we’ve had with these blue and/or white large water containers: We had no problem with them leaking when stored indoors or in the garage. But, stored outdoors, the sun and weather broke them down over a year or so and they ended up cracking, and being useless. So, they will need protection from the elements to stay secure.
A certain type of square water jug has a spigot that when stored in it leaves an open back end of the spout exposed on the top of the jug. This just collects dirt and may compromise the integrity of the water. Take care to experiment a little with the jug before you buy it and make sure it will actually be airtight.
Bleach containers: To use or not to use: Bleach gallon jugs are actually made of very strong material and will last well. BUT, we don’t want our children getting confused and accidentally drinking or using bleach like water. My solution: After ALL THE BLEACH IS GONE and it just smells like bleach but the bleach is gone, I fill it with water. The left over chlorine will not be enough to harm and can keep nasty things from growing in it. Then I TAKE OFF THE LABEL and I write H2O on it with a permanent marker. So my water storage in these containers says H2O FOR CLEANING ONLY on it. I wouldn’t trust drinking this water, but it will store long and well for other uses. Also, children who are not old enough to understand the symbol will not know it means water. I have had no incident that caused me to worry with this system.
Water and rain barrels: These can be purchased online or around here you can pick them up at the local green market. The ones we have are thick, blue plastic, hold 50 gallons I believe and we have had no problem with them even out in the weather for years.
In general, water must be rotated every year to stay tasting good. But, I understand even old water can be boiled or aerated to make it safe and drinkable. So, having water is by far preferable to not having it.