Dear Preppers and Survivalists,
Depending on you and your family's underlying principles, worldviews, personalities, and all the other mental stuff, you and your partner will only get prepared, for an event, in a specific way.
If you only conceptualize the possibility of a short-term event, say a hurricane or a power outage in your hometown, you and your family will only prepare for those events with a three to five day supply of water.
If you and your partner can conceptualize a total collapse of these United States and the resulting effect on the rest of the World, you will get prepared by building a water catchment system for your home, practice methods to purify thousands of gallons of water, over several years, and advocate for your hometown to build quality infrastructure that will last for decades.
If you can see the possibility of a large nuclear war, between Russia and China, China and these United States, France and Iran, or ..., you will make preparations to store water for several weeks and learn how to treat it for nuclear contamination.
Cross Section of Cylindrical Water Storage Pit
lined with two 30-gallon plastic bags (ca 1987)
Either way; zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, great plague, economic collapse, or some other event; you and your family will, sooner or later, find out an awful truth of prepping. Your family will have to prioritize.
Yeap, you can't purchase four AR-15s with 25 magazines, each, a high-priced year supply of freeze-dried food for everyone in the extended family, build a 15,000 square feet retreat in Val, Colorado, outfit a nuclear blast shelter for your closest and most favorite friends with a surgical suite with the good drugs, a dentist chair and equipment with the good drugs, again, staffed with maids and butlers, and ... 'Cause you and your family don't have that kind of money.
What's a family to do?
First, store three days of water, one gallon per day, for each person in your family. If you're like me, you have four people in your family. This means four people times three gallons equals 12 gallons.
For some families, they will have pets and livestock that will need water, so ...
Don't forget them.
To store this water, you can purchase water jugs from a local sporting goods store, reuse plastic soda bottles, or some other safe and healthy method. Just remember, water weighs a little bit more then eight pounds (8.35 pounds) per gallon or 3.79 kilograms per gallon.
This means that five gallon water jug is only going to be carried by you or your partner, unless your children are older ; - )
Bulgarian State Archives Agency
In the Past
I have mentioned making your purchases in a spiral.
Using this concept, you draw a circle on a sheet of paper, label the circle with the 16 chapters from Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead then fill it in with one purchase or activity that would get your family better prepared, for tough times.
Spiral Purchase Diagram,
with first set of purchases
Once all of these purchases have been made, you, your partner, and your family would create another diagram, similar to ...
Spiral Purchase Diagram
with second set of purchases
This will prevent you and your family from amassing too much of one prepping item or supplies.
The Next Step
I believe most families can easily store a two week supply of water in 55-gallon barrels. Two of these barrels would allow a family of four to have a 25 day supply of water (110 gallons divided by 4 people equals 25 gallons, [O.K. it's 27.5 gallons per person] for two weeks [O.K. it's really over three week] of potable water for your family to drink, during an event)
Usually families would use white or blue closed head barrels, like these ...
As long as the plastic barrels are rated to hold potable water or food.
Of course, you want to know where to get them.
Buying Used Barrels
I'm cheap, so I found some used plastic barrels from various places.
The first place was the local soda bottler. The only problem, they switched to stainless steel, a few decades ago, so no more, known, quality used food-grade barrels for my family, at least from this source.
The second place I scored some used plastic barrels was a local industrial surplus dealer. They had several barrels from an alcohol manufacturer. Needless to say, I still question if the barrels' description was accurate (true).
Of course, this source also had a few open head steel drums with lids that I use to store clothing and other delicate items, to protect from critters.
As you know, the industrial surplus dealer is going to be hit or miss because they only carry what is available on the surplus market.
My last source, for used barrels, was work. We use a food safe chemical, so I asked my supervisor for ten of them, for building a floating dock ; - )
Because, it is against company policy to give them to people for ... Water Storage.
Now, I have also bought new barrels for water storage from U.S. Plastic Corporation. Besides barrels, they have some other smaller containers, like 2.5-gallon containers, Winpack 5-gallon containers (rectanglular and round), 15-gallon barrels, and 30-gallon barrels.
Another source, that I have used is Emergency Essentials. They carry several sizes of barrels and a few accessories that you might consider, like a bung wrench, emergency siphon, and water treatment product.
Heck, ... They have a sale, going on right now!
You already know, buying local and used barrels is a lot cheaper then buying new and having it shipped in.
There is a certain peace of mind, knowing your water storage containers are new and never had an unknown, maybe dangerous, chemical stored in the barrel.
It's up to you and your family.
By the way, you might want to check out the sale at Emergency Essentials because they have a 55-gallon barrel, a siphon hose, water treatment chemical, and two caps for $99.99 while U.S. Plastic has only the barrel for sale, from $110 to 120 each.
I try very hard to purchase expensive items on sale.
Needless to say, I have been pretty lazy these last few weeks, so you probably want more!!!
Plus, you and your family understand the importance of providing potable water for you family.
You should be thinking about building a water catchment system.
The two 'best' sources are Hawai'i and Texas.
Ooops, .. Here's the correct publication from Hawai'i, Guidelines on Rainwater Catchment Systems for Hawai'i
Dang, ... I made the same mistake for Texas, The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting.
That I didn't make a mistake, and that you need to download, save, and read all four manuals ; -)
Even "If" your family isn't planning on building a rainwater catchment system, just yet.
I'm going to pimp this blurb to Prepper Website, something that I haven't done in a very long time.
I'm going to add some of my 'traditional' links that you have come to love and enjoy.
American Red Cross - Water Treatment
Washington State: Department of Health - Purifying Water During an Emergency
Louisiana Statre University: Law, Science, & Public Health Site - Emergency Water Purification
EPA - Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water
Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District - Emergency Water Storage
C.D.C. - Emergency Water Supply Preparation
F.E.M.A.: Ready.gov - Water