Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More About Water

"Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes may pollute or disrupt water supplies. Water is more essential than food in sustaining life. Our total body weight is 60-75% water. Never ration drinking water, even when supplies run low. Drink the amount needed and try to find more for tomorrow. However, the body can minimize the amount of water it needs by limiting activity and staying cool. It is wise to have an emergency storage of at least 14 gallons per person. The water must be pure or treated to prevent microbial growth and stored in food-grade containers that will protect both flavor and purity.

In most cases, city delivered drinking water should be potable (bacteria and pathogen free) and suitable for emergency storage purposes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all public water suppliers to regularly test for bacteria and deliver water meeting EPA drinking water standards.

New containers should be labeled for storage of food or beverages as those not labeled for food or beverage storage could release harmful chemicals into the water. Some plastic containers may affect the taste. All containers should be thoroughly cleaned before filling. Most water containers come in 5 gallon, 15 gallon, or 55 gallon sizes. Having a variety of sizes is prudent for when water might need to be transported in the event that the normal water supply is disrupted.

Stored water can be pre-treated in a several ways, if desired. To prevent buildup of bacteria or algae in stored water use household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite): Add 8 drops (1/2 teaspoon) household bleach per gallon if water is clear, but not chlorinated. Add 16 drops (1 teaspoon) of household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) per gallon if water is cloudy. Let water stand for 30 minutes before use. No additional household bleach is needed when water comes directly from a good pre-treated municipal water supply.

For low-cost water storage, soda and juice bottles (those marked with PETE on the bottom) make good containers and cost nothing if cleaned and filled as they are emptied. To economize many people are using empty milk jugs...DON'T...they are biodegradable and will leak.

Purify all questionable water before using it for drinking, preparing food, brushing teeth, or washing dishes. Boil water for 10 minutes to kill any disease-causing bacteria. Add a pinch of salt to each quart of boiled water to improve the taste. Shake stored water to aerate."

(Source: "Food Storage Recipes - Using only the ingredients contained in the One-Month Basic Food Storage Kit", pg. 5)

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