Water Storage – How Much


275 Totes for water storage

I like Totes they be be stacked three high and each hold 275 gallons of water.

The information put out by the government and many other sources says you need to store 1 gallon of water per person.  I have said that myself on many occasions.  But upon further study and reflection, I want to put some qualifications on that amount.

Two-thirds of our body’s weight consists of water.  We need water for blood circulation, respiration and converting food to energy.  Water is the body’s second most important need coming right after oxygen.

We constantly lose water through sweat, urine and even breathing.  Water your body loses must be replaced for your organs to continue to work properly.  Dehydration occurs when you’re losing more water than you’re taking in. Extreme heat, can cause an adult to lose half a gallon of water through sweat alone.

Dehydration can set in within an hour without water in extreme heat.  A combination of hard physical exercise and extreme heat and no water can lead to death in a few hours.

Cold environments can cause dehydration.  Cold air does not hold much moisture; every breath you take dehydrates your body, even if you aren’t sweating.

About 80 percent of our daily water intake comes from drinking, and 20 percent comes from the foods we eat.  This figure is variable depending on the moisture contents of our foods.  Fresh foods will normally have higher water content than dried or preserved foods.  We will need extra water storage if we are using dried, salted freeze-dried foods.

We are spoiled, the average American uses 80 gallons to 100 gallons of water per day, this includes flushing the toilet, showering, and hand washing and cooking.

Your water storage should take into account the following.

  • Children, nursing mothers and sick people may require more water.
  • Additional water may be needed in a medical emergency.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate, more water may be necessary.  In a desert environment, water needs can double.

A large portion of those 80 – 100 gallons of water we normally used is for sanitation.  This helps us to stay healthy.  One gallon a day is largely drinking and cooking water.  This is ok for a short period of time.  But how much water storage do we need for the long term?

How much Water Storage do we really need?

The simple answer is as much as you can practically store, along with a system to replenish your supply.  In addition to your water storage, you need the means to treat your water.  This could include filters, chemical treatment, Sodis or even boiling or distillation.

Replenishment could come from a surface or underground water, but have a plan.  Your water storage is not going to last forever.  You can get by on much less, than we use today, but you will still use more than you expect, even with good rationing.

Follow this link to How to Store Water in a Compact Space


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3 Responses to Water Storage – How Much

  1. ke4sky says:

    The common 1 gallon per person per day is inadequate for an active adult, doing moderate physical labor, outdoors or indoors in a grid-down environment. When our EMAC public works crews were doing debris cleanup near Gulfport, MS after Katrina and Rita, Safety Officers from the US Army Corps of Engineers enforced hydration breaks of 1 pint every 30 minutes for personnel performing manual labor and 1 pint per hour for motorized equipment and heavy equipment operators driving non-air conditioned trucks, dozers, loaders, and knuckleboom cranes. We rigged a fog nozzle on a 1-inch hose connected to a Lister bag as an improvised shower facility, and the daily washing requirement was 20L per man, allowing 30 secs. to get wet, shut off, lather and scrub for 2 minutes, then 1 minute for rinse.

  2. I agree with ke4sky that 1 gallon per day is no where near enough for active folks in hot climates. I base this on my experience when based at the Marine base at 29 Palms in the mid-50s. When “working” (officers don’t work you know) outside in the summer I’d weigh 10 pounds less at the end of the day even though I’d been drinking water all day plus I’d have to get up several times each night to drink more. There would be salt rings on my shirt under the arms at the end of the day even though there had never been any visible sweat on the shirt during the day. I had men in my platoon given medical discharges because they simply could not drink enough water during the day to sustain them. 1 gallon per day is enough for sedentary folks in a protected environment.

    Semper Fi

    Hangtown Frank

  3. Joe Friday says:

    The average American uses 75 gallons per day. That is for drinking, food prep, bathroom use and shower. That does not count for garden needs or animals. Through conservation we have cut that usage in half but an additional 10-30 gallons per day is used in the greenhouses (we hand water). We haven’t had to water the gardens as it’s been a wet year but, in a dry year, we would use much more. In TEOTWAWKI the non-garden usage could be reduced even more but the real needs are much higher than 1 gallon per day.

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