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Expandable Emergency Water Storage

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Do you have stored water in case of emergencies? I sure hope so. There are things you can do without for an extended periods of time but water is not one of them.

The American Red Cross recommends having one gallon per person per day on hand:

How many gallons of stored water will you need to store? That is your call. How many days will water be unavailable? More is better than less.

So when planning and preparing for an emergency and not knowing the specifics of the disasters and disruptions in the supply chains you should realize that in an emergency, for all intents and purposes, all the water in the world that you can get at for who knows how long is what you have stored right now and no more. Do you have enough?

But in an emergency, additional water may become available. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take full advantage of these additional sources of water? What additional sources of water you may ask?



Local rivers, lakes, streams, fountains, ponds.

You may be saying to yourself “if there is a pond or stream near by then I can count that water in my preps even though I don’t have it now in my stored water supply”. Here are some reasons why you may not want to count those chickens before they hatch.

You will need a working vehicle that has enough gas to go to the supply of water and back and you will need roads that can be driven on as well. I live near a large mall that has several large indoor fountains. I was there this week and they had all been drained (for repair / maintenance). There used to be a pond at a local park. There is now grass where the pond used to be. Luckily there are other sources of publicly accessible water in my area. These two were the closest. The mall fountains may be inaccessible in an emergency. So I can’t include these sources of water in my emergency preparations but in an emergency, if I can go get more water right away, I can greatly increase my chances of survival.

I went to my local Walmart and bought some 18 gallon orange (thanksgiving) Sterilite “totes” with lids that were on clearance for $3.50 each. Right now they are in my garage staying out of the way and being useful at un-cluttering the garage. I have clothes, paper towels, guinea pig bedding and hay, files stored in them. These are things that can be dumped into large plastic trash bags to free up the totes for temporary water storage. I looked on the Sterilite web site and verified that the containers would be suitable for this purpose:

Collecting rain would be optimum but if I do need to go get some water I will most likely bring some 2 liter and 1 gallon containers with lids to where the water is. We get earthquakes where I live. I may need to fill up food storage bags with water and then store them in the totes so I do not loose water from sloshing. I have a few hundred bags.



The water may not be safe to drink. Here is a link to Red Cross information that includes instructions for making water safe to drink:

You can probably get some red or green totes right now for less than they were selling for before Christmas. There were some at my Walmart but the orange ones were cheaper. For about $30.00 I added over 140 gallons of water storage capability to my preps. My garage is still messy, so I will be buying some more orange (or red or green) totes this week.  Besides increase my water storage capability, I have more room in my garage now than I did last week due to using the totes for storage and reorganizing.

Good luck.





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    Total 2 comments
    • Anonymous

      only one question where do you put the car with all this stuff in the garage? (grin)

      • wirkbot

        Thanks Anon’

        I like a good laugh. But actually, as I mentioned at the end of the article, I ended up with more room in my garage because I organized and stored stuff I had laying around in the garage. These containers stack really well. If some event happens that necessitates storing more water, I will move these inside the house and at that point (loaded up with water) the containers will not be stacked.

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