It’s safe to say the convenience of running water is taken for granted. Most citizens assume a spare gallon or two in the refrigerator will suffice in an emergency. It gets worse: those couple gallons are expected to be shared by an entire household. Others exhibit a little more sensibility and store one or more dozen gallons per person. That ration is expected to ebb over a 72 hour period. For a family that consists of two adults and two children and no pets, twelve gallons of water each may sound like a reasonable quantity.
Since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has increased its recommendation from three days to five days’ worth of stored water in the event of an emergency. The sad truth is that is a woefully deficient ration where everyday tasks like dishwashing and bathing are concerned. A more realistic estimate is seven gallons per person daily. That is a wildly sobering difference in water expenditure versus a daily gallon ration. Luckily, there are water tanks available in multiple sizes that will accommodate long term storage.
Many preparedness-minded individuals opt for one or more 55 gallon water drums. A drum is available in blue, aqua or earth tones and must be purified and rated and classified as food-grade after it has left the factory. Filled, a drum will typically store tap water for two years with no added chlorine. Tap water is prechlorinated and does not require another treatment. At less than a hundred dollars’ cost, a drum is a very inexpensive storage method for a single person. A 55 gallon drum also weighs nearly a quarter-ton when full. A drum is not completely immobile, but it will require equal parts strength and finesse, and maybe a helping hand, to load into a truck bed. A hand truck is a good idea if multiple drums are being stored and moved.
For the survivalist with the initiative to look further and think bigger, a large water tank is the best option for storage. If the homeowner has the foresight to move out of the city, this is a must. Ground-level and underground water tanks are available. A 275 gallon tote water tank like this one costs as much as a payment on a small new 4-cylinder economy car. The tote tank is attractive, but can be easily concealed by foliage or canvas with its practical four-foot-square design. A top screw cap and bottom side butterfly tap allows the user to drain and fill it quickly.
The next step up is an oversize metal or polyethylene tank. The size of such a tank ranges from 500 gallons to a whopping 10,000 gallons. The top few sizes will easily run in the multiple thousand dollar range, costwise. Smaller tanks fall into the realm of five hundred to one thousand dollars. The number of persons will determine the need for water and the size of the tank. These tanks are not easily moved and not usually rated for subterranean placement unless a concrete backfill wall is constructed.
A better alternative for underground concealment is the cistern. The cistern’s oblong shape and ribbed construction makes it durable and practical. The cistern’s capacity for storage is an impressive 1250 gallons. Utility of the extended use model for water consumption gives the water in a cistern roughly a forty-five day turnaround. For whichever size household and capacity need, a water storage vessel — drum, tank or cistern — is available.
This article was composed by Roy McClure for the team at Plastic Tanks.