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Well before the coronavirus reached America’s shores, we frequently discussed why it’s important to have an emergency supply of water on hand.

If a disaster cut off your tap water and stores were stripped bare of bottled water, what would you do?

You’d have to find another source pronto. Those who have clean drinking water stockpiled will be able to handle this type of temporary crisis.

During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have life-giving water readily available for you and your family.

Supply chain disruptions

Why is it even more essential now than during normal times to stockpile water for drinking, hygiene, cleaning and cooking?

Several reasons come to mind. For one, we’ve seen over the past year what food supply chain disruptions can do. If it happens again, bottled water could be one of the casualties.

What causes these disruptions? They usually occur due to workers becoming ill. If water-packaging workers are forced to quarantine, it will slow deliveries.

Spikes in the number of coronavirus cases can cause lockdowns or reduced store hours. Each of which could make it more challenging for you to purchase bottled water. And that’s assuming there is any left on the shelves.

Having water for washing your hands, bathing and brushing your teeth is crucial for good hygiene. Which can help you stay healthy during a pandemic.

How much is enough?

I think we can all agree with the importance of having an emergency supply of water. But how much should we have? What should we keep it in? And how should we store it?

The quantity of water depends on several factors. Such as how many people are in your household. And how much storage space you have.

A general rule of thumb is to have at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day. Plus one-half gallon per person per day for cleaning and sanitary purposes. And don’t forget water for your pets. Aim for at least a two-week supply.

I’ll address specific types of containers in a moment. But remember to always use containers with airtight lids.

Storage suggestions

It’s not enough to have an emergency water supply handy. You also need to store it properly so it stays fresh as long as possible. Keep it in a cool, dry place. A basement is ideal.

Here are some recommendations for storage:

  • Store various sizes of water containers. Water is heavy. If all you have is large containers, not everyone in your family may be able to comfortably handle them. And bugging out with them might be impossible.
  • Select food-grade barrels. Blue, polyethylene plastic storage barrels for large quantities of water are popular. They’ll also help differentiate your water from other containers.
  • Clean the containers. Before filling them with water, wash with hot, soapy water. Then dilute one teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water and wash the containers thoroughly again. Including the insides, lips and lids. Let that water stand for a few minutes before rinsing.
  • Place labels on your containers. Clearly mark the date you filled the container on each label. As well as the source (filtered water, tap water, ground water, etc.).
  • Keep it in a proper place. Make sure your water containers do not have access to sunlight. That can result in bacteria and algae growth. A cool, dark place such as a basement is ideal.
  • Don’t let your water freeze. Frozen water could break its containers. Plus, you might not have time to wait until it thaws before you need to drink it.
  • Filter your water. Contaminants have been discovered in tap water all over the country. So, it’s best to filter it before you store it. At the very least, have a water-filtering plan in place in case your tap or stored water becomes contaminated.
  • Replace your supply regularly. Your water could last for a long time if stored properly. But replacing it at least once a year is a good idea.

None of us can live for long without water. Make your emergency water storage a priority while there is still time.

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