Water is a ubiquitous chemical substance that is composed of hydrogen and oxygen and is vital for all know life forms.

An emergency water plan should provide one gallon of water per person per day.

The number of days you need to prepare for depends on your environment. If you have multiple natural sources such as, wells, streams and lakes, you can store less; but remember, they can become contaminated with chemicals in a flooding situation. If you live in a dry environment, store more.

A three day supply should be a minimum for everyone.

A human being can survive an average of three to five days without the intake of water, assuming sea-level altitude, room temperature and favorable relative humidity. In colder or warmer temperatures, the need for water is greater. Need for water also increases with exercise.

A typical person will lose 2-3 litres of water per day under ordinary conditions, and more in hot, dry, or cold weather. Four to six litres of water or other liquids are generally required each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep the body functioning properly. The U.S. Army survival manual recommends that you drink water whenever thirsty. Other groups recommend rationing water through "water discipline".

A lack of water causes dehydration, which may result in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Dark yellow or brown urine is a diagnostic indicator of dehydration. To avoid dehydration, a high priority is typically assigned to locating a supply of drinking water and making provision to render that water as safe as possible.

How to purify water ...
How to find water at home ....
How to find water in the wild ...
How to find water in the desert ...

Print CDC flyers to keep in your kit:

Make Water Safe - English Adobe PDF file [PDF - 325 kb]

Drink Safe Water - English Adobe PDF file [PDF - 109 kb]

Water is your most important resource, you can survive for two to three weeks with it alone.

Remember you can not drink seawater and you should not eat, unless water is available.

You should prepare for emergencies by

  • Storing at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. You should consider storing more water than this for hot climates, for pregnant women, and for persons who are sick.
  • Storing at least a 3-day supply of water for each person and each pet (try to store a 2-week supply if possible).
  • Observing the expiration date for store-bought water; replace other stored water every six months.
  • Storing a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to disinfect your water and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing.

Store your water in safe containers 

Unopened commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency water supply.

Use of food-grade water storage containers, such as those found at surplus or camping supply stores, is recommended if you prepare stored water yourself.

Before filling with safe water, use these steps to clean and sanitize storage containers:

  1. Wash the storage container with dishwashing soap and water and rinse completely with clean water.
  2. Sanitize the container by adding a solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach in one quart of water.
  3. Cover the container and shake it well so that the sanitizing bleach solution touches all inside surfaces of the container.
  4. Wait at least 30 seconds and then pour the sanitizing solution out of the container.
  5. Let the empty sanitized container air-dry before use OR rinse the empty container with clean, safe water that already is available.

Avoid using the following containers to store safe water

  • Containers that cannot be sealed tightly
  • Containers that can break, such as glass bottles
  • Containers that have ever been used for any toxic solid or liquid chemicals (includes old bleach containers)
  • Plastic or cardboard bottles, jugs, and containers used for milk or fruit juices

For proper water storage

  • Label container as "drinking water" and include storage date.
  • Replace stored water that is not commercially bottled every six months.
  • Keep stored water in a place with a fairly constant cool temperature.
  • Do not store water containers in direct sunlight.
  • Do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances such as gasoline or pesticides are present.

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