In any emergency survival situation, the most pressing need is water. Humans can survive without food for much longer than they can without water. Our bodies are about 60% water, and our brains are ¾ water. When we become just 10% dehydrated, we experience delirium and vision problems. If the number reaches 20%, we die.
How much water do we need per day for survival?
Most experts agree that one quart of water a day is needed for an average adult’s survival. The recommended amount, however, is one gallon of water per person per day. This amount includes water for bathing, cooking, and cleaning eating and cooking implements.
When you know in advance that a bad storm or hurricane are headed your way, and that power and water outages are possible, store as much water as you can. Fill all the sinks, the tubs, and every container you can get your hands on. You can also collect rain water and get water from your hot water heater. Before draining your water heater, be sure to turn off the power of gas supply. Get every drop of water you can from your water pipes, too.
How to purify outdoor water
In dire emergencies, you might have to collect water from streams, rivers, lakes, or ponds. Such water probably isn’t safe to drink in its natural state. Before you can drink it or use it for cooking, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, washing your face, or washing eating and cooking utensils, the water needs to be purified. If the water contains sand or obvious particles, filter it first through paper towels or clean cloths. You might need to filter it more than once. After filtering the water, boil it for two minutes. This will kill any nasty bugs in the water. If your power is out, use your grill or outdoor fish cooker to boil the water. If this isn’t possible, use Unscented common household bleach to purify the water. Use the filtering process, then add eight drops of bleach per gallon of water and wait at least an hour before drinking. If the water is still cloudy, you’ll need to repeat the process.
In case of floods, never drink flood water! It most likely contains raw sewage.
Is swimming pool water safe to drink?
If you have a swimming pool, you have a great source of emergency water, as long as your pool has been properly maintained. The average home swimming pool holds 15,000 gallons of water. Even though the pool’s chlorine is probably sufficient to kill any harmful bugs, it’s still a good idea to boil the water for at least one minute before drinking.