Jodi Gorham of Shepherd Ward provided the important information in this post.
We’ve been told that the recommended amount of water to store is 14 gallons per person. For my family of 7, that comes to 98 gallons of water -- so 2 of the 50 gallon drums. It seems like a lot of water to have to store, but when you think about it, it’s not very much at all. We live out in Shepherd and, like many, have a cistern. Knowing how large our cistern is and how often we have to fill it, I know that we use at least 1,000 gallons of water per week (and that’s with frugal water usage).
Think about what we use water for. There’s washing (clothes, dishes, and people), cleaning, cooking, drinking, and flushing, to name a few. How long is 98 gallons of water going to last if I’m still trying to do all of that with it? Not very long. One day when our cistern ran dry and it took a day to get water again, I started thinking about things I should have in my storage that would cut down on water usage in a time of emergency. Here are a few things I came up with: hand sanitizer (for frequent hand washing),
cleaning wipes (like Clorox, for cleaning surfaces), baby wipes (for hygiene), paper goods (to cut down on dish washing),
and even a portable toilet (like a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat) would be a good idea.
Being aware of ways to conserve water and get by on less is also something we should think about. Living with a cistern (and having to go without running water a time or two), my kids have come to know what a spit bath is and how to, in a pinch, save water from bathing and washing to use later for flushing. They also know that mom is going to get after them if they leave the water running to brush their teeth or if they play in the water too long while washing their hands (that’s literally money down the drain for us).
So think about water -- storing it, conserving it, and just being prepared.