My tap water crosses two of California’s eight major earthquake faults before it arrives in my glass. Though many upgrades have been made, the aqueducts that deliver that water were not built with a major earthquake in mind. If a major earthquake struck right now as I type, the flow of water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to my water district could easily be interrupted for 60 days or longer. (There is a project nearing completion that would reduce that interruption time to just a few days.)
For some time I had wanted to give an upgrade to my emergency water supply. I have 30 gallons of water available in the water heater, I keep a supply of water purification chemicals, and I have a fresh bottle of chlorine bleach, along with a few gallons of water from the grocery store that I count among my emergency supplies. The thin plastic used in the grocery store bottles degrades fairly quickly, and one of mine developed a slow leak.
I considered buying a 55-gallon water barrel (you can see it at Costco’s website) that is made for storing emergency water for 5 years. This barrel comes with a major limitation: once you fill a 55-gallon barrel, it had better be standing where you want it to stay. Since “a pint’s a pound”, that barrel would weigh some 440 pounds when filled. And I don’t really have an ideal location to put a barrel that size.
Talking it over with my husband, we decided to get six five-gallon containers (I chose the ones at Shelf Reliance.) Lugging a filled five-gallon container is still like picking up a medium-sized child, but at least they can be moved. And with six containers, I can split them up, with some stored in the cellar and others stored in the shed or garage outside.
With 30 gallons of water, we have the recommended supply for the two of us and our small dog to last about two weeks without tapping the water heater at all. If one of our grown children is visiting, we still have enough for eight to 10 days, long enough for emergency services to be established or to arrange for evacuation.
How much water do you store? Where do you keep it? Which tools for storage are your favorites? Leave a comment here.