This survival game is based on a large-scale nuclear war decimating most of the population. You take on the role as one of few survivors in a world where technology and society collapse, leaving you to fend for yourself with limited supplies. In your struggle for life, you must try not just to survive but also rebuild civilization from scratch.,

The “long – symbol” is a character in the ASCII code set. It has been used to represent a very long distance. The Unicode standard defines it as U+002F 〃 (full stop) and U+0027 ˛ (semicolon).

Vintage ad advertisement sign of protection moving food water supplies.

We’ve chosen to reprint a vintage essay each Sunday to assist our younger readers discover some of the greatest, evergreen jewels from the past, with our archives currently totaling over 3,500 items. The original version of this essay was published in April of 2014.

Your town is struck by a major storm and an earthquake at the same time. It’s a full-fledged quakenado.

The structure of your home is unaffected, but the electricity and water are gone. The grid is down in your neighborhood, according to news sources, and multiple water mains have damaged. Water service is expected to be restored in at least a week, according to conservative predictions.

Would you have enough water in your house to keep you and your family hydrated until the water supply was restored? 

How Much Water Will I Require?

The usual guideline is that one gallon of water per person per day is required. The first half of a gallon is used for drinking, while the second half is utilized for cleanliness. That number will rise as a result of a variety of circumstances. You’ll want to keep additional water if you live in a hot area or if you have pregnant or nursing women in your group.

So, the basic guideline is one gallon per person every day.

Then there’s the matter of how many days without water you should prepare for.

That depends on how well you want to be prepared for various levels of catastrophe.

If your usual water supply is interrupted, FEMA recommended that you have enough water to last three days. Three days’ worth of water should plenty to get you through any water outages or pollution that may occur as a result of natural catastrophes like as earthquakes, tornadoes, or ice storms.

Three days is a fair starting point, but even in routine calamities, water service may be disrupted for considerably longer.

After spending hours reading survivalist websites and forums, it seems that having at least two weeks’ supply of water on hand is the common opinion. That’s 14 gallons of water for a single person. That would need 56 gallons of water for a household of four.

It’s entirely up to you whether you extend your stay beyond the two-week minimum. Finding space in one’s house or apartment to keep enough water for two weeks is a challenge for many people, so attempting to find space for a month may be out of the question. Even if space isn’t a problem, long-term water storage might be prohibitively costly up front.

My suggestion is to start with a two-week supply and gradually increase the quantity as space and money become available. I have around a month’s supply of water for my household right now. 

Solutions for Long-Term Water Storage

So you’ve made the decision to begin preparing your emergency water supply. You’ll need a secure container to keep it in. Use only food-grade plastic bottles as a general rule. Glass bottles may also be used as long as they haven’t been used to hold non-food products. Another alternative is stainless steel, but you won’t be able to use chlorine to treat your stored water since it corrodes steel. Finally, be sure you can seal whatever container you choose to hold your water. Bacteria or other contaminants should not be present in your drinking water. Several water storage alternatives are shown below.


Options for Water Storage for Two Weeks

Bags are hang with wall hanger and Storing bottled water for an emergency supply in stain.

Bottled Water from the Store Buying pre-packaged bottled water is the simplest (though somewhat more costly) approach to meet your water storage allowance. It’s sterile, well-sealed, and packaged in food-grade plastic. Furthermore, bottled water is very portable, which is useful if you need to bug out. If you have a little area in your house or apartment, this is an excellent alternative. Simply purchase a large number of packets and put them beneath mattresses.

Bottles of soda, water, or Gatorade that have been emptied. If you’re a cheapskate, you can just fill up empty soda/water/Gatorade bottles with tap water. Using this method, be sure to properly clean the bottles first.

Water Jugs, 5-7 Gallon You probably already have a couple of them in your garage if you’re a frequent camper. They’re composed of high-quality, food-safe plastic. The plastic is generally a dark blue color, which helps prevent algae development by blocking light. The blue, I believe, is also meant to remind you that “Hey! This is just for water!” Because the jugs are often stackable, they may be stored in even the tiniest of locations. In the event that you need to leave your home base, their tiny size makes them simple to move.

Water Storage Options for One Month or More

waterBOB. If you’ve read The Road, you’ll recall the moment when our protagonist starts filling up a bathtub after witnessing flashes outside his window signaling the approaching apocalypse. He was aware that the municipal water supply might be cut off shortly, and he wanted to save as much as he could before that occurred. While filling a tub with 100 gallons of water is convenient, it is not particularly hygienic for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, when was the last time you scrubbed your bathtub? Did you clean it lately, and if so, did you use strong chemicals? In any case, you shouldn’t drink the water directly from the tap. Second, since the water in your tub isn’t covered, it’s vulnerable to pollution.

WaterBOB system for emergency water in bath tub.

This is where the waterBOB enters the picture. It’s a massive plastic bag that can store up to 100 gallons of water. Simply put it in your bathtub and fill it up with water from the tub faucet. Boom! Storage of sanitary water in an instant.

This is a wonderful alternative for those who don’t have a lot of room. Simply pull it out anytime you think you may need it. The disadvantage is that there may not be enough water to fill it up when you need it.

Barrels of water You can’t go wrong with 55-gallon water barrels if you have the room and need at least one month’s worth of water storage. They’re constructed of tough food-grade plastic and feature bungs at the top that can be tightly shut to keep contaminants out of your water. In addition, the plastic is BPA-free and UV-resistant. Two of these babies will provide enough water for a household of four for roughly 27 days. This is the current state of my water storage solution.


There are certain drawbacks. The first is the concept of space. If you live in an apartment, a 55-gallon water bucket is definitely out of the question. The second factor is the cost. It will cost you about $90 for each barrel. To fill them, you’ll also need a pump and a particular drinking water pipe. Finally, they’re not very transportable. A full barrel weights 440 pounds. In the event that you need to bug out, you’ll surely want a more portable solution.

Consider acquiring one (or more!) of these 320-gallon water storage systems if you need to store more than a month’s worth of water. 

How to Keep 55-Gallon Barrels Full with Water

Two 55-gallon drinking water barrels in garage.

In my garage, I have two 55-gallon barrels.

Two water barrels on a wood pallet.

I put my barrels on a wooden pallet to minimize a chemical reaction between the barrels and the cement, which was probably unnecessary.

 Picture of specialty drinking water hose in someone's hand.

When filling up your water barrels, experts suggest using a specialty drinking water hose rather than an ordinary garden hose.

Two water barrels in a garage left side barrels is being filled with water.

I finished filling them full. It didn’t take nearly as long as I anticipated.

Two chlorine drops bottle for pre-treating of water.

To assist reduce algae and bacteria development, several prepper sites advocate pre-treating your water with chlorine. Several websites, however, argue that this isn’t even required since tap water is already chlorine-treated. I just treated one of the barrels. They looked and tasted the same when I checked on them a few years later.

 Tightening the water barrels on hands.

After you’ve finished filling your barrels, ensure sure the bung is as tight as possible. Remember that water does not go bad. Contamination is what causes water to become contaminated.

 Smaller water storage jug on floor.

Even if you have large water barrels, it’s a good idea to carry smaller storage bottles in case you need to evacuate your home.

Barrels of rain. You may want to add additional rain barrels to your system in addition to storing tap water. Simply insert a rain barrel at the bottom of your gutter pipe, and the water will be collected anytime it rains. Rainwater harvesting is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective technique to build a long-term water storage reserve. You’ll want to filter and disinfect rainwater before consuming it since it originates from the sky and is sitting in a barely-protected barrel outdoors. Some prepper households only use rainwater for hygiene and conserve tap water for consumption. Although it is a fallacy that certain jurisdictions have made rainwater collecting illegal, some drought-prone states have limitations on techniques and need licenses, and other states (such as Texas) even provide a tax credit for rainwater collection equipment purchases. Make sure to verify your state’s requirements.

System of Water Cisterns Rain buckets are no match for water cisterns. They’re essentially large holding containers used to collect rainwater. Water cisterns may contain anywhere between 1,400 and 12,000 gallons of water. Water cisterns are the way to go if you’re preparing for the end of the world as we know it. You’ll need a large room to house a massive water tank, as well as a system of pipes to transport rainfall to the cistern. In addition, the tanks used in cistern systems are typically not food-safe. You should either treat the water before consuming it or utilize cistern water only for sanitary reasons.


Alternative Water Sources

In addition to having stored water, you’ll want to be able to filter and purify it in case you need to augment your supply with water from rivers, streams, or lakes. To make clean drinking water, Creek Stewart suggests having three choices on hand: a filter, a chemical, and boiling.

  • Filter for water. In my bug-out bag, I have a Katadyn Hiker Pro Filtration System. It can create around 1 liter of clean water every minute. You can’t depend on it as your principal supply of safe drinking water. It’s only meant to be used as a supplement.
  • Tablets for purification. I also have iodine and sodium chlorite pills on hand for purification.
  • To boil water, you’ll need fuel and a stove. Finally, in my bug-out pack, I have a tiny burner and fuel, so I can boil water to cleanse it.

Frequently Asked Water Storage Questions

Is it necessary for me to cycle my water every year? Yes, you should change your water at least once a year, is the most popular query, and the most common response is yes. However, after more investigation, I discovered that this isn’t always the case. First and foremost, remember that water does not have an expiry date. Water does not spoil if properly preserved. Contamination that enters the water causes it to deteriorate. Your water might potentially last forever if you take adequate steps in sealing and storing it to prevent bacteria or other impurities from getting into it. In fact, I’ve read several blog postings from people who have successfully consumed five-year-old preserved water. So, no, you don’t need to replace your water every year as long as you take basic safeguards. If you’re concerned about contamination, though, go ahead and do it anyhow.

Is it necessary to chlorinate my water before storing it? A few prepping websites propose chlorinating your water before sealing the storage container. However, if you’re filling your water storage with city tap water, it’s not essential. Chlorine has already been added to the tap water. You shouldn’t have to worry about germs or algae growing in your bottle or drum if you properly seal it. If you’re concerned about contamination when you have to break open your water supply, feel free to add chlorine. 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water is the recommended dosage. Simply get some water treatment drops to make things simpler. They’ll tell you precisely what you’ll need.

Is it necessary for me to boil my saved water before drinking it? Boil your water if you have reason to suspect it has been tainted. Don’t do it if you don’t have to. It’s a complete waste of resources.

What gives my stored water a peculiar flavor? Is it tainted in any way? Because there is no oxygen in stored water, it tastes flat and strange. Swish your water about your cup a few times before drinking to get rid of that strange stored water flavor.


Is it necessary for me to keep my water away from the cement? If you intend on keeping water in 55-gallon barrels, you’ll probably hear that they should be stored on wooden pallets rather than on the cement floor of your garage. Chemicals in the cement might induce a chemical interaction with the plastic storage container, contaminating the water, according to the reasoning. Looking into it more, it seems that this is more of an old survivalist wives’ story. I was unable to locate any scientific evidence to support this assertion. According to a few prepper websites, keeping water on cement only became a concern when the cement grew very heated.

I decided to place my water barrels on a pallet just to be cautious. It didn’t cost me much more and took up very little more room. Carpet or flattened cardboard boxes might also be used.

I have a swimming pool in my backyard. Isn’t that enough for my emergency water? If you have an average-sized swimming pool in the backyard, you have roughly 20,000 gallons of water on hand in the event of a disaster. It’s definitely a drinkable beverage. It’s simply a matter of being strategic about it. Pool water is usually free of pollutants like algae and germs thanks to the chlorine and pump/filter. Don’t be alarmed if you consume pool water that has been chlorinated. Pools should have a chlorine level of 2 parts per million. Humans can consume water with a chlorine content of less than 4 parts per million.

The difficulty with depending on pool water as a long-term water source is that it will go bad in a grid-down event when water and power are out for more than a week. First, unless you continuously adding chlorine to the pool, the chlorine levels will decline in a few days. If you don’t have enough chlorine on hand, the water will quickly turn into an algae and bacterium breeding environment. Second, your pool’s pump and filter will not be able to clear up the filth if there is no power. After a week, your perfectly safe to drink pool water will begin to “spoil.” If you anticipate the power will be off for longer than a week, you can consider keeping several collapsible water carriers on hand and filling them with pool water. Fill them all up and store them in your garage. To be safe, you should boil or chemically treat any pool water before drinking it.

What about pools with saltwater? That’s a little more difficult. On the subject, there is a lot of conflicting information available. Some argue that salt levels in saltwater pools aren’t as high as you may imagine, and that they’re really within the acceptable drinking range. However, their levels are still rather high, and excessive salt intake in a survival scenario might be harmful to your general health, so you’re best off not drinking it. It’s best to avoid drinking the saltwater from your pool if you want to be safe. If you have a saltwater pool and want to utilize it, limit yourself to utilizing it for hygienic reasons. Use a solar desalination system like this one if you wish to consume it. Just be aware that producing drinking water takes a long time.


Listen to our podcast with survival expert Creek Stewart for further advice on preparing for a grid-down disaster:

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