Storing Water for an Emergency Course: Lesson 4 – Two Types of Water

Next: Lesson 5 (or click here for the Table of Contents)

One of the first things you need to know about storing water is the two types of water you will store. Do you know what they are? When you learn these two types, water storage will make more sense.

Our main goal with this video is to change how you think about storing water. We explain the dangers of confusing the two types of water. We also discuss the gray area between the two types.

The transcript is below for your reference.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello this is Glenn Meder. Welcome to our class called “The Two Types of Stored Water.” This is a very important class, so please pay attention.

What we’re going to go through is three things:

  1. You need to understand the difference between the two types of stored water. It’s very important that you don’t confuse the two
  2. We’re going to look at real life examples of the two types then there is a gray area that I want to tell you about.
  3. Then I want to warn you about the potential dangers of storing your own water.

So the two types of stored water are ready-to-drink water, and then treat-before-you-drink water. Ready-to-drink water is water that is ready to drink. This is water that you can just grab off the shelf and just drink it without a second thought. So this is safe drinking water that is been carefully bottled to ensure its long-term safety. Having ready-to-drink water is one of the most important parts of your preparedness plan. You can trust it. It’s quick, easy, and reliable, and it’s easy to dispense. So think about it this way; when an emergency happens—let’s say it’s an earthquake, or a large-scale blackout, or a hurricane, or something that strikes without notice—the first thing you have to do is you have to get your family together. Maybe one child is at daycare, and another child is at school, and your spouse is at work, and you have to all get back together. You’re not going to be thinking about making water. You just want to go and deal with what you need to deal with. So you’re going to go get your kids, gather them up, you’re going to meet with your with your spouse. You’re going to assess the situation, you’re going to see if you guys are healthy, see if there’s any medical attention that needs to happen. If you need to get out of immediate danger, you need to do that. For the first 48 hours you won’t worry about your water. You just want to deal with the situation as it is, and so you just need to be able to just grab and go, and just drink whatever you need to drink without thinking is about it. So that’s really what ready-to-drink water is.

Now treat-before-you-drink water is different. This is stored water needs to be properly treated before you drink it, so it’s not ready to drink until you treat it properly. And the importance of treat-before-you-drink water is that the water that you store today will probably be more trustworthy than water that you collect after an emergency. Tap water, for example, is not something that you can count on after the infrastructure fails. Now I will say on treat-before-you-drink water, it depends on where you live. There are some places that have just plenty of water supplies, and rivers, and streams, and all that so people with that kind of situation don’t need to worry about this much.

It’s extremely important that you understand these two different types of stored water and that you keep them separate in your mind and also labeling. You need to make sure that you label each type water as what it is. You also need to know that the other people in your household that will be using this water also understand that labeling process.

What It really comes down to is that improperly stored water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and could make you sick. The thing that throws people off in this regard is that if you were to take tap water, for example, and drink straight from the tap right now, you’ll be fine. That’s safe drinking water. But that doesn’t mean that if you put it into a bottle and then seal that bottle, that it will remain safe. That water could grow bacteria. If it had a small amount of bacteria in it, or maybe the bottle has a small amount bacteria in it, that bacteria will grow and multiply. So what started off as being safe drinking water is now dangerous to you, so you have to be careful about this. So again, the key is don’t confuse treat-before-you-drink water with ready-to-drink water because it could make you very sick. And this is the time you can’t afford to be sick.

So let’s go through some examples of the two types of stored water. First of all, ready-to-drink water. This would be commercially produced bottled water that is sealed. So you’ve bought it, you’ve kept it sealed, and stored away ready for such time as this. Or you can have properly stored distilled and purified water according to the directions that I provide you. Now treat-before-you-drink water. These are other sources that are not normally used for drinking water, let’s say rainwater barrels, pool water, even cisterns—something that is not sealed and properly treated. That’s something that you want to treat before you drink that water.

Now I do want to mention that there is a gray area here. The gray area is tap water and storing tap water without any other treatment method. The Red Cross suggests that you can do this. They say that you can safely just turn on your tap, fill up a bottle, seal it up, and that’s good for six months. That’s a gray area to me. I am concerned about this approach. First of all, tap water is not the same all around the country. It’s different everywhere you go. Very often there are boil alerts in different communities around the country, which means there is bacteria in that water. Other times, bacteria can get through to tap water but you can’t get through to tap water and then is gone, so they don’t even mention it. They don’t even announce it to the public because they dealt with it pretty quickly or within a certain timeframe that they don’t have to announce that.  Anyway, the point is that bacteria does get through in tap water sometimes, more often than you’d think. It is typically in smaller amounts though, so if you’re just drinking your tap water, you probably won’t get sick just from drinking that. But it’s in the water, and so if it’s in the water and you store this water in a bottle sealed up, that bacteria can grow and multiply. So that’s why I don’t think, to me this is not something you should do.

So we’re going to go into the process for making your own ready-to-drink water. Before we do that, I want to talk about commercially produced bottled water because that’s a very important part of your water storage plan. So that will be on the next video.

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