Storing Water for an Emergency Course: Lesson 6 – Bottled Water, The Simplest Solution.

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In this lesson, we discuss commercially produced bottled water, which is the simplest solution and should be a part of everyone’s emergency preparedness kit. Bottled water is reliable, has been produced under stringent quality control standards, and is inexpensive. Not only this, but the empty bottles are a useful way to store newly produced high-purity water. We talk about big, 5-gallon bottles versus small bottles, the best brands, how much water you should have on hand, and much more.

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Here is the transcript for reference.

TRANSCRIPT

In this class today we’re going to be talking about bottled water, which is a crucial part of your preparedness plan.  Our goals for this class are…

  1. I want to tell you why bottled water is so important.
  2. I want to help you figure how much bottled water you need for your family’
  3. I want to talk large bottles versus small bottles
  4. And I want to talk about other tips that will help you get organized

First of all let’s talk about the importance of bottled water. This is ready-to-drink water. It is hugely important. It is quick, easy, and reliable. Bottled water is especially important when you’re dealing with issues that have to take all of your focus. If you’re taking care of your family, you are gathering up your family, you’re dealing with medical issues, you’re trying to assess the situation, all these things. You just need to deal with the situation at hand and you can’t afford to think about the water that you’re drinking. That’s when you reach for bottled water.

So let’s talk about bout how much bottled water you should have, and this is a minimum. So every person in your household, every person that will be using your water, you should have 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days. And you need to be honest with yourself, because if you have family members that are coming over that don’t live with you, you have to count them as well. And another very point is that children and babies drink more water for their weight than we do, so don’t count an infant, or a newborn, or a child as half a person. They’re going to be drinking the full amount of water. Now don’t forget about pets either.

So let’s look at this chart. So you can go down here and look at the number of people in your family or the number of people that will be relying on your bottled water. Let’s say you have five people that will be relying on this, so five people. That means that you’ll need 70 gallons; 1 gallon per person for 14 days at 70 gallons. And then if you convert that into half-liter bottles, that is 525 half-liter bottles.

So let’s talk about big bottles versus small bottles. Which type of bottles should you store? So small bottles what I’m referring to are 500 mL or the 16.9-ounce bottles such as Aquarfina, Smart Water that type of thing. Or we’re looking at the big bottles, 3- or 5-gallon bottles that are typically delivered to your home. And you can use either but small bottles definitely have a lot of advantages over big bottles.

So why would I recommend small bottles? First of all, small bottles are easier to track and keep inventory of. It’s easier to keep track of how much water you have, how much water you have left, and how much you’re using because you can just count the bottles. It’s also easier to travel with if you have to travel somewhere. Or maybe you’re going to be gone for a couple of hours. You can just take a few bottles of water with you. If you need to dispense water, it’s easier to dispense water. If you have to give a couple of bottles to a neighbor, you can just hand them bottles. You can’t give them big bottles, but you can give them a few small bottles. Also small bottles seal better and they last longer than the 5-gallon bottles. But there’s on advantage that trumps them all and that is that every time you open that bottle you potentially expose the whole bottle to contamination. So if you were to open that bottle and somebody were to cough into it, or touch the rim, or something like that, if you have a 5-gallon bottle, you can contaminate the whole 5 gallons. If you have a small bottle, you’re not putting much water risk with that. So I think that is a huge advantage.

So let’s talk about the brand. And the brand doesn’t really matter. What I’m looking for is the type of water you want. Pure water, not spring water, and you preferably want it to be a large, well-known brand because they will have good quality control, and will be available in a lot of different places, and it will be at a very good price. I like Aquafina. They do an excellent job purifying the water. You also use Nestlé. Smart Water, Sparklets, and more.

So storing the water, storing the bottled water. You want to keep them sealed until you need them. Don’t crack the bottles open. Store them in the dark room at room temperature. So you do not want sunlight hitting these bottles. Sunlight will affect the plastic and it can break down the plastic. You also don’t want temperature extremes, hots or colds. You don’t want the water to freeze. You don’t want it to get too hot. And you don’t want to store it near chemicals, or where there are chemical fumes.

Okay, so one of the other advantages of bottled water is that it is cheap. So if we were to figure 6 to 7 dollars per case, which is a 24 pack, I can go to Walgreens and sometimes get a case of Aquafina for $5, or even less if it’s on sale. So if you have a 3-person home, look at the chart. It shows you need 42 gallons, which equates to 315 bottles (500 mL bottles), which comes to, if I divide that by 24, that comes to about 13 cases of water. If I look at that times $6, that’s $78 to be prepared with bottled water for a 3-person home. That’s really inexpensive and it’s well worth it. A 5-person home, that comes to $131. It’s really a very low-cost thing and it actually doesn’t take up much space. You can stack them, and really you can stack them quite high. If you put them in a little nook or something, it doesn’t take up all that much room.

So the question I get often if the shelf life of bottled water, especially because they have an expiration date on it. Ideally yes, you want to rotate the bottled water out based on the expiration date. But, if it’s been sealed, if it’s been stored in a cool, dark place I would definitely feel comfortable consuming expired water and considering it a safe source of water.

Now this is a very important point: Bottled water is not a complete solution. It’s heavy to transport, it’s bulky, it’s cumbersome. It’s a limited quantity and so when it’s done it’s done. You can just run out of water quicker than you think actually. So you have to be well versed in other treatment methods and you need to be able to replenish your bottled water supply.

So I want to go back to the slide here and I want to show you how to stretch your supply of bottled water. So this chart shows you need 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days, and it shows you how much water that translates into as far as gallons or 500 mL bottles. But here’s the thing to remember; when we say 1 gallon per person per day, what we’re referring to a half gallon for drinking, and a half a gallon for hygiene and sanitation. So you don’t need to use bottled water for hygiene and sanitation. In fact, you shouldn’t. Preserve bottled water for drinking water. It is very good water and it is water you can rely on, so you want to reserve that for the best possible uses. So for hygiene and sanitation, what you want to do is you want to take the best source that you can and filter it and then chlorinate it and then you can use that for hygiene and sanitation purposes.

So in summary…

  1. We talked about why bottled water is so important.
  2. We discussed the quantity of water you need for your family.
  3. We discussed large bottles versus small bottles
  4. And we discussed other tips that will help you get organized with your bottled water.

In the next video, we’ll start discussing the topic of making your own ready-to-drink water.

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