With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.

There seems to be potential weather related issues and dangers in every season. Blizzards, heavy rainfall and other conditions can leave you confined to your home or stranded in your car. These issues highlight the importance of being prepared and maintaining a disaster kit. Many resources provide guidance on packing kit items like food, flashlights, first aid supplies, dust masks and a manual can opener, but they often forget to remind you of the importance of water in your disaster supplies.

What Water Is Needed?

Most disaster preparation experts recommend that you maintain a three day provision for each person in your household for your emergency kit. Rough calculations for how much water you actually need is a gallon of water per day per person. Unfortunately, this is not set in stone, and you may find that your family does need more water.

There are some simple considerations to calculate your specific water requirements. These include whether you have any children, nursing mothers or sick people in your household. On average, these groups will need to have access to more water each day. You will also need to plan for medical emergencies that may require additional water, such as cleaning cuts or scrapes. If you live in a warmer area, you will need access to more water, and in very hot temperatures, your need could almost double.

You will also need to include your family pets as you calculate your requirements.

A three day provision is a basic minimum requirement, so if you have the space to store more, it may be a good idea.

Prepare Your Own or Buy?

Many people consider commercially bottled water as the most reliable source for their disaster supplies. This can be convenient, but you will need to rotate stocks of bottles and consider manufacturer expiration dates. Unfortunately, while convenient, it can be a costly option, particularly if you have a larger family since you will need gallons and gallons to rotate your supplies.

Fortunately, if you have a water treatment device or system installed, it is simple to prepare your own water supplies for storage. You will need plenty of clean, food grade containers for your water, but you should avoid using any milk or fruit juice containers as the proteins and sugars can linger and encourage bacterial growth. Two liter soda bottles make a better option, or you could purchase food grade, 55 gallon drums. Your preferred containers will need to be cleaned with soapy water and sanitized using a chlorine bleach solution. You should still rotate your water supply to prevent stagnation.

If you have a concern about using the right bottles and maximizing the lifespan of your water supply, there are a myriad of specialist companies who can supply BPA free, food grade drums that can be stacked safely to store an adequate supply in the minimum amount of space.  

Preparing for emergencies and disasters is an important way to stay safe, but you need to ensure that you have adequate water supplies to be totally prepared.  Contact your local water treatment company for assistance.