Colorado Disaster Preparedness Plan - Water Storage

If you were among the throngs of people affected by the torrential rains and flooding that devastated Manitou Springs and other areas of Colorado in August and September of 2013, you got a reminder that natural disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. No doubt, many of the people who were trapped in their cars or in homes cut off from power and water lines could relate to the iconic line from Moby Dick: Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

Water, as you know, is essential for survival and going without water for even relatively short periods of time can lead to serious health consequences and possibly death. The altitude and dry climate of Colorado accelerates dehydration, which means that keeping an emergency supply of bottled water in your cars and home is essential. And don’t think that a natural disaster is the only thing that can disrupt your ability to access safe drinking water. Public water supplies may become contaminated, antiquated infrastructure in historic towns are subject to frequent disruptions in service while lines are repaired or replaced, and even the most reliable car is subject to occasional breakdown.

With the advent of reality television shows such as Doomsday Preppers and Survivorman, disaster preparedness has evolved into a national pastime as well as a big business. But whether you’re planning for the Zombie Apocalypse or simply trying to prepare yourself for an unexpected weather event or utility disruption, an emergency supply of bottle water is a must-have because you never know when you will need it. Because, you know, life happens.

At the very least, you should carry bottled water in your car and have at home a sufficient supply on hand of water and other essentials, including food and prescription medicine, to last your and your family through the first weeks of a natural disaster or other emergency. If you can stay safely in your home, or “shelter in place” as they call it in pepper and disaster aid circles, you allow emergency personnel to focus on helping the truly vulnerable to get to safety. If you have to go out in your car to get water and other emergency supplies, not only do you risk arriving at the store only to find the shelves emptied by others who were caught off guard by a disaster, you may end up boxed in by floodwaters or fires.

Tips for Emergency Water Storage

Think about everything, besides drinking, that you use water for and consider how you will manage to do those things without water flowing from your home’s tap. Here is a list of ideas to get you started:
• Cooking
• Washing Dishes and Laundry
• Flushing Toilets
• Watering Houseplants or a Garden
• Drinking water for your pets and livestock

Obviously, in the short term you can forgo washing dishes and laundry and watering plants, and you can always flush your toilet by using gray or other non-potable water from other sources. However, should you be without fresh, potable water for a number of days or weeks, you will need to store bottled water and, if your water demand is great enough, have a way to purify water from other sources. Even if you have your own well you may still be without water in an emergency. Remember, electricity is required to run the pump that brings it up into your water lines and through to your tap.

Of course if you’re within our extensive delivery area, Clearly Colorado bottled water delivery may be your best option. You can easily store a few of our 5-gallon water bottles in your garage and, if you don’t have a water cooler dispenser on hand (you don’t know what you’re missing), easy-to-use hand pumps that screw onto the water bottle are available at handwaterpump.net and other online retailers. Bottled water should be stored in a room temperature, dry environment away from chemicals such as household cleaning products and away from solvents such as gasoline, paint thinners and other toxic materials.

Purified bottled water from a reliable source is probably the best option for an emergency potable water supply because it is bottled in food-grade plastic and stores for longer periods of time than water that you bottle yourself at home. If you store water in your own containers, you should be sure they are food-grade plastics or glass that won’t leach dangerous chemicals into the water while it is in storage.

The types of plastic that are acceptable for water storage include polyethylene (HDPE/#2), PETE (#1), LDPE (#4) and polypropylene (PP/#5). You should avoid vinyl or PVC (#3) and some (#7) plastics. It can be complicated, but you can rest assured that Clearly Colorado bottled water follows International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) set standards and audits for water safety, purity, and quality that exceed the standards set by the FDA. Be sure whatever containers you use to store water are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Some homeowners are able to collect and store up to two 55-gallon barrels of rainwater runoff from their roofs. In Colorado, permitted private water well owners currently may, with permission from the state, collect rainwater for private use. This permit is not available to well owners who have access to a public water supply.

As of March 2015, a bill is working its way through the state legislature that would permit more Colorado residents to collect rainwater runoff from their roofs. Be sure and check with the Colorado Division of Water Resources before going to the expense of setting up a rainwater collection system that you may not be able to use.

Another important tip for making sure you have access to clean drinking water is to have on hand iodine tablets or unscented household bleach to purify water that you collect from a non-potable source. The dose of bleach necessary to purify water is two drops per quart of water. The dose of iodine for water purification is two tablets per quart of water, but you should be aware that people who have shellfish allergies are often also allergic to iodine.

Also, iodine has an unpleasant taste that is only removed by filtration whereas bleach dissipates with time. Both methods will kill most, but not all, microorganisms. River water often carries the harmful and sometimes deadly parasite that causes giardia, which causes diarrhea and intestinal distress and should be boiled before consumption because iodine and bleach alone may not kill the parasite.

The bottom line is, you need to store emergency water supplies and the most reliable way to do that is to purchase purified bottled water from a trusted source. But buyers beware, not all bottled water is the same. Some companies sell bottled water from municipal water sources straight from the tap without purification.

True story: Once, while traveling through Wyoming, a semi-truck pulled into the little RV and Cabin resort where we were camped to fill his tank with well water. The owner of the resort said that this beverage distributor, one of the largest in the world, bottled the water straight from the source without any purification whatsoever.

While the well water was most likely fine, I would want to know that my bottled water was purified rather than trusting that it will does not contain mineral buildup or contaminants from mining or agriculture. If you’re interested in having clean, fresh bottled water delivered to your home, office or underground bunker, Clearly Colorado would love the chance to serve you.

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