The eleventh capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must store additional water for cooking and personal hygiene use. In it I state that:
You must “store additional water for cooking and personal hygiene use. There are plenty more reasons to have water on hand than just for drinking. In fact, you’ll use more water for these reasons than for drinking. Consider storing around 5 gallons per person per day (depending on climate and other needs, of course). That adds up quickly for even a small family over a few weeks. In fact, over a two week period a family of four would consume 280 gallons of water; that’s just over five 55 gallon water barrels. Instead of purchasing several water barrels for this purpose, you might consider a larger 200-500 gallon water storage tank instead.”
Water is so important to your survival, it deserves a continued discussion. In the previous post, Capacity #10: Store Potable Water, the need for water for personal hygiene and cooking was brought up, but only in passing. Before getting into specifics, however, let me ask a quick question:
How much water do you think your family uses in a day for all purposes? Think about it for a moment. Twenty gallons? Fifty gallons? 100 gallons!?
Well, according to the EPA, an average family of four can use up to 400 gallons of water (70% of which is used indoors) in a single day! Can you store that much water for a single day, let alone for weeks? Likely not. Obviously, our water habits have to change when it becomes a non-renewable resource such as in an emergency situation.
Water is necessary for drinking as well as for cooking, personal hygiene (washing, brushing), sanitation (personal cleansing, dishes), medical uses, and pets too. (That’s not even mentioning homesteading uses such as for seed starting, gardening, or livestock if they apply to you.)
If the only reason you needed water was for drinking then you wouldn’t need much more than a gallon per person per day (depending on climate, season, etc); most of the rest is for cooking and hygiene. While there are ways to minimize your water usage for such purposes such as taking a sponge bath, using a camp shower, and even reusing water used for cooking, you will use more water than you think.
In the previous post, Capacity #10: Store Potable Water, I recommended storing at least 5 gallons of water per person per day in order to accommodate cooking and personal hygiene needs. To be honest, this estimate is probably low. Unfortunately, without a readily renewable source of clean water, being able to store much more than 5 gallons per person becomes daunting. While there are very large capacity water tanks that can store thousands of gallons, they’re just not for most homeowners due to cost and size considerations.
In reality, most people will only be able and willing to store a few hundred gallons at most. This can be readily accomplished with a single large tank or a few 55-gallon barrels. However much water you choose to store, ensure you store as much water as you possible can and DO NOT rely on the belief that you will be able to store water if/when the time comes.