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How Much Water Do I Need?


SHTFM - SHTF, survival, and preparedness since 2006

Did you know that the average US family uses 400 gallons of water per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?

Most of that goes to watering lawns and gardens. During a disaster, the grass can die, but the garden most certainly cannot.

The big question is how much water will you really need post-SHTF. It takes a little math, some thinking, and a lot of best estimates.

Some Things To Consider

Consider why you use water now. Things will not change much during a disaster or SHTF event, you just won’t have as much water to go around.

Personal hygiene – Hand washing (the number 1 way to prevent the spread of disease), brushing your teeth, taking a bath or shower…. all of these are important activities that help you stay healthy and keep moral up.

Physical activity – You sweat when you work, so more work means more water requirements. That, or smelly pits.

Pets and live stock – They need water to. The larger the animal, the larger the water requirements.

Garden – In times of drought, the garden is going to need water. Outside of yourself and your family, your garden is your main water focus. You can skip a bath, but you can’t skip watering your main food source.

Some of the big questions are: How many family members and friends will be sharing your water source? How many pets and types of animals will your water stockpile need to support? How big is your garden?

So How Much Do You Need?

Rain BarrelsYou, as an average human being doing average things, need about 5 gallons of water per-person, per-day. Personally I like to plan for double this, 10 gallons per day.

This includes personal hygiene, cooking and drinking water. This does NOT include washing clothes since this should only be done every few days unless you have a running stream.

if you don’t have any running water you can get a Rapid Washer, A DIY Manual Hand Washing Machine. It’s a great off grid washing system that takes just 4 gallons of water to wash an entire load of clothes.

Plants And Animals

You can forget about stockpiling water to keep a garden or livestock alive. You will need a fresh source source as a well, stream, or pond.

Why, you ask? Your garden will need about 1″ of water every week, plants like tomatoes and watermelons require more.

To apply an inch of water to 1,000 square feet of garden requires 620 gallons of water. That is a measurable and repeatable fact. That is a lot of water.

Your animals vary in their needs based on how big they are. A cow needs much more water per day than a rabbit or chicken, for example.

Most larger animals can be kept watered with a pond or a lake, and small animals can be sustained with collected rain runoff from gutters.

If you have a well or pond you could harness the power of a windmill to pump water to a cistern and holding tanks for your gardens and livestock. You don’t want to be in a situation where you depend on an electric pump to carry water to your animals.

Smaller animals will need their water brought to them and changed every day.

Quick Pro Tip – each person should have their own water bottles – and do not share bottles between people. This is to help control the spread of disease. After the bottle has been emptied, leave the cap off and allow the inside to dry. This will help prevent the growth of mold or bacteria inside the bottle.


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Meet The Author

Sergeant Survival

Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.

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How Much Water Do I Need?