All living things both plant and Animal, consist of mostly water. A human can survive 2 to about 4 weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Water is required to digest food, lubricate body's organs, joints and membranes, and maintain electrical balance in the body's cells. Water keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You even need water to lose weight, and bloating can actually be caused by not drinking enough water. In Starvation diets, and the beginning of most diets, the weight you lose quickly is water weight. Drinking plenty of water can help flush out extra fat. Drinking plenty of water flushes the body of toxins and helps rid the body of illnesses like the flu. You should have about 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, another 1/2 to 1 gallon per person per day for other things like washing, toiletries, ect.
When a disaster hits, it usually affects the water supply. When drinking water sources are unsafe, everyone runs to buy out bottled water from stores. this is why you should already have some stored.
1) Plumbing systems.. (A) In water lines, turn on a water faucet at the lowest point. (B) Hot water heaters- contain 15-40 gallons portable water. use faucet on bottom, you may need to screen or filter sediment before use. (C) Tubs and sinks, fill ahead if of time if possible. (D) Toilet Tanks, (not bowls) contain 5-7 gallons, treat before using. don't use if disinfectants or cleaners are used in tank.
2) Appliances. (a) Refrigerator / Freezer. consume beverages and liquids first before they become less palatable. (b) Water coolers, clothes washer, tubs, buckets, pots and pans. - fill for additional reserves. (c) Water Bed - Waterbed mattresses are made with a algae inhibitor, so water in these should never be used for consuming.
3) In the Yard, water buckets, barrels of rainwater, puddles, ditches, and troughs. Hot water spas, swimming pools. (do not use water from pools and spas that have been treated with chemicals for consumption )
4) Precipitation - Rain and snow can provide water for consumption if caught in clean containers, treat all water that is not caught in clean containers. First snow falls contain more contaminants.
Most water filters are made with a charcoal filter, Activated charcoal filters can filter out radioactive contaminants. Filters can have different systems, which can include iodine, silver, or chlorine to kill bacteria. Many are only partially effective.
Bleach- Standard household bleach will kill harmful organisms, at a rate of 2 drops per quart, for clear water, for cloudy water use about 4 drops and allow water to sit atleast 30 minutes. Bleach older than a year or two will become less potent. for safest and best tasting, use bleach that has sodium hypochlorite as its only active ingredient. a slight odor of chlorine should be detectable, if not, add alittle more.
Iodine- Resublimed iodine tablets have a long shelf life, be careful of iodine crystals they can be harmful if ingested. can cause skin burns, and toxic fumes. Long term use can cause other health problems. People with thyroid problems, pregnant women, and nursing women should not use Iodine.
Purification tablets like Tetraglycine hyperiodide are marketed as coghlan's, Globaline, Portable Agua. these usually don't have a long shelf life, and turn from grey to yellow as they become less potent.
Boiling water- A rolling boil for atleast 10-15 minutes will kill many organisms, it does not solve all contamination problems, but will make it safe to drink. but should still be filtered if possible. Disadvantages are that it makes the water taste flat. ( pouring water from one container to another back and forth will help aerate it and make it taste better). It also uses valuable fuel, and it may not always be possible to have a fire.