We often take our household water supply for granted. However, when safe drinking water is unavailable, it is more than just an inconvenience — it can become a health emergency. In Southern California, a large-scale earthquake may interrupt the supply of safe drinking water at any time. The interruptions may last for a short period of time, or for several days. Every household should have an emergency water supply to meet its members' needs. Click here to learn how SMWD is prepared in the event of an emergency.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. Needs may differ depending upon age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. Most people need to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more water.
You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. If you have pets, allow 1 quart per day for each dog or cat. Storing at least a three-day supply is recommended, but consider storing a two-week supply if your home has enough space for it.
To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency water supply, it's recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container, and do not open until you need to use it. You will also want to observe the expiration date. If you are preparing your own containers of water, you should purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supply stores. Containers not labeled for food or beverage storage could release harmful chemicals into the water. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.
If you decide to re-use storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles — not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth. Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Then sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Rinse out the sanitizing solution thoroughly using clean water.
Yes, the water SMWD supplies to its customers for drinking and cooking is suitable for storing for emergencies. Remember that the container used to collect and store the water must also be clean. Place a date on the outside of the container so you know when you filled it. Store in a cool, dark place and replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
For more information regarding emergency drinking water supplies, visit www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/water.shtm
Following an emergency or natural disaster, take the following steps to ensure that you and your family’s water supply remains safe:
|Available Chlorine||Drops per Quart||Drops per Gallon||Drops per Liter|
|1%||10 drops||40 drops||10 drops|
|4-6%||2 drops||8 drops||2 drops|
|7-10%||1 drop||4 drops||1 drop|