A common question among people who are just beginning their preparedness journey is “why do we need to store water?” In our society, we take for granted that water just comes out of the tap or from various faucets in our homes. However, in an emergency, water provided by utility companies might be contaminated, or totally unavailable.
How much water do I really use?
First question is: How much water do I use right now? The average American family in the United States, say four people, uses an average of 300 gallons of water a day, so that works out to be 2,490 pounds of water. Think about where you’re going to have to store this. This is an important factor.
What do I use that much water for?
Now, the breakdown of that 300 gallons of water a day is real simple. About 16.8% of what we use (or roughly 50 gallons of water a day) is used for our shower; 15.7% (47 gallons) is what comes out of the faucet – what we use to wash our hands, prepping to cook, that kind of thing. Then the other important factor is the washing machine and, of course, the toilet. Now you think about the toilet, that’s 80 gallons of water a day. That is phenomenal – that’s almost 500 pounds of water going down the drain every day! Phenomenal!
So, that’s what you’re currently using, thereabouts. Get your water bill and figure out what you’re putting on your yard or what you’re putting on your plants, and then back out to how much you think you’re using for just those simple things. It will surprise you where your water is going and how much you’re using.
Our bodies require water
Now, the next real question is: What is the percent of our body that is water? Now, with babies, new babies, it’s about 78% water. Once they reach the age of one year, it’s about 65%, and then we branch off into male and female. The average adult woman is about 55% water (percentage of her body weight by water) and a man is about 60% water. So that means a guy that weighs, say, 200 pounds, 120 pounds of that is water, or roughly 14.5 gallons.
Now, your body goes through tremendous amounts of water, and if you look at the body parts, not collectively, but individually, our brain and our heart consist of about 73% water. Our skin is at 64% water, and our lungs are at 83% water.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
So, as your body begins to dehydrate, what do you think the first thing is that your body is going to naturally do to conserve water?
It’s going to pull water from the brain: The lungs need the water, the skin needs the water, and, of course, your heart needs the water. So hydrating is extremely important and must always be foremost in our minds when we are talking about any kind of preparation or storage.
We need H2O for drinking, cooking . . .
So, the next natural question is: How much water do we need? You’re going to need water to drink, water for cooking, and of course water for hygiene. So, let’s talk about what we need to consume, so that falls into the drinking and cooking category. The average woman needs about 9 cups of water a day and the average man needs about 13 cups a day. These are adults.
Now, with children, there are several variables here, obviously age, size, and activity, but the important thing to understand is those amounts of water represents both water that we’re both consuming as far as a drink goes, as well as what we’re cooking with. But that’s still a considerable amount of water.
. . . And hygiene
Lastly, hygiene. If you use about 2 quarts (half a gallon) of water a day for hygiene purposes – that’s everything from washing our bodies, brushing our teeth, shaving, those simple things – they can really make us feel so much better; even if it’s on just a very minimal or psychological basis, these things really do help. They help us to feel civil about what we are doing and about who we are. There really is an importance to taking care of our bodies this way.
And those are the reasons we should store water.