Knowing that I can no longer turn the kitchen sink handle to get a glass of water I must make sure there is enough potable water to drink over the next 30 days. But the question is how much is enough. I have always kept several cases of bottled drinking water on hand, but recently moving to Oregon proved that the water that I get from my faucet was equally as drinkable as the purified water I was purchasing at a premium price.
Our own Homeland Security Department recommends at least 1 gallon per day for each person in the family. Given the circumstances of knowing that we will be dealing with a stretch of 30 days and may have to assist other neighbors with certain needs I would recommend doubling that amount to 2 gallons per day for each person in your home. For just the two of us that would equate to 60 gallons of water.
On my list I have included an inexpensive water cooler. This of course is optional but I find that it is a better way of easily using the water in the 5 gallon jugs. Even without electricity to cool the water it will still be able to free flow to fill whatever it is that you are using it for. Unless you intend to use it all the time even when not in a disaster emergency, I would recommend trying to find one that doesn’t work anymore. By posing an ad on craigslist that you are looking for one and are willing to pick it up an haul it away you can probably get it for free.
I also suggest keeping two products on hand for water purification, Iodine Crystals and Halazone Tablets. Wikipedia has an excellent article about water purification which includes both of these products. If for any reason you do run out of water you will soon be searching to find it from any source. I would also include a good water filtration system like a Berkey. These systems can be a bit costly but if you really need to filter water they will become priceless. If a situation should arise where you find yourself in a position of having to harvest water or pull it out of a local river remember to filter, chlorinate and iodize it for at least 30 minutes before you drink it.
Drinking water should be the very first area of preparedness you should engulf upon as it is certainly the most important.
How long is bottled water good for? Indefinite.