New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food & Water Storage Considerations

1960's CD Water Storage

“Preparedness is not just about stockpiling, it's about having an actual plan.” Mike Ryan

What are the water needs for adults and children?

The General MINIMUM is 1 Gallon per person per day

This General Average is based on: Minimum of 2 liters or 8 cups of water each day to maintain efficiency; In general one quart of water is needed daily for every 50 pounds of body weight; Children require about 4-6 cups of fluid per day on average.

There are many factors that determine the water needs of adults, children and pets; such as age, weight, activity and health.

  • Water weighs a little over 8 pounds per gallon.
  • An average healthy adult needs about 1 gallon per day.
  • A gallon of water per person per day, for two weeks (14 days), equates to 14 gallons per person and weighs slightly more than 116 pounds for the recommended two-week period of water needs.

The survival quantity of 1 gallon per person - is just that – the bare, very basic, best case MINIMUM!

But no matter how you look at it that is a lot of water, a lot of weight and a lot of storage space that is needed for just a two week supply for an individual, yet alone a family and pets!

When eating a high fiber diet, extra water is needed to process the additional roughage. ... Fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause the body to lose extra fluids that must be replaced with water or other solutions such as Gatorade. ... Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional water. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink nearly 10 cups of fluids a day, and women who breast-feed should get about 13 cups of fluids daily. ... Drink the following amounts of fluids when exercising rigorously or in very hot weather:

—2 cups during the two hours before exercising;

—1 to 2 cups within 15 minutes of the activity;
—½ to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. (One medium mouthful of fluid equals about 1 ounce, and 8 ounces equals 1 cup.)
—3 cups for each pound of body weight lost. ...

As a general guideline, children require about 4-6 cups of fluid per day. (If you are breastfeeding or formula feeding your child less than a year old, you will not need to give supplemental water or other fluids.) ... The best way to determine if you or your child is staying hydrated is to check the color of urine. If your child’s urine is pale in color and plentiful, he is well-hydrated. If he is not urinating frequently throughout the day or his urine is dark yellow or tinted brown, he is not getting enough fluids. But to find out exactly how much fluid your child needs, you can follow this simple chart based on body weight. So if your child weighs

* 15 lbs, give 3 cups per day of fluids
* 22 lbs, give 4 cups per day of fluids
* 33 lbs, give 5 cups per day of fluids
* 44 lbs, give 6 cups per day of fluids
* 55 lbs, give 6.5 cups per day of fluids
* 66 lbs, give 7 cups per day of fluids
* 77 lbs, give 7.5 cups per day of fluids

How much Food is needed and how long does it last?

If you’re doing nothing, as in laying in bed your body can consume about 1000-3000 calories a day depending on weight. So assuming you will be doing some activity you would need about 2000 up to 5000 (sometimes more) of healthy calories to maintain your weight. Basically:

130 lbs – 3000 calories
150 lbs – 3200 calories
180 lbs – 3500 calories
200 lbs – 3650 calories
220 lbs – 3800 calories

Here’s a calculator that will pick your daily caloric intake based on age, height, weight and exercise frequency.

How long does all of this stored food last?

Proper canning or packaging and storage conditions will play a major role in shelf life. For actual shelf life of opened and unopened food items, in ideal conditions, the most comprehensive list I have found so far is a downloadable PDF from called ShelfLife.pdf (see the end of this letter for the links). It is a fantastic two page quick reference that breaks items down into groups like grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, basics and misc beans, legumes, lentils and the like then tells you the optimum shelf life and opened shelf life expectancy for each item.

Otherwise the best place to look is on each purchased canned or boxed food item. The FDA web site and for some reason the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin state government sites have a good amount of data on canning, dehydrating, smoking game meat, etc and how long the items can last.

Here is some new information on a few selected items based on a recent long term storage study by LDS and Brigham Young University.

Food New Shelf-Life "Life Sustaining" Estimates (In Years)
Wheat 30+
White rice 30+
Sugar 30+
Pinto beans 30
Apple slices 30
Macaroni 30
Rolled oats 30
Potato flakes 30
Pasta 30
Powdered milk 20
Dehydrated carrots 20

Medicine Storage

According to a Medical Study in the UK ( the recommended maximum storage and transit temperatures for most medications is 25 degrees C or 77 degrees F and are set by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. ... Others, however, 'do seem temperature sensitive.' Many drugs, including cefalexin, ampicillin and erythromycin have shown a reduction in efficacy when exposed to high temperatures. Aspirin, for example, degrades under increased temperature conditions. ...

  • Store medicines in a cool, dry place, protected from sunlight and out of reach of children. A good spot is the top shelf of a linen closet. A bad spot is a bathroom cabinet, due to the high humidity.
  • Organize. Group meds by category so the one you need doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Put cold remedies, tummy soothers, and pain relievers into labeled plastic storage boxes for easy retrieval.
  • Once a year, throw away outdated drugs. Some old medicines lose potency, while others may undergo chemical changes that could make them unstable or even risky.
  • Contact the American Pharmaceutical Association for more information if lacking from the pharmacists or missing on the label.

Tips For Storing And Handling Vitamins (focus on bulk generic) from

It is vital that all drugs, even vitamins, are kept out of the reach of children. Excessive amounts of vitamins such as A, D and K can be exceptionally harmful to children.

When vitamins are stored properly, they can usually remain at their best for four to five years. So, what are the most important things to know about supplying and handling vitamins?

First and foremost, the majority of discount vitamins and supplements should be tightly sealed, at a cool temperature, dry and away from light. The information for the specific requirements for the vitamins can usually be found on the packaging and the manufacturer's website or customer service line.

The best place to keep vitamins is in the linen closet, which can accommodate all of the requirements for storage.

Vitamins should only be placed in the refrigerator when long-term storage is necessary. According to Glen Shue, a nutritionist for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a three-month supply of the discount vitamins should be kept out of the refrigerator, with the remaining sealed tightly. For all others when it comes time to retrieve more vitamins, the storage bottle should be taken out of the fridge, allowing it to get to room temperature before opening.

A helpful money saving tip is to ensure that when buying in bulk, the specific types of vitamins and/or minerals being purchased will be used on a daily basis to ensure that they do not go too far out of date and thus disposed of.

The only supplements that don't fall under the "no fridge rule" are fatty acids and antioxidants, especially Carotenoids (luteins, beta-carotene, etc.) and Vitamin E. These must be must be protected from air oxidation thus storing in the refrigerator in a dark bottle/container is best.

Never store vitamins in the kitchen or in the bathroom. The bathroom is a bad idea because of the amount of heat and humidity caused by showers or bathing. Kitchens also contain a large amount of moisture as well as vaporized fats. These collect on the vitamins, causing them to lose their potency.

Packaging does make a difference! As often as possible discount vitamins and minerals need to be kept in the original container it was sold in. in order to avoid deterioration of its strength.

The Food and Drug Administration does NOT require expiration dates or storage instructions on bottle on vitamins. While most manufacturers indicate the dates anyway, it is not a requirement.

** Vitamins that are out of date are not dangerous to a person's health. These vitamins simply lose their effectiveness and potency.

Food and Water Storage Containers

From the experts at and

Basic Container Guide Lines

  • Use only food-grade containers. Smaller containers made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums work well.
  • Clean, sanitize, and thoroughly rinse all containers prior to use. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to one quart (1 liter) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used. Do not use color safe bleach.
  • Do not use plastic milk jugs, because they do not seal well and tend to become brittle over time.
  • Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.

Any of these containers will allow you to safely store food

  • #10 Cans
  • Foil Pouches
  • Plastic Buckets
  • Glass Jars
  • Original Containers
  • PETE Plastic Containers
If storing water yourself consider the following:

Water Pretreatment

Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers.
  • Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every gallon (4 liters) of water. Only household bleach without thickeners, scents, or additives should be used.
Storing and Stored Water

  • Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly.
  • Store water only where potential leakage would not damage your home or apartment.
  • Protect stored water from light and heat. Some containers may also require protection from freezing.
  • The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.

Recommended containers for longer-term (30 years or more) storage includes the following:

  • # 10 cans (available at Church home storage centers)
  • Foil pouches (available through LDS Church Distribution Services)
  • PETE bottles (for dry products such as wheat, corn, and beans)

These containers, used with oxygen absorber packets, eliminate food-borne insects and help preserve nutritional quality and taste. Oxygen absorber packets are available at Church home storage centers or through Church Distribution Services.

Under certain conditions, you can also use plastic buckets for longer-term storage of wheat, dry beans, and other dry products.

Properly packaged, low-moisture foods stored at room temperature or cooler (75°F/24°C or lower) remain nutritious and edible much longer than previously thought according to findings of recent scientific studies. Estimated shelf life for many products has increased to 30 years or more (see chart for new estimates of shelf life). Previous estimates of longevity were based on "best-if-used-by" recommendations and experience. Though not studied, sugar, salt, baking soda (essential for soaking beans), and vitamin C in tablet form also store well long-term. Some basic foods do need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.

While there is a decline in nutritional quality and taste over time, depending on the original quality of food and how it was processed, packaged and stored, the studies show that even after being stored long-term, the food will help sustain life in an emergency.

Warning: Botulism poisoning may result if moist products are stored in packaging that reduces oxygen. When stored in airtight containers with oxygen absorbers, products must be dry (about 10% or less moisture content).

There are several documents for getting started and I highly recommend all of them. (see the end of this letter for the links)

  • For a great way to get started on just about $5.00 a week go to and down load FoodStoragefor5aWeek.pdf.
  • Obtain3MonthSupply12Weeks.pdf from
  • ArkProject_MonthlyFoodStoragePlan.pdf from This contains a 72 hour kit goal as well as the food storage goal.

What About Pets?

Pet food and water are essential if you plan to include your entire family in the preparedness and food storage plan.

When it comes to the food needs, you know your pet best. Determine how much it eats in a given day or week. Then multiply it out to get whatever length of time supply you will need. Most common dry dog and cat food will store just as long as any un-ground/whole grain (maybe even longer), if kept in an air tight, insect, rodent and water proof container. Generally consider the same type of storage containers as you would for grain. However, a good clean trash can (metal or plastic) with a secure top will work well, especially if you leave the dry food in its original bag too.

Remember if you feed your dog or cat only dry food, they will need MORE water than if being served wet food.

If you use canned, wet dog or cat food, this will store for years and years and your pet will need less water to boot. Just keep them in a cool, dry place to avoid rust and other issues and keep an eye out for bulging can bottoms and tops and toss those when you run across one.

Some types of pets may need fresh fruit, moist meat or live grasses and algae, as that is where they get their hydration from. You will need to consult with your veterinarian for specifics for emergency situations.

Pet water needs will vary with the type of pet and its age, health, weight or activity and special needs. Basically you will need to determine how much water your pet consumes in a given day or week and then multiply that out for the length of time you plan to sustain your pet. This water amount will need to be added to your overall water needs to ensure you have enough water for your entire family. When estimating, always estimate on the too much side.

Keep in mind some pets, like cats, hate standing water and prefer very fresh or running water. Other pets may need water to actually live in, like turtles, crabs, some reptiles and of course fish. If you have these kinds of pets to account for you will need to know how much water you use per week for their living habitat and add that to your total family water needs for the length of time you plan to “survive” on stored supplies.

It is a good idea to make a special 72 hour go-bag for each one of your pets, it may even need to include a smaller or larger cage or travel crate than you normally use. If your dog is large enough put their go-bag supplies in a “doggie backpack” and let the animal carry its own supplies.

If your pet is the” tank” type, you will need to be inventive. I was unable to find any specific information on these types of pets beyond for the short trip to the vet. Your Vet would be a good choice for information of this type.

General Information:;

A general rule of thumb is that most animals should have about 28 milliliters (or one fortieth of a liter) of water per pound of body weight per day. A forty-pound dog needs about a liter of water every day; a ten-pound cat needs about a quarter of a liter.

Some exotic animals, particularly amphibians like frogs and salamanders, can't or won't drink water from a bowl. These guys need a drip watering system, which drips or sprays temperature-controlled moisture into a cage for a few hours at a time. To select the right watering system for your exotic pet, consult your veterinarian.

Reptiles often need a long, shallow dish of water in their cages. They use this water both to drink and to soak in, so it needs to be checked several times a day for dirt or fecal matter.

Just like you, pets need more water when they're exercising. If you take your dog out for a long walk or run, bring along some water for him. Most pet stores sell light, collapsible travel water bowls that are easy to carry.

As dogs age, their metabolism changes and their need for calories decreases. The same is NOT true for cats. Their energy needs stay basically the same throughout adulthood. Obesity is one of the main health problems of middle age (6-8 years of age) cats; it occurs less often by the age of ten, and greatly decreases after that. ...

The protein needs of cats are higher than the protein needs of many other animals. Inadequate amounts of protein in the diet can impair immune function. ... Water - Older cats may not drink sufficient amounts of water, which can exacerbate constipation problems and contribute to dehydration in cats with kidney disease. Getting a cat to drink more water may not be easy. Offering more sources of water and adding flavoring or ice cube to the water may entice some cats to drink more. ...

As animals go, cats require less water than many others, and we often have a difficult time getting cats to drink as much as we would like. Place a number of water dishes for your cat around the house. You can even place the water bowls in some unusual places. Cats seem to pay more attention to things that are different. Vary the types of bowls – low ones, high ones, a drinking glass, a big dog bowl. Again, if it is unusual, cats may try it. Try running water ... Add water to the food ... Fresh water is usually the key.


At least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.

What Causes Dehydration in Dogs? Dehydration occurs when fluid levels drop to less than normal. This is due to either reduced water intake or increased fluid loss. Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather or a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, especially in puppies.

What Are the General Symptoms of Dehydration in Dogs?

* Sunken eyes
* Lethargy
* Loss of appetite
* Dry mouth
* Depression


To understand your cat's water needs, let's review some basic biology. Your cat's distant ancestors were desert dwellers. They got most of their water from their prey—birds and small mammals—which were also composed of two-thirds water. There was little or no need to drink water on the side. … Fast-forward to today's housecat eating commercial cat food. Canned or "wet" food contains a high percentage of water, similar to a cat's ancestral diet. If the mainstay of a cat's diet is wet food, the cat will naturally drink less water, perhaps only 1-2 ounces daily. In fact you may rarely see her drink at all. Dry food, on the other hand, contains only about ten percent water. If a cat eats all or mostly dry food, he or she must drink more—several ounces of water a day—to meet the dietary requirement. ... Feeding your cat an all-dry diet, in effect, places a burden on your cat to drink much more than normal each day. ... Ceramic, glass, or stainless steel bowls are preferred.

How much water does an adult cat need to drink? How much water does a large cat need to drink? I know they do need water, but haven't been able to learn exactly how much. Water Needs Depends on Diet - Cats' body tissues consist of about 67% water. Coincidentally, that is approximately the percentage of water in the prey they catch and eat in the wild. In contrast, dry cat food contains around 10% water, and canned cat food around 78%. Therefore, a cat on an all-dry food diet would obviously require more supplemental drinking water than a cat on an exclusive raw or canned food diet. Likewise, a cat on a combination of dry and canned cat food also needs more drinking water. ...

Keep fresh, clear water available at all times for all cats, regardless of diet - preferably with an automatic water dispenser.

Watch for signs of dehydration. A good test is to pull up the loose skin at the nape of the neck. If it springs right back, the cat is sufficiently hydrated. If it is slow to recede, suspect dehydration.


Learn How to Prevent Dehydration in Feathered Pets, from finches to parrots, exotic pet birds need fresh clean water at all times.

Here's what to do when traveling or illness makes taking adequate fluids a problem. ... Wholesalers who ship pet store birds from aviaries do not provide fresh water in transit. Instead, they leave bits of lettuce, apples, carrots, and grapes in cages to provide moisture. Fresh seeding grasses are also full of moisture, though they may be messy.

Matthew Vriend's Guide to Pet Birds warns against feeding avocado to bird pets, as the fruit contains poisonous substances near the peeling.

Small pet birds become dehydrated quicker than a pet bird parrot. When traveling inside a car, (house pet birds should never be placed in an open truck bed), a pet bird cage should be seat belted in case of sudden stops. A shower of fresh water with a spray bottle will help birds stay hydrated; they will preen and swallow some of the water on their feathers.

Take care to protect birds from chill or drafts. ... Pet bird supplies need to be appropriate for each species. Budgies (parakeets) will not eat or drink if dishes are partially covered, as instincts prevent putting their heads under anything. Most birds will not know how to drink out of the kind of water bottle commonly used for rodents. If pet owners wish to use these bottles, another water dish should be in the cage until the bird has been observed drinking from the bottle.

Most birds appreciate having a shallow bathing dish as well as a drinking cup. ... The Eyes Show Signs of Dehydration - According to Stroud's Digest on the Diseases of Birds, a bird will show signs and symptoms of dehydration in the skin around their eyes. It will be crinkly, and skin on their legs may not snap back when pinched. The bird will have low energy and may be sitting on the floor of its cage looking fluffed up to conserve warmth. Accidental causes of dehydration may be extended traveling without water or a pet owner's forgetfulness. Illness may also cause dehydration. A veterinary consult should be a priority, but some first aid measures are also appropriate. ...

Treating Dehydration at Home - Replace water with pediatric electrolyte solution, if possible. Keep the bird warm with an overhead low-wattage colored electric light bulb or covered heating pad under the cage, or at least by covering the cage with a towel or blanket. If the bird drinks voluntarily, dehydration signs will probably resolve quickly.

For some extremely basic facts on exotic pets:

Medicine Storage for Pets and Livestock from

Medicine Storage: Best Practice

Secure, segregated and safe storage of medicines/remedies and equipment (e.g. needles) is important.

Suitable Storage

  • The medicine store (s) should be of a sufficient size and strength to hold all the livestock remedies on the farm.
  • Store livestock medicines in accordance with manufacturer instructions. Some medicines may need to be stored within a specified temperature range. (e.g. vaccines) and may require refrigeration. Medicines from a refrigerator that were inadvertently frozen should be discarded.
  • The medicine store should not be located in direct sunlight or adjacent to any source of direct heat.
  • The medicine store should be located indoors (e.g. in an adequately lit shed)
Safe Storage

  • Livestock medicines must be kept out of the reach of children
  • The medicine store should be locked when not in use. The key should be kept in a safe location. All farm workers should know the store location.
  • The medicine store should contain a clear warning label.
  • Do not store medicines in close proximity to animal feed. Any medicated feed (if prescribed) should be clearly labelled and stored away from ordinary feed.
  • Dairies are an unsafe place to store medicines, accidental contamination of milk could potentially occur.
  • Do not store medicines near household food (e.g. deep freezes, fridges) in case of accidental contamination of food.
  • Store medicines separately to other farm chemicals (e.g. weedkillers, disinfectants). Animals have been poisoned where farm chemicals were given by mistake.
  • Segregate and preferably remove expired medicines from ‘in use’ medicines.
  • All spillage’s should be removed immediately from the medicine store and disposed of in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
“Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness “ Don Williams, Jr

Recommended Resources:

Food Storage Calculator

Food Storage Shelf Life Quick Reference

One Year Supply Guide

The Ultimate Food Storage Calculator from Survival-Spot

Disaster Planning Calendar from Survival Ring (great checklist for food and preparedness supply acquisition)

Seven Mistakes of Food Storage;

DIY Cardboard Rotating Food Storage Holders: download the cutting instructions

Free Downloads from Deals to Meals

Food Storage Inventory Sheet
The best food storage inventory sheet around! It works like a checkbook—totals on the gray line, and subtractions and additions on the white line. Keep a running total of all the most commonly used foods in your food storage and pantry. This works best when you have your “food storage” in the basement, or in another place, other than your kitchen. Whenever you take food from your “food storage room” and put it in your pantry, you subtract it off your list and assume it will be eaten. This way you will always know how much of each item you have in your supply, and which items you need to stock up on. If there are any items we have left out, that your family uses, write them in on the empty lines.

This sheet also helps you know which foods are part of which food storage categories, and how much you need of each item for a year supply. For example, “Grains” includes more than just wheat and flour, it includes cereal, germade, pancake mixes, rice, instant potatoes, oats, pasta, soup mixes, etc. When we break up the individual categories into foods our family eats, it is much less overwhelming to figure out how we will obtain a year supply. The thought of 300 lbs. of wheat per person/per year is daunting to most, but divide that 300 lbs. into each of those items, then it is much more doable.

Meal Planning Tips & Cooking Calendar
Want to save money on your grocery bill each month? Start planning your meals. Here is a great form to use when planning your grocery list and some easy tips to save you money.

Food Storage Outline
Where should you begin? What is the best way to get your families year supply of food? Here are some of the most common questions and answers on how to get started.

Food Storage Recipes
When obtaining a year supply of food it is important to have foods that will be able to make complete meals for your family. Here are a few meals and easy recipes that will help you know which “staple” items to add to your food storage. In an emergency it won’t help your family to have a few random cans of food. You will need to be able to turn the food you have in your food storage into meals. Here are some great ideas to start!

One Year Supply Guide
Many people feel obtaining a year supply of food is too overwhelming. This One Year Supply Guide will help you know how much you need of each food storage item, tell you the shelf life of each item, and give you other good information to help you begin your food storage shopping. We have broken down how much of each food storage items you will need. For example, ‘Grains’ is not just wheat, it is flour, oats, cornmeal, cereal, mixes, pasta, rice etc. When each food storage category is broken down into smaller groups, it makes it MUCH easier to begin obtaining your year supply of food. Print this form off and keep as a reference when doing your food storage shopping.

72 Hour Kits
How do you put a 72 hour kit together? What should be in your kit? Click here to get a list of items to be put into your family’s 72 hr. kit.

Water Storage Information
Find out the best and safest way to store water, filter water, etc.

Personal Spending Plan & Personal Spending Plan 2 &
Here are two personal spending worksheets to help plan and budget your monthly expenses. These worksheets will help you track and figure out your monthly expenditures. Part of being self reliant is having your families finances in order, as well as having a year supply of food.

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” William H. Johnsen

For more details and information on Water Purification Methods see:

Prep On !

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

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