*Potable Water*
Figuring Minimum Needs
By Serger

“Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink. Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink.”

That’s what happened to the ancient mariner. Don’t let it happen to you. Most Americans take having fresh clean safe abundant water for granted. Not so in other parts of the world. I hope you can recall during the gulf war when Iraqi mouthpieces talked on the tube about captured coalition pilots. Universal comments they made were, the prisoners were safe, well fed and had plenty of water. Sitting in Denver at the time the phrase “plenty of water” had no meaning. Now living in close proximity to the Red Desert I know precisely what their meaning was. You can die if you don’t drink water! Imagine that. Now when I watch the old Bogart movie “Sahara” I do so with feeling.

How much water you need to get by is a matter of differing opinions. The quantity is dependent on various factors such as climate, amount needed for food preparation, amount needed for hygiene, and your physical condition. One of the pre-eminent actual situations where water played a critical factor in recent history (1948 actually) was the siege of Jerusalem. Basically the Arabs tried to blockade the city in an effort to crush the fledgling Israeli State. The Israelis had one road into town which was under their control. The Arabs had the high ground. The water supply of Jerusalem was insufficient and the remainder had to be trucked in. A lot of people died keeping the city provisioned. A monument to those people is still on that road in the remains of shot up supply truck wrecks which are dark brown.

The Israelis found the absolute minimum amount of water you need to drink, feed and vestigially keep yourself and your site clean was 2.5 gallons per person per day. Livestock was not considered in this calculation because they felt at the time potable water was needed for people. You can do the math. As an example in my case there’s four people in my family including the dog (she’s people, just the four legged kind) and we have 80 gallons in the hot water tanks and 7, blue 30 gallon water barrels. I also have 80 litres in 2 litre bottles for use.

That works out to be 310 gallons +/-.  And at 2.5 gallons a day per person we’ve got a month's worth of water. Actually the dog only goes through about a gallon a day. So we can have a bath on Sunday with her excess. Water’s nice stuff to have, so pour a tall one and think about it.


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