Have you ever had to turn off the water to your house while a plumbing repair was being made? Depending on how long the water was going to be off, you may have filled a pitcher with water, planned non-water-requiring tasks for during that time, or done other things like even leave the house so that you weren’t as inconvenienced. If anything interrupts your water supply and you haven’t planned ahead, it can be a real problem.
We are used to having safe drinking water so we usually don’t think about it much, but given that our body uses water in so many important ways, it is crucial that we make sure we get the water our body needs. It is crucial that our emergency preparations include storing water.
How does your body use water? Well, first of all, it is important to remember that your body weight is roughly 60 percent water. That’s a lot! Let’s see where that water is, and what it does for your body.
First of all, let’s look at the digestive process. Saliva, which is primarily water, contains enzymes that help break down the food we eat as we chew. There is also water along the intestinal tract, helping it transport fecal matter. Water helps dissolve the nutrients and minerals in food, and makes nutrients and minerals more absorbable in the body. Water also helps you digest fiber, which aids in bowel and digestive health. Your body also uses water to remove waste through urination and defecation. Those processes require water to help flush out the waste, using the kidneys, liver, and intestines. Water helps your body move the food along the intestinal tract, and also helps keep your stools soft.
Your body also needs water to aid in regulating temperature. When your body gets too hot, some of the heat goes into the water in your body, which is then given out of the body through your skin as sweat. Sweating is an important purpose of skin, and is a body process that requires water.
Water also helps your body’s tissues by keeping them moist and lubricated. Water keeps your eyes, mouth, or nose properly moist. You also need water in your brain and muscles (75 percent water), blood (92 percent water), and even in your bones (22 percent water). And water is a lubricant for your joints, as well as helps protect your spinal cord. Water also is a large percentage of the fluid that cushions your organs and helps protect them from injury.
How much water is needed? The amount a person will need differs based on age, health conditions, activity level, climate, and diet. Some of this water needed can be offset by other forms of liquids: juices, soups, beverages, and foods with high moisture content. But you will also need water for preparing food and for hygiene purposes. If a lot of your food storage is in dehydrated form, you should take that into consideration, as well. Children often need more water. And pregnant or breastfeeding women also need more water, as the water their body naturally uses for these important functions is increased. Also, remember to plan ahead for your pets’ needs, too.
A good initial goal is to store one gallon of water per person, per day of anticipated need, and for pets, one quart per day.
It is important to remember that there are times your body may need more water than usual. If it is hot, or if your body is fighting infection, or losing fluids through vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to be taking in more water to build that fluid back up again to a natural level.
Water is crucially important to our bodies, and will still be vital in a crisis. If you plan ahead, you can have enough water on hand to enable your body to continue to function as it should.