Prince George County just outside of D.C was going turn off all water in the middle of a summer heat wave with about 12-15 hours notice to all residents to store up water for going without water “days” as well as conserve water while the water pipe is fixed. No info about shutting down water heaters so they don’t keep trying to heat water after they run dry. After public outcry the utilities found a valve that would let them divert water and not shut down the entire county water system.
I suppose some people might consider this a victory at averting a “man caused” disaster. What I see is how a one failure point could have put many lives at risk. One gallon of water a day is not enough water during a heat wave and after doing my own water test, I think you should be planning on storing at least 3-5 gallons of water per person per day for 14 days or more and have a renewable source of water you control, filter and treat to make it safe for drinking. You can always ration your own water down to a gallon a day if the disaster seems to last longer than originally thought. Shutting off the power or gas to a hot water tank would have given people 30-50 gallons of water if the tanks did not simply heat water till they went dry and cause another hazard! You may not get any notice when your water system fails!
I think the best size for water storage if your space is limited is the 15 gallon blue barrels. The barrels weigh about 120 pounds full and are 14 inches across and 25 inches tall. That should fit in your closet easily and if you add a 5 gallon camp jug each person will always have at least 20 gallons at all times. It might be easier to come up with the money for several smaller container one at a time rather than a big barrel. Amazon .com has a collapsible rain barrel for about $35.00 that hold 50 gallons of water and can be stored in a small space if you can’t set them up right away. The water from the rain barrels would have to be treated before drinking or cooking but it will work just fine for flushing toilets or watering plants.
You will need to store water for your pets and have water available if you have livestock. Remember none of these plans even touch on watering your yard or garden though you can use the water you rinsed your dishes in if you use dish tubs to move the water. With the 3-5 gallon plan you will be able to flush your toilet occasionally. You need to plan to harvest rain water any time there is rainfall. By using a suspended tarp or even a garbage bag that funnels water in to container you gather quite a bit of water to augment your supply. The more surface area you have the more water you can collect.
The cities that outlaw rain barrels saying we are denying other peoples water rights exactly what do you think we are doing with ran runoff ? Besides putting it in the ground watering gardens, plants, yards or filtering it for cooking and drinking? We are actually restricting massive water run off during storms and releasing water in a more controlled manner where it is needed. I’m not infringing on anyone’s water rights I’m simply changing the timing of when they get that less than 1 % of water I might be able to divert to my yard or garden. Public utilities are not controlled by the public but by politicians and energy companies. While I consider myself a free market capitalist and don’t mind paying for goods and services these utilities are fascistic monopolies with no competition on prices for the average consumer. If you want to trust politicians, bureaucrats and utility monopolies for something as critical as water, the lack of which can kill you in 1-3 days that is your choice!