November 13, 2014

How much water you need

I SEE THAT Californians affected by drought are now having their fresh water rationed. They’re restricted to 50 gallons per person per day. And they’re complaining of hardship. Poor babies.


People who cross oceans on small sailboats mostly use less than one gallon of water a day each, even in the tropics. In fact, if the California ration were applied, a boat doing a non-stop 30-day transatlantic crossing with four crew would need to carry 6,000 gallons of water weighing about 19 tons. An impossibility. Those whining Californians don’t know how lucky they are.


For drinking only, about half a gallon (two liters) per person per day is adequate to maintain good health, but one whole U.S. gallon (3.78 liters) is preferable as a minimum in hot climates, especially if it’s the only potable liquid.


You can, and surely will, get by on less, depending on the outside weather and temperature. But providing between a half-gallon and one gallon a day for each person for the projected duration of an ocean passage automatically assures you of an emergency reserve. You should figure out the number of days to allow for by dividing the distance in miles by 100. You’ll almost certainly cover more than 100 miles a day, but that’s the figure to aim at for planning purposes.  


Good water will remain sweet for at least six months in tightly sealed opaque containers stored in a cool place away from bright daylight. Don’t forget that it’s important to divide your water supply among separate tanks or containers in case some of it should go bad or leak away. There’s hardly anything worse than running out of water. As any Californian can tell you.

Today’s Thought

Water, water everywhere
Atlantic and Pacific
But New York City’s got them beat
Our aqua is terrific!
— Edward Koch, Mayor of NYC

“You’ve got to lose weight. “I’m putting you on lettuce, carrots and green onions for a week.” “OK, doc. Before or after meals?”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

As a California sailor, I approve this essay on water consumption!