Water, Drinking, Emergency

Staff Sgt. Sabrina Hauser takes a long drink of bottled water at Bashur Airfield in northern Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Drinking bottled water to maintain hydration keeps the risk of disease down. Hauser is a videographer with the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, SC
Staff Sgt. Sabrina Hauser takes a long drink of bottled water at Bashur Airfield in northern Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Drinking bottled water to maintain hydration keeps the risk of disease down. Hauser is a videographer with the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, SC.

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Military Drinking Water

Water is more vital to health and vigor than even food. Therefore, a steady supply of drinking water is essential for military operations. Depending on the terrain of the operations, local supplies may be safe and available, or water must be supplied. The military has many means of such supplies ranging from truck-mounted water purification systems down to individual water packages issued as rations. For more information on this topic, see Field Hydration.

During World War II and the following decades, emergency water was provided in cans, described by specification MIL-W-15117 for the 10 ounce packaging (photo, left). The grey painted cans were used by the military, in Civil Defense shelters, and for provisioning life boats. The water itself is heavy and the cans made it more so. The cans had limited shelf life due to corrosion and the leeching of the can materials into the water. Modern packaging has improved this situation considerably as with the Water, Drinking, Emergency pouch.

Modern packaging and transportation have made it possible to ship large quantities of water in plastic bottles to supply operational needs in many circumstances. However, in emergency situations, such as an air crew bail out to a life raft, emergency water supplies pre-stocked in the survival kit of the raft may make the difference between life and death.

Bottled water has become a fact of military life as well as one of the essential commodities to be moved in quantity when the military is used for disaster relief. With lightweight plastic bottles replacing glass or cans, many thousands of water units can be quickly moved where needed.

Water, Drinking, Emergency Pouch

Water, Drinking, Emergency Pouch
Water, Drinking, Emergency Pouch.

The current emergency water ration is "Water, Drinking, Emergency", packaged in 4 fluid ounce trilaminate disposable flexible pouches designed to provide a spout. Each intermediate box contains 24 pouches; there are 2 intermediate boxes per shipping carton. Expected shelf life is 60 months (5 years). Emergency Drinking Water packaged this way is referred to as Type I (Disposable pouch).

Finished products meet sterilization requirements of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and are produced under commercial good manufacturing practices as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The pH range may be 6.0 8.0, maximum sodium content 160 mg/L and maximum chloride 250 ml/L.

Water, Drinking, Emergency in the pouch is identified by NSN 8960-01-124-4543. Another form of sterile emergency water is available in a rigid plastic bottle with a screw on lid.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: emergency rations. Then click the Search button.