If you listen to everything you read or hear about emergency water storage and filtration it can seem like a daunting task, but it is just water right? With all the different additives, proper storage and proper containers all this different information can lead us to overthink a fairly simple process.
Water is essential for our survival, but water itself does not go bad, water gets microorganisms and bacteria in it that we need to remove to make it safe to drink.
With that being said, in theory as long as we can keep the water from evaporating, what water is stored in is more important than how water is stored.
This doesn’t mean you just grab any empty container in the house and fill it with water, there are still a few factors you need to keep in mind when storing water like rotation, the containers you use, storage temperature and where to find water in a SHTF scenario if you run out.
In this week’s show about finding and storing water for preppers Lisa and I talk about why storing water doesn’t have to be brain surgery, and where you can find water if your storage space is limited.
Finding And Storing Water Podcast
We are also doing something a little different this week (and hopefully more often) with the show, we are publishing the podcast in both audio and video. Some of the videos will be available on our Youtube channel, and some will be available exclusively to Academy members.
(Part 1: Water Storage)
Water Storage Containers
As I said earlier, what you store water in is more important than the additives you put into it. There are certain containers that will work to store water, some that are the preferred method and some that you should avoid all together.
Avoid Glass and Milk Jugs: Avoiding glass might be self-explanatory, glass can break if water freezes or it is dropped leaving a huge mess. Milk jugs are not meant for long term storage, they are made with thin plastic and the milk proteins are very hard to completely remove.
With that being said, milk jugs can be used for gray water (bathing and cleaning) for emergencies, but don’t depend on them for long term storage.
Use Thicker Plastic Containers: Containers like 2 liter bottles or Arizona iced tea jugs are a better option for long term storage because the containers themselves were manufactured for longer term storage. If stored properly these will last for years, but they are usually clear (letting light in) and hard to maximize storage space with.
Store Bought Water Containers: These by far are your best bet, but they do include the added cost for storing water. These are specifically made for storing water long term and there are quite a few options.
- Legacy Foods Water Box
- Water Bricks
- 5 Gallon Water Jugs
- IBC Containers
- Water Storage Tanks
- 55 gallon Water Barrels
What is a WaterBOB? If you live in an area where hurricanes are a possibility you probably already know what these are. A good method of collecting water in an emergency is filling up your bath tub. A WaterBOB helps you keep the water you collected from draining or evaporating, and keep it protected from possible contamination.
Tap water doesn’t necessarily need to be treated when you store it, and water does not go bad, but it can get contaminated. If your water is properly treated and stored it will save you time down the line by not having to filter or treat it before use. Like they say “A job worth doing, is a job worth doing right”
Unscented Bleach: Using unscented bleach might be the easiest and most cost effective way to treat your water for storage. Use about 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water and then you should be able to faintly smell the bleach, if not, just add a little more.
The bleach smell will dissipate over time, so make sure you check before you put your water into storage. Make sure that if you add bleach after it has been stored you wait at least 1 hour before drinking it.
Calcium Hypochlorite (Pool Shock): This actually has a longer shelf life (before use) than liquid bleach and is easier to store, although not as readily available as liquid bleach. This is however a little more complicated than adding bleach to your water. First you need to mix the solution, then you need to add it to your water.
Gaye over at BackDoorSurvival wrote a great article about the entire process of using pool shock to treat water, so have a look at that if you are interested in this technique.
Aquamira Water Treatment (Chlorine Dioxide): This is iodine and chlorine free and can remove 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and cysts, including Cryptosporidium and Giardia. This comes in 2 bottles (1oz or 2oz), will last for 5 years, and all you do is mix even parts of each to your water storage.
Storing Water Efficiently
There is no doubt that water takes a lot of storage space, but it is one of the most important preps we have. Water sometimes gets overlooked because of our easy access to it, but what happens when that is not the case? Here are some ways to maximize your space for water storage.
Water Bricks: These are especially helpful in small homes and apartments. With just the space under beds and in closets you can easily store 200 gallons of water with these. Water Bricks cost about $20 each (3.5 Gal) but if you buy 1 or 2 a month you will have a good supply in no time.
Legacy Water Boxes: Legacy Food Storage has also tried to solve the water storage problem with their water storage boxes. He have these available at the SHTFShop.com and they come with the Aquamira water treatment mentioned above. Make sure and check out our discounts for Legacy Foods here.
2 Liter Water Bottle Crates: I mentioned these in the video and you can find them on eBay for around $5 to $10. If you do use 2 liter bottles to store water these crates are a great way to not only keep them organized, but keep them stored safely.
Pools and Wells: If you have one then it goes without saying that they are a great water source and great for saving storage space. Pools usually have filters, but In an SHTF scenario those filters might not be working and the water will need to be treated before using it.
Water Storage Suggestions
You want to store water at moderate temperature meaning indoors (if possible), and away from the light. The containers that are specially made to store water will be opaque, but the containers that are transparent or translucent like 2 liter bottles will need to be stored away from the suns UV rays.
Storing water outdoors is not out of the question, and sometimes you might not have a choice. If you live in a temperate climate (like San Francisco) you won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures. If you do live in areas where the water will freeze you need to make sure and leave room for the water to expand without breaking the container it’s in.
High temperatures can be worse than cold temperatures because heat and light can cause the plastic to leech chemicals into the water. This article from OffTheGridNews goes into more detail about water storage and containers.
Where to Store Water
Storing water can be tricky depending on how much you need, and if you live in a small home or apartment you might need to get a little creative.
If you get the Water Bricks, the Legacy Water Boxes or even the 2 liter bottle crates you can store water in closets, spare rooms or under beds. Just make sure the containers are sealed well, or you might have a big mess on your hands.
Myths From Preparedness Pro
Myth: Rotate your water storage every 6 months to 2 years.
Nonsense. Do you have any idea how long your tap water is stored before it gets to your faucet? Years, and usually in public exposure scenarios. Water is a universal solvent though–so more important that changing it out repeatedly is making sure you use uncompressed containers in the first place. Use strong, thick, food-grade materials. While there’s no need to change out the water more frequently than every 5 years or so, you do want to make sure that you inspect for leaking containers on a regular basis. Also, if you’re using tap water, then don’t bother treating it UNTIL you use the water. There’s more than enough chlorine and all kinds of other chemicals in that water until you’re ready to filter and use it.
Myth: Don’t store bottled water on cement; it can leach chemicals into your water.
Heated cement can cause a chemical reaction, so don’t store any food or drink on cement that is exposed to the sun or on a portion of a slab that is exposed to the sun. But storing goods on the concrete in the cellar or basement is perfectly fine.
Finding Water When Yours is Gone
In this video we go over some places you might find water when and if your supply runs out. In a short term disaster scenario this might not be an issue, but the longer the event lasts, the more likely your water supply will be gone. This could be caused by over usage, unplanned events or even looters who didn’t have the foresight you did.
Finding Water (Part 2)
Here is the article that we talked about in the video about finding water in the city that goes through some places you can find water. You really need to think outside the box with this and look around your home and neighborhood and see what you can come up with.