So the next topic to discuss as we continue our Be Prepared series is how to store bulk water! Unfortunately, for many storage options, you can’t just simply fill a container and store it indefinitely. Water does go bad!
So there are some very important things you need to do if you choose to have a water storage supply! We want to protect and preserve our families, and water is absolutely essential. You have to have safe, clean drinking water in any emergency… no exceptions! There are a lot of things you can do without in an emergency, but water is not one of those things!
As a quick review, here’s what we’ve talked about with water so far:
1. WaterBOB – easily store 100 gallons of emergency water supply with this handy dandy item and the storage space required is about that of a cereal box! The investment is less than $25!
2. Lifestraw – a perfect filtering option for 1,000 liters of drinking water from almost any source and it is around $20 and is just PERFECT!
3. Water purification tablets – that allow you to purify 360 gallons of water with a small bottle of tablets for around $6.50 – $9!
All of the above ideas are also perfect for everyone, but especially those of you that said you really have little or no storage for water. This next topic is going to require storage space and we would recommend finding at least a little bit of space somewhere for a few days worth at the minimum! Then combined with the above ideas, you can have a much more sure and secure water supply options available to you.
Ideas and steps to have water storage
First, a goal that we have had and have been doing is that every time we go grocery shopping, picking up a case of water for an immediate, easy emergency water supply. These cost us around $3 each time we shop ($9-$12 per month from our emergency supply budget) and each 24 bottle case will serve our family of 7 for a day! Obviously this requires a good amount of storage, but it is a very easy way to store water. Now the bottled water options are good ones, but they cannot be stored forever, you do need to rotate through your water supply! So keep this in mind and check the “drink by” dates on the water. At the very least, this is something affordable and easy to do!
So now if you are doing to collect and store your own water with containers that you have on hand, find, or purchase as new or used containers, there is a specific methodology needed.
Let’s talk about containers and storage practices that you should NOT do:
- Only use used containers that contained non-toxic or non-chemical products previously. No matter how clean you think it is, this is extremely dangerous. Never use these containers!
- Don’t use plastic bottles or containers that contain a #7 symbol as they will leach BPA (Bi-Sephenal A) and are dangerous.
- Keep your water storage out of the sun for many reasons including what the container is made out of. The sun can cause many problems, including the materials that your container is made out of breaking down and leaching the container material contaminents into your drinking water much faster and much more intensly.
- Don’t use glass. As much as I would love to use glass (as it is much safer for drinking), glass it totally impractical. It can’t be easily carried and it can easily break!
- If you fill with the hose, be sure to use a marine water hose as regular hoses leach lead.
- Do not store your water near chemical cleaners, gasolines, paints or other products that leak vapors. This will contaminate your water!
Our goal is to have a “safe” drinking water supply! Water storage is a bit more labor intensive and tricky than the options we have presented already, but it is still a viable and good option.
So now that we talked about the “don’t” list, let’s talk about the “do” list!
Steps to ensure safe water storage:
- Step #1 – Clean and sanitize your storage containers. Wash them in a solution of hot water, dish soap and bleach and rinse, rinse, rinse! You don’t want lingering bleach smells. So rinse until the smell is gone!
- Step#2 – Fill up your containers with tap water, or outside tap with a marine hose or potable water hose. You need to use airtight containers.
- Step#3 – Sanitize your water storage supply. How…. with the use of household chlorine bleach. I know…. it sounds nasty, but this is a safe option if you use the right formula. To give you the exact right formula, we are using the ready.gov site. This is exactly quoted from their site:
You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.
Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 or 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
- Step #4 – Then store your water!
- Step #5- Replace your water every 6 months by repeating the above steps!
With those 5 steps… you can have a supply of safe, clean drinking water in an emergency.
You can buy specific water storage drums, barrels and containers including 55 gallon, 100 gallon and more for retail prices at about $40 – $80 a container (these are typically those blue barrels, but they will also be a white or black color too!). Well, we’ve seen these used ALL OVER THE PLACE and priced at 60-70% less! For example, you can find them in local classifieds, Craig’s List, garage sales, etc.! Many people in our area sell them used for $10-$20 each! That is quite a savings! So buy them used! But the biggest thing to be aware of is that the container was previously used for. If it was used for anything toxic… do not buy it! So just be sure to ask those questions!
What ideas do you have for storing water for an emergency?