What you need to know about storing water

Water is the most important item to store for emergency preparedness. People need water much more frequently than they need food. Here are some facts about how to store water, how much you should store, how to make your stored water accessible, and how to make sure it stays pure over time.

Your household water supply can easily be disrupted by very local issues, such as road work, broken mains, contamination, flooding, or even a plumbing problem in your own home. Water is a vulnerable necessity.

Water is easy and cheap to store in 55 gallon or 30 gallon drums.

It can also be stored in store-bought bottles, but that is a ridiculously expensive way to do it.
Storing water in a drum costs a tiny fraction of the cost of storing water bottles from the store. Walmart sells the large Arrowhead 33.8 oz. water bottles for $1.38 each. To store 30 gallons of water in bottles would cost you $156.78 plus tax. Tap water in a 30 gallon drum would cost you 12 cents. 55 gallons of bottled water would cost you $287.43 plus tax. Tap water in a 55 gallon drum would cost you 22 cents. The cost of the drum and the pump must be added, but they will both last you a lifetime. They aren't disposed after each use like most water bottles.

Or you could fill your own water bottles. But don’t use milk jugs. They are biodegradable and will break down over time. Soda bottles could be used, but they absorb flavors, and whatever was in them first could flavor your water. You might have a cola taste in your stored water if you use these types of bottles. Re-using water bottles might work, but they are mostly made of extremely thin plastic, to save costs, are are intended for one-time use.

Ideally, use polyethylene-based plastics. Blue colored drums means they are food safe and BPA-free.

One person needs about 1/2 gallon of water per day to live, and another 1/2 gallon for hygiene. So, a rule of thumb is to store a gallon of water per day, for each person in your household. Three days of storage will get you through many disruptions. Two weeks will likely get you through a natural disaster. A year of storage would likely get you through a major societal disruption.

When storing drinking water, there are some very important things to be aware of.

1- Don’t fill the water drum using a garden hose. Garden hoses contain lots of toxic chemicals. See this:

Use a hose designed for drinking water! Walmart sells the Camco TastePURE 50’ Drinking Water hose for $18.47, for example.

2- It is very easy to place an empty drum anywhere you want it in your home. Then fill it with water. But the nearest faucet might not be one that you can attach a hose to. However, there are many economical adapters that will enable you to connect your drinking water hose to any faucet in your house.

3- If you use chlorinated water from your faucet, it could store just fine, even for years. In fact perfectly pure water will store indefinitely. Well water and other sources should be treated.

And even tap water should be treated, if there was even a small amount of contamination in your drum. You can ensure that most any water will store well by adding 2 tablespoons of household chlorine bleach to a 55 gallon drum of water. But it will taste of chlorine. And bleach isn't really made for drinking - just because it kills bacteria in water.

The best way to treat water and ensure it will last, when stored in a drum, is to use a stabilized oxygen water treatment. There are several options online, and it costs about $15 to treat a 55 gallon drum. But then the water will taste good, and stay pure for years.
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