Water Storage

Posted: November 25, 2014 in Food Storage
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Let’s talk about storing water.  I think this is an often overlooked part of food storage.  Even if people think to store water they tend not to store enough.  People just expect clean water to keep coming from the tap.  Water is crucial for most meal preparation.  All those beans and rice you have stored are pretty worthless without water to cook them in.  Remember you need about 1 liter of water per person per day just to drink.  You need about a gallon a day for drinking, cooking, and washing.

The best, safest, and easiest way to get started is to store some water for emergencies.  Lets talk containers.  You need clean containers that will stand up to storage life.  The cheapest thing to use is 2L soda bottles (other sizes work fine as well).  Soda bottles are “over engineered” for water because they are designed to hold pressurized soda.  This is a good thing.  Just take your recently emptied bottle of Pepsi (cause Coke is nasty) and rinse it out thoroughly.  Then fill it up with clean tap water.  Put the cap back on and store it away.  The tap water has plenty of chlorine, no need to add anything to it.  Don’t clean the bottle with soap or chemicals.  You can use a dilute bleach solution to sterilize the bottle – 1 tsp of bleach per liter of water.  This is good practice but if you are too lazy to do it and the result is less or no water stored; then just forget it and get water in bottles!  There is a great saying in prepping and survival.  Keep it simple stupid or KISS.  This definitely applies to storing water.  Just do it.  You can never have too much.

Do not store water in milk jugs.  There are two main reasons.  Number one, they are designed to degrade (lots of them in landfills) and they will get holes in them over time.  Secondly, they aren’t safe to store water.  The milk gets imbedded in the pores of the plastic and will eventually act as a growth medium for bacteria.  You cannot sterilize them.  Don’t do it.

There are a lot of myths about storing the water directly on concrete.  Don’t worry about this.  If all you have is bare concrete floor space the bottles will be fine on there.  There does not appear to be any truth to the myth that chemicals can leak into your water.  If you are worried place them on a piece of wood or cardboard.

I really like these containers (Aqua-Tainer).  You can find them at Wally world or Amazon.  They hold 7 gallons.  Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon.  Therefore these weigh 58.4 pounds.  I find this amount to be about the most I want to be moving around.  They are sturdy and have a nice spigot already attached to the inside of the cap.  Water bricks are great for compact storage and organization.  They are a bit pricey for the amount they store but for you space freaks and obsessive compulsives out there they may do the trick.  They fit together like legos.

There are a lot of good options for storing larger amounts.  50 gallon barrels are a classic.  Just remember that they weigh well over 400 pounds when full and really cannot be moved.  The problem with anything large like this is the shipping cost.  You have to find these locally.  Also make sure to have something on hand to get the water out of the larger containers.  Also remember when filling large containers that you have to use special hoses.  They are the white ones designed for RVs  (Neverkink 50 ft.)  You can’t use a regular old garden hose, they have lead in them.

Lastly, I would recommend you have some way to purify or filter water.  There are only two ways to completely sterilize water.  Boiling and iodine.  Rule of thumb is to boil for 10 mins.  This is overkill but remember KISS.  The major drawback to boiling water is that it is energy intensive.  I am not going to get into iodine in this post.

I like Berkey water filters.  You may need to filter a lot of water for your family.  These are pretty simple.  Fill the upper chamber and let gravity pull the water through the filter element into the lower chamber.  It is a bit slow but it frees you up to do other things.  These are also very high quality filters.  As always get back-up filters.  The old saying 2 is 1 and 1 is none always applies.  There are a lot of other filter options.  I have used MSR and Katadyn backpacking filters.  They work great but are A LOT of work as any backpacker knows.  I have been using Sawyer filters on all of my most recent backpacking trips and they are awesome (and very reasonably priced!).  I think these are perfect for bug out bags (BOB) and as back-up filters.

You can buy purification tablets as well.  There are a lot of options but Katadyn Micropur tablets are the best out there.  These are also great for a bug out bag and as a back-up to the above options.

Bottom line.  Just start storing water in soda bottles.  Grab an aqua-tainer next time you are at Walmart.  When money allows grab a Sawyer filter.  Having a few gallons stored away is exponentially better than nothing.  Start with baby steps and build your comprehensive water storage plan a bit at a time.  Good luck!

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Comments
  1. Appfamnc says:

    Great info on how to get started with emergency preparation!

    Like

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