Today we’ll discuss how to safely store water in your home…or at least some of the most common methods. However, before we discuss water storage in the home we must first clarify what home water storage is and what it isn’t:
In a previous article we discussed why it is important to store water and how much water the ‘authorities’ recommend you store. We also discussed some additional considerations to help you determine the proper amount of water storage for your needs. If you missed that article you can read it HERE.
Now that you have an idea of how much stored water you want to keep on hand you need to decide which method or methods you prefer. Listed below are the most common options along with the relative costs, benefits and drawbacks of each:
Your first option is to buy bottled or jugged water (not distilled) from a convenience, grocery or big box store. While this option is definitely the safest and easiest way to store water it’s also the most expensive. If you do decide that this is the best storage method for you, shop around to find the sturdiest containers you can. Most bottled water comes in very thin bottles that won’t stand up to much abuse and break down rapidly if exposed to sunlight. While you do have the benefit of buying the size of bottle or jug most convenient to your situation the durability will be an issue if you are forced to bug-out. Additionally, don’t break the seal on a water bottle or jug until you are ready to use it and watch those ‘use by’ and expiration dates. If you regularly drink bottled water, set up a rotation system to keep your storage water fresh.
This water storage method is the least expensive but the most work. 2 Liter bottles are also very difficult to stack unless you have access to the specially made cartons they are shipped in or you build a sturdy enclosure. Essentially, you collect 2 liter soda bottles, wash them out and refill with tap water. See important tips on how to safely do this at the end of this article.
This is a variation of the 2 Liter Bottle Method, but instead of using 2 Liter Bottles you purchase food grade storage contain
ers (I use 55 gallon drums I purchase for $10-$20 each but you could use other size drums, 275 gallon totes or even expensive but purpose made tanks designed for water storage). Warning: only food grade containers that have never held anything but food (see additional considerations at the end of the article) should be used. I purchase drums that were previously used to transport vinegar and spend an hour or so washing each one, inside and out. While this method is a bit more expensive than the 2 liter bottle method it takes much less time and energy…you can even siphon the water out when it’s time to refresh your supply to save your back. If you use this method make sure that you have a way to access your water. I use a hand pump designed to fit the bung on the drum and have a shaker siphon for a backup. Also, don’t forget that you’ll need a bung wrench to open and close your drum. Additionally:
There are also a number of traditional ‘homestead’ water storage options including cisterns, wells, and rainwater storage but these are really beyond the scope of this article and will be discussed in future Prepography articles. However, if you’re considering these option you’ll need to give additional thought to access (pumps, buckets, etc.), protection from pollution, weather variables, and purification (especially if it’s a source you don’t use regularly).
While the storage methods above are the most common, how you chose to store your water is only limited by your imagination. If you’ve come up with a brilliant idea that works for you, consider sharing it with Prepography‘s readers through the use of our Comments tool.