You may not realize how vital it is to think about long-term water storage until the unexpected happens and you end up without a reliable water source due to a natural disaster or another catastrophic event.
But think about it, a person can survive for up to three weeks without food, but any human being needs to drink water on a daily basis and can survive without it for only 3-4 days.
Last update on 2023-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This is why thinking about the best water storage solutions is essential for your and your family’s health and wellbeing.
In general, when planning your water storage, you should keep in mind that an average person needs about one gallon of clean water a day to live normally. A gallon of water every day is required for drinking and cooking needs, as well as for hygiene purposes.
You should add additional daily liters if there are more women living with you, pregnant women, or young children.
Plan to conserve water that will last for at least a week in case there is a problem with the city’s water supply to be safe, since it typically takes around 7 days to repair damage to the mains and restore the water supply.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), any household should have H2O storage which can last for three days, for cases like natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, or tornadoes.
For experienced preppers, the amount that should be kept in storage is for at least two weeks, or around 14 gallons per household member.
Of course, the precise amount of water you should keep on hand in case of emergency depends on your location, the hazards involved, as well as the amount of storage space you have.
A good idea is to start small and as time goes by, add more water to your water storage.
How to store the water – long-term storage options
First and foremost, when prepping to store water on a long-term basis, you should choose the appropriate containers for it.
You need to choose a container for water storage that will keep the aqua safe and potable for a long time. Some of the best options include clean glass, food-grade plastic, or in some cases, stainless steel containers.
Storage solutions for two weeks of water supply
If you want to set up a two-week emergency water supply storage for emergencies, there are several solutions you can opt for:
Buying store-bought water
This is the easiest way to build up your two-week storage supply, but it can be more expensive than the others.
Only the essential quantity of bottled water needs to be purchased in order for you and your family to survive for two weeks. As previously indicated, this necessitates purchasing 14 gallons of prepackaged water for each resident of the home.
Packaged water is safe and clear, and well-sealed, and you can store it just about anywhere in the house, garage, attic, under beds, in closets, and others.
With a 48 pack of the 8-oz Poland Spring Original Water, you can ensure that the needs for water for one person are met for 3 days. So, make your calculations and buy enough water to last for everyone, and remember to add some more water if you have a pregnant or nursing mom at home.
Use empty water or soda bottles.
To save money, you can store it in empty water, soda, or Gatorade bottles. All you need to do is make sure that they are clean, and then you can fill them with your tap water. If you have a filtering system, you may want to filter it first before storing it, or remember to filter it before drinking it. When using a soda bottle as a storage container for water, keep in mind that the plastic can retain the taste of the drink, so your water may taste like the drink it used to contain.
Use water jugs of 5-7 gallons.
If you already own larger water jugs, then you are all set with your emergency storage. These 5-7 gallon water storage containers are designed to keep the water safe from any chemicals from the plastic and also to prevent algae growth in it. The 5-7 gallon containers are easy to stack so that you can store them easily in the allotted space for your storage too. Plus, they are also easy to transport, so you can take them with you if you decide to leave your house during a water crisis.
Use glass bottles and containers.
Glass is the most sanitary option, and it can be cleaned and sanitized before you use it to store water. Also, the glass containers will not absorb smells and will not emit harmful chemicals to the water in it.
Find the appropriate glass bottles or water storage containers for your water supply, and make sure you wrap them with newspapers or otherwise secure them from breakage.
Use stainless steel containers.
Food grade or food-safe stainless steel will not rust and will not transfer any harmful elements or chemicals to the water inside it. It is though, among the most expensive options for storing large quantities of aqua. Be careful about storing chlorine-treated water, though, because, over time, it may react with the steel.
It is also one of the heaviest options.
Storage solutions for a water supply for a month or more
Use your bathtub
If you get news of an impending disaster, you can easily fill up your bathtub with water, which can ensure that you have about 100 gallons of water available.
The problem with this solution is that bathtubs are not always properly cleaned or may be cleaned with harsh chemicals beforehand. Plus, there is no lid for your bathtub, so your water will get contaminated will all kinds of pollutants.
But thankfully, there is an affordable solution to this problem. With the WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container, you can easily set this giant BPA-free water bag in your tub and fill it with up to 100 gallons of water. Then you can pump out the water you need via the added siphon pump.
The only problem with this system is that you need to be prepared for the water shortage in order to have time to set it up and fill it with tap water.
Use water barrels
This is a great water storing solution, but it does require sufficient storage space for the large-sized barrels. It also can be a pretty expensive investment.
If you decide to use water barrels, you can buy the Smart Tank 50 Gallon stackable water tank, which comes with a tap and is easier to store, or you can opt for a less expensive one with a lid like the 55 gallon Eagle Straight-Sided Drum.
Remember that you will need a garden hose, or even better, a drinking water hose to fill the water barrels up, and if you use well water that is not treated with chlorine, you should add some chlorine to prevent the growth of bacteria and algae in the water supply in the water barrels too.
Using rain barrels
This is an excellent way to store free H2O for hygiene or other needs. Place the rainwater barrel under your gutter pipes, and add a rainwater collection system if needed to connect it to it, and the rainwater will be collected in them in an eco-friendly and easy way. You can add a mesh cover to keep leaves and other debris from your stored rainwater too.
Using a cistern
If you have a large yard or storage space, and you are ready to make a larger investment for a long-term storage solution, then you may want to consider buying a water cistern system.
You can choose among the different capacity options for rainwater cisterns to ensure that you have 1400 to 12000 gallons of rainwater stored.
Keep in mind, that the rainwater is not potable so you will need to filter it with an appropriate filtering system, like a water filter pitcher, a portable water filtering system, purification tablets or other filtration systems before using it for drinking, cooking or washing. You can also boil the water on your kitchen stove or on a larger outdoor burner to purify it.
FAQs about long-term storage of water
Q: Should I refresh my water supply every year?
A: The answer to this question depends on the type of emergency supply system you are relying on.
In general, pure water has an infinite shelf life The problem with its storage may occur due to biological or chemical contamination of some type.
If your water is properly sealed and stored in a suitable water container, in theory, your supply of fresh water can last forever and will never go bad.
This means storing it in suitable, perfectly sealed containers for water in a dark, cool place away from chemicals, fumes, and concrete.
But if you are uncertain about the safety of the water you have in your storage, you may want to use it up at the end of the year and refresh your water storage supply every year.
Q: Should I add chlorine to the water before I store it?
A: if you are storing pre-packaged bottled water, or are using bottles, jugs, or barrels to store city water, then there is actually no need to add chlorine to it. Bottled water is clean, and city water has already been treated with chlorine.
But if you use untreated well water or rainwater, then adding chlorine when you happen to open it up and use it is a must. You can add 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of chlorine or purchase ready-made chlorine or water purifying drops too.
Q: Should I boil the water from my water storage before drinking it?
A: If you are using rainwater or water from a container or storage which could have been contaminated, then you may want to boil it before drinking, cooking, or washing with it.
But otherwise, your water doesn’t need boiling.
Q: My stored water tastes flat, why is that?
Because stored water has been kept away from oxygen during storage, it can taste strange. Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this problem – just shake the bottle or swish it in the cup to get it oxidized and then enjoy drinking it.
Q: Can I drink the water from my swimming pool in case of emergencies?
A: If you have a freshwater swimming pool which you have maintained properly with chlorine, and have filtered via a reliable pump and filter, then in cases of emergencies or a survival situation, you can drink from it and use it for other needs safely. But remember, to boil the pool water first, just in case.
If the chlorine level in the water of your pool is below 4 parts per million, then it is safe to drink.
Keep in mind, though, that if you are in a state of emergency and are experiencing a power outage as well as a water shortage, your pool’s pump or filter will stop, and thus it will become contaminated with debris and start developing algae and gunk. Also, if you stop adding chlorine to it, it can become contaminated with bacteria and other harmful pollutants too.
A good solution to this problem is to fill up bottles, barrels, jugs, or collapsible water containers with water from the pool as soon as the emergency begins and seal the water to prevent it from spoiling.
Before drinking the stored water, you should boil it or use purification tablets.
If you have a saltwater pool, then the safest way to ensure that you can use its water for drinking or food is to use a desalination device like the SEA Panel.
Q: Can I use any plastic container for storing water?
A: You should use food-grade plastic containers that are clean and which have not contained harsh chemicals or anything else which is not safe to drink. The best containers for water storage for emergencies are UV-resistant as well.
Food-grade containers have labels that look like a triangle recycling symbol with a 1, 2, 4, or 7 in the center. Chemicals may seep into the contents of other plastic bottles.
Blue is often the color of water barrels and water jugs because it inhibits the formation of algae and is recognized as an indication that the contents are water rather than chemicals, gasoline, or other dangerous substances.
It is also advisable to avoid using milk jugs, and also to keep in mind that regular disposable water bottles are not suitable for long-term storing.
Remember, about 60% of your body is made up of water, and you need water to stay alive, so thinking about storing water for emergencies and water supply problems can actually save your life.
So, go ahead and start up your own long-term storage of drinking water at home, and you can build it up and improve it over time.
Hopefully, we have been useful with this advice for water storage options for emergency preparedness, and you will be prepared for the worst if a disaster happens to strike.
Until then, keep up with the preparedness and stay hydrated!