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Water Storage - How to Store & Purify Water

In many emergencies, public water supplies may either be disrupted or become contaminated and unsuitable for use. This makes having a supply of stored water, and the ability to get and purify more water, a very important part of preparedness.

How Much Water To Store

Most guidelines recommend storing one gallon per person per day for survival, but two gallons per person per day is probably a more realistic supply. The average person needs at least half a gallon of water a day just for drinking, and that leaves the other half gallon for washing, sanitation, and food preparation. In a situation where you are relying upon dehydrated survival food, the extra water will ensure that you have enough to rehydrate and prepare the food.

While FEMA recommends a bare minimum of a three day supply of water for each family or household member, most survival experts recommend at least a one- to two-week supply of stored water. Keep in mind that water needs will vary depending upon a personís age, size, activity, physical condition, and the climate; very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed. Also remember that children, nursing mothers, and the elderly typically need more water, and that a medical emergency or simple illness can require more water because of dehydration and additional hygiene and sanitation needs. Take a look at our Water Storage Tanks.

How To Store Water

The simplest way to store water is to buy bottled water and keep it stored sealed in the original container. If you can, buy the gallon jugs by the case and leave them in the cardboard boxes to make them easier to stack. Most commercially-bottled water has a sell-by or expiration date 2 years after it is bottled, but all water should be rotated to keep it fresh and tasting its best.

If you bottle your own water, use only clean, food-grade containers. Soda bottles or other containers made of PETE (or PET) plastic work well, as do heavier plastics buckets or drums, if they can be sealed reliability. Do not use milk jugs, because they break down, do not seal well, and because it is almost impossible to remove the milk residue. Do not use any container used for non-food items. Prepare containers by cleaning them well with dish-washing soap and rinsing, sanitizing by swishing them with one teaspoon plain chlorine bleach to one liter of water, then rinsing with clean water.

Some sources say that chlorinated tap water stores fine with no additives, but other water should be treated by adding 1/8 of a teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach to each gallon of water, or 1 teaspoon per every 10 gallons if stored in larger containers. Store the water away from heat & light, in an area where leakage will not damage your home. Rotate water regularly to keep it fresh Ė every 2 years for commercially sealed bottled water and every 6 months for containers you refill yourself. To extend the shelf life of your water up to 5 years, try our Oxy Stabile.

How to Purify Water

Sometimes, you may have to rely on water from a stream or other outside source, or on well or tap water that may be contaminated. In this case, you will need to purify it before drinking. First, clarify the water by either running it through a filter or allowing it to settle and siphoning off the clear water on top, leaving the cloudy or dirty water below. Then, purify the water by heating to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes or by adding 1/8 of a teaspoon of plain chlorine bleach per gallon. Commercial water filters, such as the Katadyn water filter and Aquamira, are also available and do a great job at filtering and purifying water for drinking.
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