The Best Way to Store Water Part 2

Now that you have decided how much water to store, how do you store it and how long is its shelf life.  In theory if you put clean drinking water into a sterile container it should store indefinitely.   In reality it is hard to meet these requirements.  The method, I use is to put tap water into clean containers (I am on a municipal water system).  I then add a small amount of chlorox, 16 drops per gallon as a safety measure.  I then seal the container.  I know the chlorox will only last from 6 months to a year, but it will destroy any bacteria in the container and as long as it is sealed from contamination the water should be good.

The types of containers you can use vary greatly.  Suggestions include 2 liter soda bottles, they are tough and will last almost indefinitely.  Some juice contains are excellent.  Stay away from plastic milk bottles, they break down over time and will leak.  Military five gallon cans are a good choice.  One advantage to them is that they have a strong handle.  If you have to carry water some distance you can run a piece of wood or metal through the handle and two of you can share the load.

5 gallon container, setup for two person carry

Fifty five gallon barrels are good, but make sure they are food grade and have not been used for other purposes.  The disadvantage of fifty five gallon barrels is that they are hard to move.  There are many good choices for larger containers including the 275 gallon cubes and the 2500 gallon irrigation tanks.  I know people who have connected these larger tanks into their water system to rotate the water.  The only disadvantage to this is that if the water system becomes contaminated it can affect you.

55 gallon barrel, blue is a good color for helping to prevent algae

Where to store water, I know a gentleman who fills every 2 litter soda bottle he can get his hands on and throws them into the crawl space under his house.  Storage is often only limited by your imagination.   If you have a water bed and intend to use it for water storage, be careful of the chemicals, they add to prevent mold and algae.  If your container will be exposed to light, a dark container is better.  This will prevent the growth of algae in the container.

Always have a good backup plan to filter or purify your water in case your water becomes contaminated.  There have been several posts on purifying water on this site. You can find them by clicking on water purification in the categories section or by doing a search on this site.  In the future I will post more on water.


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7 Responses to The Best Way to Store Water Part 2

  1. captsven says:

    I’ve had good luck storing water in 1/2 gal. juice bottles. I rinse them out with hot water, then put in a tablespoon of bleach and refill them with hot water. After they have cooled I dump them out and refill, this time with cold water and 2 drops of bleach. I fill them completely up, loosely cap them and them then gently squeeze out all the air then tighten up the cap. I’ve been storing them for five years this way and I randomly pull one out to test flavor and smell every 6 months. So far I haven’t had any problems. Just keep them in the dark and cool and you’ll be set. If you’re new to prepping and trying to figure out where to start, start with water. Bleach, iodine crystals, and Berkey parts, oh my!

  2. joseph nuttall says:

    you can use the clear plastic juice jugs and bury them in in the ground wrapping them in a good quality tarp and this can be done anywhere. making sure if its on govt. land you dont get caught. using terrain features.shoot a back asmyth with a compass. years from now when you need it you can locate it easy enough. you wont be sorry

  3. Stephanie says:

    We are planning on using some used glass coke bottles for storing water. Should I still use some bleach in them? Also, where is the best place to store water? Cool and dark?
    Thanks in advance

    • admin says:

      If you are putting clean tap water into the bottles I wouldn’t use bleach. Cool and dark is always best. Since you are using glass bottles what type of lid are you using? Do the bottles seal well?

      • Stephanie says:

        We buy the mexican bottled coke from Costco (it has the real sugar) and we found some bottle caps online (with an oxygen barrier and liner). We are going to be using a hand capper to seal the bottles. We also have some of the root beer bottles from Costco too that we might use.
        Do you see any problems with this or do you think it should be alright?

  4. Haden_A! says:

    Thanks for sharing this easy yet amazing method of water storage.I think it is fairly feasible to do. What are the other backup plans of purifying water? Can you suggest some post of your highlighting them? Would love to read.
    Great article 🙂

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