Home Water Storage on a Budget, by KC Seven

There is really no reason why one can’t store a considerable amount of water. If you have access to food grade containers and some potable water from the tap or better, a modest water filter, then one can store copious amounts of water. It just takes a little time.

We are retired and living that “fixed income” lifestyle. Fortunately, we learned to prepare at a fairly early age and spent a little time to store important tools and supplies when we could afford to do so. Then, later in our careers, we found ourselves acquiring a broader array of tools and supplies, most in duplicate and triplicate. We often reflect on how God has been so good to us and continues to bless us in our leaner years. But we do have to discipline ourselves with respect our budget. If you are like us, limited on funds, then you may find this useful.

Living on a lake and having acquired filtration tools I thought little of going down to lake to draw water. Okay, although we’re 70 feet away, we are a couple hundred feet in elevation higher. That makes a direct hike unlikely and leaves us a half mile walk using a gentler grade. Now that I am old and a little crippled with age, the grade that I would need to scale is getting less desirable. In fact I think that in tough times I could succumb to the challenge.

Some types of Schumer Hits The Fan (SHTF) events for which we would be planning might leave us with contaminated water or a disabled municipal water supply. So, for what reason would I store water, except the obvious for human consumption? With absence of abundant water (and for several other reasons) could come a spike in bacterial infection and viral spread as a result of a lack of human or societal hygiene. A topic on everyone’s mind during the COVID-19 panic. Not to mention a dozen other day-to-day uses. Just think about what you are using water for every time you go to a faucet. It’s not hard to imagine a dozen uses for this precious resource.

At one time I considered buying the big blue potable water tanks but it never climbed high enough on my priorities to take the plunge. One challenge would be where I would have space to locate it. The garage was out, for OpSec reasons. I couldn’t reveal to the neighborhood that I prepare to extremes. Then there’s the basement, although there’s room, but water below grade would make it a tough chore to haul up to the main living area when needed. No, there has to be a more compact means of storing that resource in similar volume but portable enough for a small group of Seniors like us (and mama) to have and store and resupply without killing ourselves with 43-pound buckets, going up and down the stairs.

When I price bottled water I find myself discouraged by what I will have to invest to gather up an acceptable amount of water for the uncertain tomorrows. At prices frequently exceeding $1.00 per gallon I just can’t afford to buy a couple hundred gallons. Sure, I am fortunate to have an acceptable environment that will accommodate stacks of water cases in gallons or the impracticable and expensive bottles. And since water is 8.3 lbs per gallon I’d rather not have to carry it around too much. That means storing in several areas in the house might be a good idea. Near bathrooms, kitchen, both upstairs and downstairs. So I chose single gallons as the easiest and most portable, for our needs.

Water Source

In our water district here in middle Tennessee we are charged $10.33 per 10 thousand gallons. That equates to $0.001 per gallon. An equitable deal, for sure. Why should I go out and buy water for one thousand times the price? Fortunately our water is quite drinkable right out of the tap! We do use a Berkey water filter for our cooking and drinking needs, as a bathtub of our water does reveal the chlorine from the processing but in tough times the tap quality would be just fine especially compared to what might be available during hard and infectious times. So I have the water, but now I need containers.

Storage Containers

I considered buying food grade containers but found them cost prohibitive. We buy milk regularly and sometimes juice by the gallon. More than a decade ago I used 1 gallon juice bottles to store a dozen or so gallons of tap water. These were bottles that were washed thoroughly before filling. So when revisiting the stored water several years later what did I find? Water with a pseudo smell and taste of the juice previously in the bottle. A similar result came from the 1 gallon milk jugs I used, with one exception. The odor of the micro organisms still alive in the jug made it much worse. We only use the twist off or threaded containers. Learning to sanitizing these vessels was my next step.

Sanitizing containers

What I’ve learned in the process of sanitizing milk jugs and juice bottles has been leaving us with great tasting and smelling water. And although it’s not store bought reverse osmosis quality water, I’d be happy consume it daily if needed. After all, I grew up drinking out of a garden hose…

The following is my way to sanitize a used container and not necessarily The way sanitizing is to be done. Please check the ever credible internet for a method that suites you. Here’s how I do it:

Disclaimer: When I use the term Bleach in this article I am referring to 5.25% or 8.25% Sodium Hypochlorite or what is commonly known as regular or plain household bleach. DO NOT use the Scented bleaches, High Efficiency bleach, Splash-Less Bleach or any other intended for laundry purposes or those intended for commercial or industrial use! Do not sanitize with bleach if you are allergic to chlorine bleach. And, of course: “…your mileage may vary, see dealer for details, batteries not included, some assembly required.”

1.) Wash: using dish detergent and warm water. Warning, do not use hot water as temps over 110 degrees tend to stretch, disfigure and weaken a milk jug. Scrub in soapy water using a long handle bottle brush. I like to soak the jug in soapy water for a day as well. While scrubbing, include the outside of the jug particularly around the outside threads for the cap and inside the neck area. Don’t forget to scrub the inside of the cap as well.

2.) Rinse: thoroughly and let dry. This step normally consumes around 2 or 3 gallons of water to get all the detergent residue out of the bottle. But at $0.001 per gallon I’m not concerned about breaking the bank.

3.) Bleach: 2 to 3 tablespoons of bleach into the bottle then using tap water fill the bottle. I like to mark the bottle with an S and the sanitize date. Store the bottle for two weeks. This period of time may not be necessary as most micro biology is killed on contact with bleach, but I find it to be a thorough amount of time. Warning: DO NOT drink the bleached water at this stage!

4.) Empty: after the jug has been bleached, empty the bleach water and rinse the jug thoroughly. Set aside and let air dry. Note that if you are on a septic system as we are, bleach down the drain will harm the biological breakdown processes in your septic system. I use the bleach water for other purposes around the shop. After drying there may still be a faint oder of bleach in your jug. This is fine just as there are also trace amounts of chlorine in the municipally treated tap water we consume.

5.) Fill with potable water: Fill the sanitized jug in one of two ways. From the tap if your water is acceptable right out of the tap as is ours. Or, fill the jug using the water filter system you normally use for cooking and drinking. In our case we use the 3 gallon capacity Berkey system which easily fills a gallon jug using the valve on the lower unit.

If you don’t already have a water filter system there are dozens on the market that do a great job of filtering and producing good-tasting water. Read the reviews and comparisons to find one that suits your needs. I’ve found some very good recommendations on survivalblog.com. Several years ago we bought our Sawyer personal filters and the Homespun brand ceramic filter system used in 5 gallon buckets. Other common filtration systems are Brita, Katadyn, Pur or for that matter there are several filters in the $20 range designed for RVs that can get the job done as well.

Treat your water

Although I have stored commercially bottled water that tasted just as fresh and new after twenty five years of storage, for long term storage some sources recommend a drop or two of bleach per gallon. This amount should deter the growth of any organism in your water over time. Experts say up to 8 drops of plain hypochlorite bleach per gallon is presumed safe to consume. Date the jug and identify if “Tap” or “Filtered”, if you choose.

After following frugal steps by using what I have had available to me, I am now comfortable with the amount of potable water we have stored and by using repurposed empty containers it only cost us literally a dime per one hundred gallons.

Thanks for your time in reading this article and remember your neighbors in times of need. A little charity and a gallon of water can go a long way!




51 Comments

  1. Do not laugh, I use my old Gin bottles. They are half gallon plastic, sterile, and no organics or other contaminants. Rinse a few times and fill with R O water. Great to label source and date. If you start with the best water you can get, there is nothing to feed contaminants. They can b placed in any dead spots in your storage area. Easy to transport or toss to waiting vehicle. You will need two of these a day to live, per person!

    Starting with an old milk jug is tough road to go. Try to source containers with little or no organic residue. You cannot sterilize dirt. Not all water will be for drinking. You can be sure the local rivers will quickly become sewers in Schumer days.

    We wont get into how quickly these bottles accumulate, especially during illegal lock-down. I put a few actual unopened bottles in with the others, I might have to sterilize some instruments for surgery, or just having a bad day.

  2. A second way to provide water in Tennessee and other states with decent rainfall. Rainwater collection. Even if it maybe illegal in some state (really!) a smart person can look towards their rain gutter system and have the parts to convert into a collection system. Remember to establish a roof rinse device to the Garden-fruit trees-toilet water (if your on septic) collection. This allows the first rain to wash off the assorted bird droppings and such. An example of the effects of a collection area is for the roof of your house (adapting to the gutters), and let’s say that the roof footprint is 28×40 feet. A 1 inch rain event will yield an incredible 700 gallons of water. If you lose 50% of that to the roof washing system BUT that goes to the garden-toilet water so you STILL use it) a decent rain will fill a 375 gallon IBC tote for use. Adapting that to a surflo 12 volt dc pump system with a solar panel (and battery-controller and such if you like) you can PUMP that water up from the basement for use-filtration in the house. Or you could use the IBC tank as a cistern in the basement and use a pitcher pump inside the house for that lifting. No need for buckets and stairways friends. In my homestead the garden and fruit trees are downhill so simple gravity carries that roof wash water.

    Just remember for want of a nail. Get a surflo repair kit and pump leathers to replace when they wear out.

    1. Just curious. Do you have any links to the roof rinse device or info on creating one? I have a metal roof on my storage building that I want to use for collection.

      1. Hello LL, Try using rain water harvesting in your favorite search engine. Plenty to choose from. Lots of details I did not have time to post in this comment.

        I suggest anybody thinking about rainwater harvesting to research about both the rainfall in your area AND the months it falls along with how to build and maintain a slow sand filter to purify water effectively. That way you can calculate the amount you need to store to get past normal dry seasons. I’ve lived for over a year drinking from a rainwater collection system with a slow sand filter in a South American world country with out issues. The devil is in the details friends.

        What’s that rule of 3’s? Air, Shelter, Water 2+ days with no water or bad water your weak, sick and dying. Food is what 2 weeks before being disabling…

        Water is life.

        1. Food grade 55 gallon plastic barrels can be found for little if you watch and are patient. I don’t think I have ever paid more than $10 for one, and have probably gotten some of mine for free.

          1. I watch Craigslist for food grade barrels. Random posts here and there. Log into Craigslist and then put food grade barrels as something to be informed about when they are listed. I have two that I have had for a few years. Another thing I have gotten is 5 gallon jugs for water coolers. I take them home and fill them with water filtered by my Berkey.

  3. I used the Big Berkey for over a decade and keep a slew of clean milk jugs in the basement. I was on a vacation with bad water a few years back and started researching water. I now get Mountain Valley (the water of Elvis, presidents and Secretariat) delivered to the door biweekly in GLASS 5 gallon jugs. 100 gallons of beautiful 5 gallon jugs lined up in the basement looks and stores better than a tons of plastic jugs .
    Now my water hierarchy is Mountain Valley , then the Big Berkey (with extra filters), then well water .

  4. I store water similarly. I use just about any screw top container from 2 qts up. Soda bottles are for drinking. Bleach bottles are for washing dishes. Cat litter bottles are for flushing, etc. I dump and refill every 6 months at the beginning and end of hurricane season. I am careful to fill them as full as possible with no additives. I will use my Berkey to filter this water if necessary.

  5. I will add to this discussion, that you shouldn’t use the 6 gallon and 7 gallon blue water storage containers you find in big box stores. After 2 to 3 years they crack and fall apart. They also impart a plastic taste to the water.

    1. Hello TexasScout!
      A question… We’re using the Aqua-Tainer brand, and haven’t had this problem. But… We do keep the storage containers in the pantry where temperature is controlled, and there is no direct light. Wonder if this might be making the difference?

    2. I have several of the 3 and 5 gal blue jugs that I’ve had since 2011. Haven’t noticed any cracks but I’ve never filled them as they were part of my business inventory. Is it the water in them that leads to cracking? Additionally, I have quite a few of 5 gal and 1 gal collapsing containers that I would expect to split with repeated use. My main water storage right now is a few 30 gal barrels from Coca Cola. Plus I’ve got close to a 100 five gallon food grade buckets with lids that I think will store water nicely.

    1. You are correct. Leaving Arizona for the summer, I left several jugs of distilled water in my winter home air conditioned to 85F. Upon return six months later the plastic jugs had developed small cracks and half the water leaked out. Those milk jug type containers are for short term use.

    2. Came here to say the same thing. When I first started storing water, I re-used the gallon jugs I buy distilled water (for medical purposes) in. After a couple of years, however, I discovered that they were cracking and leaking. OK, I thought, that’s what I get for storing water in my non-climate controlled garage.

      Well, when I moved to my new house and started storing supplies in my cool, climate controlled basement I started back up with the gallon jugs and also started buying the 2.5 gallon water jugs my local Publix sells, made of the same plastic.

      I was feeling pretty good until the day I came downstairs and found my basement floor covered in water. Yep…even in near-perfect conditions they were cracking and splitting. I’ve since gone to cases of regular bottles mixed in with 6-packs of bottled water in gallons that Costco sells. This of course costs much more than what the article talks about, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where cost isn’t my first concern.

  6. We Americans of a ripe old age have grown to take the cost of clean water for granted, but it’s slipping up on us! In SE TX I pay 12 times the amount per gallon in your article…PLUS a “river authority” fee that equals 25% of the water charge….PLUS a “Regulatory Fee” to pay for the bureaucrats’ BMWs…PLUS something called a “ground water use fee”.

    Of course, I have a well (water prohibited from household use by local ordinance), but now our local overlords are talking about mandatory metering, and charging us for our well water!

    Those of us who regularly peruse this fine site are usually concerned with the actions of the “Federal” government (those who understanding anything about federalism will appreciate the sneer quotes), but the problem is really LAYERS deep. May God help you if you live in a HOA neighborhood within a city limits!! Then you will have FIVE layers of intrusive government in your business, all fully manned by “the occupation army of socialism”.

    When our noble forefathers fought the bloody British they couldn’t strike at the head of government – George Rex III was too far away! However, they struck at his functionaries quite well!

    Stay safe!

    1. Of course, I have a well (water prohibited from household use by local ordinance), but now our local overlords are talking about mandatory metering, and charging us for our well water!

      I think it’s past time to tar and feather the bloody bureaucrats!

  7. You can use the 2 liter plastic bottles that soda (or seltzer) water comes in. It has a secure cap, has clear plastic suitable for solar disinfection, and the original contents have no sugar or other food likely to support micro organisms. I have some nearly 10 years old and no cracking or leakage.You can put a couple of drops of bleach in each and store them in a cool dark place.

    1. Another advantage of 2 liter bottles is that they are relatively earthquake proof, if stored on lower shelves. In an earthquake, they may fall off of shelves, but will just bounce around.

  8. I put out a call to my friends and neighbors for 2 liter soda bottles. For OPSEC I told them they were for crafts, and made a few “bowling” sets that I returned to them, their kids love them. I wash and sterilize with bleach then fill and date and store in the basement on shelves. Also the back wall in base cabinets works well. One of my neighbors uses the green jugs of cat litter, I rinse and fill those for toilet and laundry. I line them around the walls in living and bedrooms, and behind couches and overstuffed chairs. I buy sheets from secondhand stores, fold them and tuck a little behind the jugs, over the top and let hang to the floor. This keeps the dust off and maks them less obvious. Also you can lay lumber as shelving on top and set light things on them, I display a basket collection on mine. I dust a little diotomacious earth or pyrethian powder behind the jugs to keep spiders from moving in. Note: don’t put on back wall of hanging wall cabinets as they are far too heavy for that. also if using to flush toilet, pour the water into a pail so you have enough volume to make the flush work. and less splashing. I fill the tank in the guest bathroom so the toilet functions ” normal” as guests sometimes just don’t “get it” and melt down if they have to pail flush. Prayers for safety and patience to all.

  9. Don’t forget swimming pools! They hold huge amounts of water, you can cool off in the summer and have the security of a larger water source and they look perfectly benign to neighbors. With proper treatment the water is as safe if not safer than public water systems. Treat it and drink it.

    1. I had an above ground pool until moving last year. Just a simple 3 x 18 Wally World cheapo.
      That’s quite a few thousand gallons of clean water!

      Now we’ve got a year round creek in the back yard with not a lot of people upstream.
      With the rain falling right now, our garden is getting watered and the creek is flowing nicely!

      1. Tom, our pool is only while we can stay here the house, I know many people who will not have a secondary location so for them it can offer some security. We are blessed to have an artesian well elsewhere into which we have installed a holding tank for purification purposes, mainly to avoid lepto-sporidium since it flows from surface rock.

        We hear that the NW states have laws preventing water collection, do you have to worry about that?

        1. No worries on rainwater collection where I’m at. I believe Portland has an ordinance against it, and folks have been stepped on by that city for doing it.
          Thankfully, I’m ~30 miles away from that socialist city.

  10. A couple of thoughts; the 1 and 2 liter pop bottles make a great size to put charity size donations of rice, beans, and grain etc. into. As for moving water from a lake or stream, I am not about to lug it up a hill. There are 12/24 volt well pumps available on amazon for about $75 add a 12/24 volt solar panel up to 120 watts and you are good to go. These pumps are a knock off of the $750 Shure Flow diaphragm well pump. I have installed a bunch of these over the last few years and have never had a failure. At full flow-24 volts they will pump 140 vertical ft. at 1.6 gallons per minute at 12 volts slightly less than 1/2. Add a couple more panels and a deep charge battery and pump 24 hours a day if needed. Here is a work around if you have a well that some well driller installed a 4 in casing liner in, they will not fit, I take them and with my lathe turn the plastic housing down enough so they can be installed into 4 inch PVC pipe. A word to the wise if you are having a well drilled and it requires a liner insist on 5 inch or larger liner. Since these pumps use 1/2 inch poly tubing they are easy to install and remove. I have even stacked 2 together with check valves and separate wiring to so I can switch over in the event of a failure or use both to double the flow rate. Since they are submersible I would put them below the water level but above the bottom with a float and anchor if used in a lake to make them hard to detect and avoid sucking up mud, if in a stream cover them with rocks. Remember that 2 is 1 so buy a couple of spares. For those of you with a RV, or trailer set one up with a hose fitting and you can fill your water tanks if need be by powering the pump off your 12 volt house battery, Stay safe everyone.

    1. Hey Joe, great minds think alike. 🙂 I was mentally designing a similar system when I got to your post. In a TEOTWAWKI situation if they’re on city water, the lake is going to be the best way to go. Can you provide a link to some specific pumps on Amazon that you’ve had success with? I’m still looking at various SHTF options for my well.

      1. Here is the type I have been using https://www.ebay.com/itm/24V-Submersible-Deep-DC-Solar-Well-Water-Pump-Solar-battery-alternate-energy-USE/231210651048?hash=item35d53a8da8:g:otwAAOxyKh5SA7UW

        There appears to be a lot of gouging going on since nothing is coming in from China at the moment. They were selling for $75 about 6 months ago when I ordered 2 for my own use. This one says it is 24 volt but they will pump at 12 volts, lower head and volume. they run about 1,8 gallons per minute on 24 volt.

    2. This sounds like a good way to go for the money, and could help out a lot of folks. Even if you have a well, an alternative way to pump water is a good idea. I’d like to take a closer look at it. I’d like a back up to my Dankoff pump. Do you have a link or brand name to make sure we can find it? Thanks!

  11. A really good 2nd hand container for water is the cardboard boxes of wine. They are typically 5 quart bladders inside. Open the top of the box, take out the bladder and they can easily be filled in the sink. Set the water flow on low, about a 1/4 inch stream of water. Open the valve in the bladder and place the opening squarely under the stream of water and it begins to fill. put in a pint or so and slosh it around and drain it a few times and then fill with 5 quarts of water. Place the bladder back in the box with the outlet valve tucked inside as it was when purchased and store it on a shelf. I use a little glue on the box top to make it more secure for storage and use. They are easy to carry, easy to dispense and easy to store. You can stack them standing up or on their sides. They are surprisingly tough and easy to use for water storage. On a trip two years ago I was spending some time in the desert with an SUV and wanted a emergency supply of water in the vehicle. I filled two of these boxes and threw them in with the spare in the tire well where they survived thousands of miles a lot of it rough road.

  12. “your mileage may vary, see dealer for details, batteries not included, some assembly required.”

    I got a really nice chuckle from that. I “heard” a fast talking deep voice in my head.

    Thanks!

  13. I’ve had good luck with the gallon jugs that nut milks come in as they are thicker and seem to last longer than those used with commercial dairy milk, possibly due to the longer “use by” dates nut milks seem to have compared to dairy milks, months vs weeks. (I love my cheese and butter but prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk for drinking.) I use the 2 quart V8 juice bottles, too, as they are also very sturdy and I have yet to have one spring a leak after being stored for up to five years.

  14. My well water is full of iron so I have 3 gallon clear hard plastic water jugs from walmart, I fill them at the local City Water coin op dispenser for 75 cents, then once home I add a dropperful of colloidal silver, it keeps the water pure and fresh, our pioneer ancestors used to throw a silver dollar in their water barrel when crossing the plains. Have been using the same 4 jugs for 2 years, never washed them inside, and the water is fine, never grows algae or has any smell. I also have installed 55 gal barrels with downspout diverters at each corner of the house, off one decent rain shower I can fill all 4 barrels, use them for watering the garden and the trees. If I had a buried 2000 gal tank with a foot pump I’d never have to worry, oh well, hindsight etc..

  15. There have been a few comments that milk jugs don’t last very long, that is definitely true. But for many people, there aren’t many viable options. The simple solution is to use a sharpie to write the “D-date” (d = discard) on the jug so it can be replaced by then.

    Most of the time when my kids were growing up, we couldn’t afford juice and didn’t drink soda so milk jugs were the only freebies we had access to. After discovering they only last for so long before they start to leak out the bottom and cause damage, we would simply keep them rotated. We had more than enough milk jugs to do that.

    Nowadays, I use milk jugs in my pantry (one jug each) to store my rice, brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, and wheat for sprouting. They are great for dispensing rice and quinoa into the measuring cup that came with my rice cooker and I can write instructions right on the jug.

  16. KC Seven – You mention Opsec as a reason to not store in your garage, but a 275 gallon IBC (aka “tote”) could be concealed by draping with a blanket. Totes can be purchased new, refurbished with a new plastic tank, or just cleaned (cheapest option, and satisfactory if previously used only for food-grade contents).

    Totes typically come with a camlok style discharge port, and adapters are available to convert this to a hose faucet.

    Photo: https://www.ntotank.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/1864x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/n/t/nto-tank_t275_1.jpg

    Or, as Michael mentioned, locate the tote in the basement and pump the water upstairs.

  17. Most milk jugs are cheap plastic that will crack or break down.

    I’ve had good luck with “Arizona Ice-Tea” 1 gallon plastic bottles. They have handle on them and are made from really thick plastic. Way better and stronger than milk jugs. Been saving those along with “Simply Orange” bottles.

    But check out the Arizona bottles as they are perfect for this.

  18. Life itself is a risk. Anyone storing water, should ensure >clean water, when the stored water is finally used.
    SurvivalBlog has good information about Water Filtration Systems. The advertisers on SurvivalBlog sell quality equipment to filter water at home.

    Even setting up an unsafe system for ~only bathing and showers, could also promote Legionnaires’ disease, which obviously creates an unacceptable risk. The bacteria enters the person through the lungs in fine drops of contaminated water.

    Do your research first. Two links to >start: 1. Legionella (Legionnaires’ Disease and Pontiac Fever) from CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2. Wikipedia article about: Legionnaires’ disease.
    **********

    Water systems treat water for a reason; there are more risks than just Legionnaires’ Disease. … Where I live the tap water is polluted with farm chemicals. [I use a gravity fed water filter system kept in the refrigerator.]

  19. Water! Water! Water!

    Such an important topic, and an excellent article too. We have stored water in Aqua-Tainers, and those have worked really well. They’re “squared off” and so easy to tuck into corners or along a back wall in the pantry. We also keep a stash of sports bottled filled, and in the fridge.

    Labeling and dating jugs is a great suggestion!

    Our water passes through a whole house water filtration system, and then again through a secondary system under our sink. It’s probably excessive, but we’re serious about clean and safe water sources. In addition to fine filtration, we have added a UV light feature. Since we live in a mountainous area and must consider radon, we have also aerated our water filtration system.

    We’ve saved the usual water sized bottles for use in the freezer. Since part of our garden is in a greenhouse, and we use several hydroponics systems, we keep these to bring down the temperature of the water used to feed the plants. This helps to make the nutrients more bio-accessible (alongside pH regulation).

    One of our wells has a hand-pump feature as a back-up, and we have lots of creek, stream, and spring access too. For anyone searching for a retreat, these are great advantages, and may be a strong consideration.

    Rain catchment or rain harvesting is something we’re working. We have installed gutters on the greenhouse, and want to collect rain water for garden use in a rain barrel or maybe an underground tank. This is an idea still in development.

    Among our other water related supplies are all kinds of filters, chlorine tablets, and more. We also keep propane tanks and a gas grill at the ready should we need to boil water for safe consumption.

    We have very much enjoyed this contribution, and all the discussion posts. We hope everyone will look carefully at this aspect of their preparedness. Next to breathable air, water is critical to survival.

    1. T of A, I have also been thinking what you said, “We have very much enjoyed this contribution, and all the discussion posts.”

      This thread has brought out much of the best of SB readers–generosity. Acting like a village to support each others’ surviving, and thriving. I am so grateful to be in your company, fellow travelers.

      For my part, rainwater is where I get most of my water. I drink it, unfiltered. With awareness, for sure. My research tells me the greatest danger from rainwater is bird poop carried e. coli. So, I allow that first rain to cleanse the roofs before drinking the heaven-sent bounty. The cool thing about this is I save that first water for the garden.

      Carry on in grace

  20. Nifty article, thank you.

    Similar to Chilton we use Arizona Ice Tea jobs after we rinse them well. Those jobs are thicker plastic.

    Most of our stored water are larger blue Coleman 5 gallon jobs. We have 4-6 of these with the spigot because they work next to the sink to use for inside dish washing.

    Water storage is not the entire solution. The containers need to be a mix of water storage in bulk, water storage in a manner that allows it to replace a sink faucet (just mentioned above), water storage that can sit on a tow hitch rack (those can be same shape as gas cans and the run a cable loop through the water jugs and water cans etc). In other words, imagine yourself re-reading “Patriots” book and how these scenes evolve. Driving to a camp is one type of storage, being totally at home is another type of storage, etc.

    Walmart sells high quality 55 gallon drums. Costco sells 55 gallons drums with a drum spigot and drum wrench. If you have the space, these work really well but only if you have the drum siphon/spigot feature.

    From a medical perspective, please avoid milk jugs. Even the smallest residue left can make you sick and as several readers noted, the thickness of milk jugs was reduced a few years ago. Really don’t recommend that and any cleaner that is strong enough to truly remove the milk film degrades the thinner jug wall.

    Finally, I like the idea of 2 liter clear bottles. Note, this also works to clean pond water. Fill the liter bottle with water, leave in the sun for 8 hours and UV light will clean it with a few exceptions. This will work if you don’t have bleach or other minute tiny quantity water disinfectants.

  21. I used milk jugs in my last house. Good cheap city water, the jugs fit tight on the shelf in the basement, but the jugs would leak over time. I bought the 3 & 5 gal jugs at walmart in this house. Well water, tests good, but I don’t trust for drinking and cooking. I fill the jugs at a machine at the grocery store for $0.40 a gallon. Carbon filters, RO, and UV sterilization. The blue jugs take up space. Eventually they will become to heavy for me to fill them all the way. For emergency water I save 1/2 gal juice bottles, very sturdy, and clear 2L bottles. The 2L bottles can sit in sun to sterilize. I can fill them from the well or the creek in the back yard. For emergency water I keep a 55 gal drum of water in the garage with water from the well. It doesn’t take up much space for storing 55 gal. I dump and refill the drum every year or two. The last couple times I put unsented bleach in it and I’ve been able to smell the bleach when I open the barrel the next year. For the creek I have ceramic filters, sawyer filters, other microfilters, and an MSR clorine generator. Eventually I’m going to build a water purification unit similar to what the military uses. I have a design and I’m collecting the parts. I’ll write an article about that one if it works out. I also have two of the 330 gal totes that I fill with rainwater. I use them to water the yard and garden. The water always has algae in it. The plastic lets too much light through and the plastic container doesn’t hold paint on well. They need a house outside. The water could be purified, but that’s one of the last resorts. UV kills the blue plastic tarps, but I may try the black plastic next.

  22. Our emergency water storage system consists of different levels. For short-term drinking, cooking, hygiene, we use stacking 5- and 7-gallon water containers, total 54 gallons, stored in a cool dark space in a basement storage area. For longer term, we went with a new 200-gallon poly tank that is set up in the utility room of the basement. The stored water is replaced each year with an sufficient amount of laundry bleach for purification. All stored water for drinking and cooking will be filtered with our Berkey system.

    This is the tank: https://www.plastic-mart.com/product/471/200-gallon-vertical-plastic-storage-tank-41856

    We are fortunate to live about an hour’s drive from the manufacturer’s facility and a nearby dealer, so we saved the enormous cost of shipping.

    Additional water storage for flushing toilets (we have a septic tank system) are the bathtubs. Our strategy for their use is to fill one tub if the electrical power is out for more than three hours; the second one is filled if the power outage exceeds six hours.

  23. Just found this quote in my inbox. I like it…you?

    “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”
    —Bob Kerrey (born 1943)
    American Politician

    Carry on, in grace

  24. I was fortunate to receive 3 thirty gallon barrels from Coca Cola that I use for water storage. Additionally, I’ve got a bunch of 1 gal and 5 gal collapsible storage jugs. As a backup I’ve got close to a 100 five gallon food grade buckets with lids that I think should work well for water storage. They are new so there is no residue in them. I’m thinking if the lids seal well enough for food they should work fine for water too..?

  25. We are near the outskirts of Eugene Oregon.
    Oregon has aggressive recycling standards.
    We visit laundromats to collect empty bleach jugs, non-scented.
    We fill these with RO water.
    We like quart and half-gallon jugs because they are tough and portable.
    Can you imagine a merchant dealing with leaking bleach jugs?
    For our purpose, small jugs isolate contamination.

    Oregon’s farm and ranch suppliers sell 275-gallon IBC totes.
    Flavor venders such as honey transporters — GloryBee in Eugene — sell these.
    Some are stainless steel.
    These are farm-tough although less portable… and harder to clean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.