Myths and Facts of Water Storage

Tap Water photo c/o

Tap Water photo c/o

Water Storage Myth: Treat your water and then store it. Water Storage Fact: Actually, if you use regular tap water, it’s already treated. There’s no need to add any additional chemicals to it when it’s just going to be sitting in a container. If your water needs treatment, do so at the point of using it, not prior to storing it.

Water Storage Myth: Don’t store your water barrels on cement. Water Storage Fact: Actually, there’s always a missing component to this myth. The key is not to store your water barrels on HEATED cement, and even that’s questionable advice. To store your water in your basement on the cement floor is just fine. There’s no need to make your barrels less stable by putting them on 2 x 4s. Cement only leaches chemicals when it gets hot. If you’re going to store your water in your garage, where the sun heats up the connecting driveway cement, then yes, I’d consider raising your barrels up on floor boards or such. Water Storage Myth: Stored water tastes bad. Water Storage Fact: Stored water is merely lacking oxygen. You can get it back to tasting great simply by pouring it back and forth a couple of times between a couple of pitchers, or glasses. This will infuse oxygen back into your water.

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

Water Storage Myth: I’ve got a pool out back for our water storage, so I don’t need to store any otherwise. Water Storage Fact: One who has this opinion is taking a big risk, one which I would not venture to take. It’s presuming that no animal waste, nuclear waste, or other biological poisoning will enter the pool water. Also, if there is a water shortage in your area, and your big pool is out there for all of the desperate folks to see, you’re simply begging for some dangerous self-defense scenarios. You might as well leave your car doors unlocked with your wallet on the front seat. In the event of a real emergency, I would ALWAYS recommend that families store water as well as presuming that their pool water supply will be available, thus preventing it from outdoor contaminates and ensuring that you have water to survive in the event of all possible scenarios. Water Storage Myth: I have iodine tablets and I know where the river is. Water Storage Fact: You and everybody else. Just how long do you think that river supply is going to be available to you and your family? How useful will that river supply be to you in the event of a flood? Iodine tables don’t do too well with cleaning out home and body parts. How much vital physical energy will it take you to fetch enough water for you and your family to survive long term? People who have this attitude sure are taking a huge gamble. Remember that conserving your own physical energy should be your first priority in an emergency. So purposefully putting yourself in a situation in which you need to work hard for water is short-sighted. Also, you’re assuming that your iodine tablets will take care of whatever is in the outdoor water, regardless of what it’s been exposed to. (See previous myth/fact example) If you have water stored in quality containers in your home, you can save your physical energy for other more important tasks, and you will ensure that your water supply is protected and is YOURS. Not only that, but chemical treatment of water is not the safest.  Heating your water, such as boiling it, is by far the safest method of treating your water. You’re also assuming that you won’t be quarantined and that the streets will be safe to travel.

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

Water Storage Myth: Boil your water for 10 minutes in order for it to be safe. Water Storage Fact: Actually, you do not need to boil your water. Boiling the water is actually a waste of precious fuel. Water boils at 212 degrees. However, getting your water to a heat of 160 degrees for 30 minutes will kill all pathogens, and 185 degrees at for only 3 minutes. This is true even at a high altitude. (Note that my preferred way of heating water is in a solar oven. No fuel waste!) Water Storage Myth: You only need 2 weeks worth of water for your family. Water Storage Fact: Two weeks is only enough to get you from one point to another. Long-term survival will require a year’s supply of water. The magnitude of a disaster which would create a long-term water shortage, would also require 3.5 years of repairs in order for you to have the kind of water access you are accustomed to now. So really, a one year supply of water is still a minimalistic “get-us-through-until-we-can-find-a-good-well-or-other-water-supply” kind of storage. And besides, if you’re not storing a year’s supply of water, no one else is. So now let’s compound your problem exponentially in your community and discover just how fast the “native get restless.” Water Storage Myth: I don’t need to drink a gallon of water a day! Water Storage Fact: The recommend amount of one gallon per person, per day is not just for drinking. It’s for bathing, (as hygiene is critical), sanitation (you gotta manually flush your stuff in an emergency, folks), medical (some instances require more drinking water than others), cooking, and cleaning. Next time you think one gallon of water a day sounds like a lot, measure how much water you put in the pot when you boil water, wash your dishes, or wash your clothes. It’s a LOT more than you think! Also, your kidneys process the equivalent of 400-500 gallons of water per DAY! If you don’t feed your body new water, then the old water ends up looking like nasty oil in a car that hasn’t been changed in 10,000 miles. When times are tough, you don’t want to try and use that kidney of yours as a commercial slime filter, do you? Water Storage Myth: Food is more important than water. Water Storage Fact: Nope. You can go several days without food. You cannot live without water for longer than ONE day without seriously beginning to tax your body. It only goes downhill from there. Without water, your muscles lose their elasticity, your organs shut down, and your senses are dulled. None of these are situations you want to occur during an emergency. Water Storage Myth: I don’t need water. I’ve got a year’s supply of Gatorade. Water Storage Fact: Liquid intake is not the same as water intake. The moment you add ANYTHING to your water, your body no longer takes it in as water. It has to process it, filter it, and THEN use what water is left in the liquid before it benefits from it. If your body has to work hard to process the liquids it takes in, it’s using more vital energy. In a perfect world, your water drink for refreshment would consist of distilled water, as that’s what you body can use the most readily.

Don't Store Water in Milk Jugs! photo c/o

Don't Store Water in Milk Jugs!

Water Storage Myth: "I’ve got 2-liter bottles, old milk jugs, and juice bottles full of water. I’m set." AND "Don't reuse soda pop or juice bottles for water storage. They leach chemicals" Water Storage Fact: A blanket statement cannot be made on this matter and still be accurate. So let's clarify. The FDA requires that the plastic used for juices and soda pop be food grade in anticipation of plastic leaching into the contents. However, constant exposure to 80 degrees+ is required to initiate this breakdown. Additionally, the Society of Plastics Industry have provided us with a rating system which tells us what kind of plastic we're dealing with. It's perfectly safe to use plastic containers which have a "PET or PETE" classification so long as you do not repeatedly empty, wash with warm, soapy water, and then refill again and again. Use the soda pop or juice if you will, and then fill it with tap water and then store it for ideal storage and health conditions. Milk jugs, on the other hand usually have an  "HDPE" rating and are not suitable for long-term water storage use.  Reusing 2-liter and gallon juice and soda bottles is certainly better than nothing and they help you to make use of the wasted space that some of our other packaging and storing methods leave us. So, pay attention the to rating/classification of the plastic. A person doesn't have to look far to find all kinds of gloom and doomers talk about how the plastic water bottles take an eternity to break down in land-fills. But these same gloom folks warn against reusing them for anything else claiming you will leach plastic or chemicals in your water.  Uh...which is it? You can't have it both ways.  To recap, reusing your bottles once or even twice for water storage is perfectly safe if the plastic is rated "PET or PETE".  If there are chemicals leached into the contents of the bottle, they are no where near as bad for you as the chemical, aspertame, that's found in most diet or sugar free drinks. Ugh! That stuff turns into formaldehyde gradually as it hits 90 degrees. Um...what's your internal body temperature? By filtering or treating your water AFTER it's come out of the bottles, you'll eliminate minute amount of the leaching chemicals, if any, regardless. And besides,  that the whole "plastic will leach into my water" doesn't typically take place without the presence of intense heat. For large amount of water storage in one container, you will want to make sure you don't use recycled polyethylene barrels as the recycling process compromises the integrity of the material over the years. Large amounts of water weigh a LOT, so that's definitely not something I'd risk. Water Storage Myth: I’ve got ten 55 gallon drums full of water. I’m set. Water Storage Fact: It’s great that you’ve got that much water. However, consider also having some water that’s more portable as well. It will make your life physically easier in surviving a long-term emergency situation. And by all means, make sure you’ve got the hardware necessary to get your water out of those big drums such as a hand pump, wrench, etc. Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter here To see our upcoming event schedule, click here Check out our inhome-course programs Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing! For any questions or comments on this article, please leave a comment on the blog site so that everyone can benefit! Copyright Protected 2009, Preparedness Pro and Kellene. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.


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Excellent post, Kellene. The Utah Preppers just wrapped up a group buy on high-capacity water tanks. They are an great way to store a year's supply of water and are much more convenient for rotating and using your water. While the group buy is over, we may still be able to get a discount on one of these 275 or 525 gallon tanks for individuals in Utah County. Anyone else in the country is welcome to contact us as well to see what options there are.

wow great write up Kellene. You really hit all the points. I might have to repost this in the coming weeks!

My only problem with water storage is how in the world am I going to be able to store a year's supply for a family of 7!? Seriously.

A practice from when I was a child that is still hanging around is putting bleach in your water. While bleach can be used to treat water in an emergency, I sure wouldn't want to drink bleach flavored water if I could avoid it. I support your believe that there is no need to treat water coming out of the tap in most metropolitan areas.

Let's face it. Emergency preparedness is hardly ever convenient. I know that I can always find a way or reason not to do something. But when things go bad, I'm certain that all of those reasons will seem insubstantial. Don't you?
I don't know what your living situation is, but you can always store water gallons to the side of your house. If you get the sturdy ones and don't fill them to the max, they will be ok, even in the dead of winter. It will mean that you will need to thaw them when you need access to them, but that's what I would store a bit of water inside the home for, in such an instance. Share with me what your particular challenges are and I'll try to address them.

When I lived in the Philippines for 18 months, this is how we treated every drink we had. You get used to the taste after a while. And just imagine how squeaky clean your insides are? :-)

Yes, you can store them outside. But be sure you use the heavy duty water barrels as opposed to flimsy plastic. Yes, I would provide shade for them as well and prop them up on pallets. Dont' fill them all the way full. Fill them only the 55 gallon line in order to allow for expansion due to the heat. We seem to forget that our water that gets to our homes travels through pipes that are exposed to the sun every day. You'll be fine.

I live in a small 3 bedroom home in Phoenix Arizona and have no room to store 55 gallon barrels inside. Are there any issues with storing these types of barrels outside in the Arizona heat? I plan to prop the barrels on wooden pallets, place them in a more shaded area, and cover them to lessen exposure to direct sunlight, but it's very hot here.

Check your water against the resources at the NY Times:

In an article by Amy Goodman ( that refers to the Times study, I learned that "Forty percent of the nation’s community water systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at least once, exposing over 23 million people to potential danger."

Goodman goes on:

"An investigation by the New York Times has found chemical companies have violated the Clean Water Act more than 500,000 times in the last five years. Most of the violations have gone unpunished, with state regulators taking significant action in just three percent of all cases.

"Although some of the cases entailed minor violations, a majority of 60 percent were deemed to be in 'significant noncompliance.'

So, before you store water, check the Times to see whether your water is at risk.

A good goal is 100 gallons per person. Two SureWater tanks would get you close to that and would only take up 14 square feet of floor space. You could then make up the rest in smaller portable containers.

Some issues I can come up with is cost, new barrels are expensive. I would need 1000 gallons or 20 barrels which is $1000 or more. Second, does heat matter? If I store water in my garage in a new barrel is it safe to drink after a year or so, while I need to purify it still?

I live in Florida and have no other options other than storing water in the garage which gets hot. Is it safe storing tap water in 55gal barrels with a lot of hot days? I also am thinking about storing 55gal barrels on the north side of my house but it would be exposed...other than covering it with canvas or something. Do you think that would be ok?
Thanks, love your blog!

Yes, so long as it's stored in a quality water container, it will be fine. It will simply taste stale and need aeration in order for you to drink it comfortably.

you can buy some of the barrels used for much less, but use that water for your non-drinking water. Heat does not matter so long as you're not allowing the cement to heat directly under the barrels. Yes, you should still purify your drinking water prior to consuming it after such storage, to be safe.

If you're looking to buy 55 gallon drums, Walmart has them for $38 right now (at least here in Utah). That's half the price of Emergency Essentials.

Stockpiling an arsenal of bleach

It may not result in total breakdown, but storing bleach is likely to lessen the effectiveness of the product. Sodium hypochlorite solutions have been shown to decompose rapidly, so much so that the EPA requires manufacturers of bleaches with 5.25 to 12.5 percent sodium hypochlorite to add special language to their label: “Degrades with age. Use a test kit and increase dosage as necessary to obtain the required level of available chlorine.”

Just about everyplace is about half the price of Emergency Essentials. That store drives me crazy. It because of stores like that that more people don't do anything about emergency preparedness. It's just too dang expensive. (sorry for my rant...)

Charles, keep in mind that the degradation also applies to the container that it's stored in.

Great topic! I have a question. Is there any other prep needed to store water in two liter bottles other than washing them out with soap and hot water?

Thanks for all that you do!

Storing a year's supply of water for a whole family (9 in my case) is an absolutely absurd idea. I would need 65 barrels in order to do that for my family. You tell others to store some outside. Is that any different than those who say they are storing it in their pool? No.. just easier for those who are desperate to steal it. Let's face it. If there is a disaster that requires me to have over 3000 gallons of water to survive then we are not going to survive. SImple as that. I believe that the directive to store 2 weeks of water is at least possible. I have 600 gallons in my home. I am happy with that. If any of you are storing over 3000 gallons in your home (without a pool), send me a photo. I would like to see that. As for storing them outside, our climate goes to -40 degrees in the winter. That is going to freeze those barrels solid and they will take days to thaw out. This is if you can get them in the house but that would take a lot of wasted energy now wouldn't it! I think posts like this simply scare people into doing nothing! Telling us to have a year's supply of water is simply fear mongering... nothing more.

The type of emergency

The type of emergency situations that would lead to a real long-term survival situation in this country are few, but they are very real. The biggest threat is an EMP, whether a naturally occurring event from the sun or as a result of a high altitude nuclear detonation such as the ones Iran has been practicing for lately. (You know, the same Iran that has been desperately trying to finish developing its nukes, and the same Iran that has promised to wipe us from the face of the planet more times than I could even begin to count.) A congressional study anticipated casualty rates of up to 90% among the American population in the event of such an attack--mostly due to starvation and a lack of clean drinking water & medical care. Predictably they chose to do nothing to prepare for the affects of an EMP and continued wasting money as usual.

The moral of the story here is that unless you live somewhere that you have ready access to a constant supply of drinking water even in a grid-down situation, such as a well with a hand pump, you had better be stockpiling water in whatever way you can. The threat of a long-term grid-down situation is becoming more likely, or at least less unlikely, with every passing day. Should such an attack occur it will take an estimated 12-18 months for services to be restored, possibly a lot longer. Your life, your death, your call.

I agree with nearly

Preparedness Pro's picture
I agree with nearly everything you've state here except for your estimation of "emergency situations that would lead to a real long-term survival situation in this country" being "few."

I didn't see anything wrong with her post. Store as much as you can, both financially and operationally. Obviously have a 100 gallons each for a family of 9 is going to be pretty hard to achive. I'm impressed that you have 600 gallons. I think that that's excellent. It sounds like you're set. I'd call it good and move on to your next prep item.

Apparently Lorin, I've pressed on something that you're not comfortable or mentally prepared to deal with just yet. And that's fine. There are many that feel the way you do about every aspect of emergency preparedness, not just water. But their arguments are shallow and will be meaningless when, not if, a dire time occurs. At least you're a lot further along than others with being willing to store a 2 weeks supply.

In order to get frozen barrels from outside, in, simply use a portable dolly. Even though I'm undertall and overweight, I've been able to easily manage that. This is also why I specifically mention in the article to be sure that you have some water that's not frozen inside.

At present, my husband and I have 2,000 gallons of water--no pool, as there is just the two of us. However, we are still in the process of obtaining more. I've actually already published a picture of one cluster of that water supply--about 400 gallons.

If I'm a "fearmonger...nothing more" then so is the Bible as it's full of woes, warnings, and very graphic scenes of promise of what will indeed come. I'm hopeful that no one reads the Bible and then throws up their hands and says "then we are not going to survive." As I'm certain that that was not the Lord's intent in warning us. Along with His warnings are several pleadings that we prepare, be watchful, and be ready. I don't believe He's giving us futile instructions in doing so.

Water not for consumption: I have been saving my old white Clorox Bleach (one gallon plastic) jugs for years. These are fine for storing water for household uses such as doing laundry, dishes, flushing commodes, cleaning the floor, and cleaning up other minor messes in emergencies. I save my tap water (from a well) in these as they are more sturdy than the plastic milk jugs.
For potable/drinking water I have used these in short term use for storms and minor power failures.
Just a nice resource you do not need to pay for if you use bleach.

Maybe you can help me brainstorm. We have 10 people in our family. I rent, and the HOA is very strict. There's no way I can install a rain water catch or even store water outside and the garage is very small (not large enough for 2 cars; we have to store our utility trailer in there because of HOA rules). How/where do I store that much water?

We actually DO have catch containers outside (one under the AC drip) that we use for watering the garden, etc. and I have a Berkey, so we could drink it, possibly. Also, I'm in Houston - 100 degrees + here.

I have some recycled 5 gallon juice containers for water storage, and have about 100 gallons.

You definitely do have a challenging situation. If it were me, I would simply do the very best I can do. Having said that though, I’m going to still try and push you a little bit, especially with your family size. And with a family like that, there’s bound to be other’s calling in a time of trouble. I would make as much use of the bottoms of your closets, backs of your cupboards, and under the beds as is possible! You may need to to invest in better quality 5 gallon barrels in order to be able to put wood, and then more barrels of water on top of that. Don’t take up all of your space with water, obviously, but really push yourself to get in “just one more container of water” any time you can.
In FL, being without water will not be pleasant, obviously. I know that’s the only way I survived when I lived there, was to stay hydrated.

You definitely do have a challenging situation. If it were me, I would simply do the very best I can do. Having said that though, I'm going to still try and push you a little bit, especially with your family size. And with a family like that, there's bound to be other's calling in a time of trouble. I would make as much use of the bottoms of your closets, backs of your cupboards, and under the beds as is possible! You may need to to invest in better quality 5 gallon barrels in order to be able to put wood, and then more barrels of water on top of that. Don't take up all of your space with water, obviously, but really push yourself to get in "just one more container of water" any time you can.
In FL, being without water will not be pleasant, obviously. I know that's the only way I survived when I lived there, was to stay hydrated.

Thanks for stopping by my blog - having grown up in Tucson I can appreciate the need for stored water. Great stuff!

In response to Milehimama with a HOA to deal with. If you have a deck, can you build box-like enclosed benches along the rails and seal them with heavy vinyl and silicone? They can be filled like large aquarium tanks. If you can you will need to support the deck much more to hold the weight of excess water at approximately 8 pounds per gallon. Secondly, can you use trash cans outside and cover with hanging plant vines to conceal?

The article by Amy Goodman is an interview with the author of the Times pieces.

Emergency Essentials may drive you crazy, but a quick search of prices on a 55 gal. barrel at Costco, Sam's club, WalMart, Shelf Reliance, Emergency Ready, and a few more on Amazon-Emergency Ready was the cheapest at $59, but had bad reviews. Next, Emergency Essentials and Sam's Club were about the same price-$70.

You see, setting up a community group buy organization would be a great way to overcome some of this pricing stuff. Then you could buy a whole truckload and everyone could get it for the absolute lowest price.

You can only bury materials that are intended to endure such an environment. I'd suggest a cistern instead if you're going to burying it. If you put them in the shed, that's fine; just don't fill them up all the way so that they have somewhere to go when they expand.

For those that have a home/

For those that have a home/ shelter in the event of a catastrophic event, water storage can be in specially designed underground tanks. Tanks come in all sizes from 250 gallons and up to very large. The tanks are in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation 21 CFR 177.150 (c) 3.1 and 3.2, completely safe for human consumption of potable drinking water. These tanks are designed to withstand the pressure of direct burial, but must not be located under a driveway, or any area with vehicular traffic. A 250 gallon tank cost about $400, but properly plumbed can have a constant supply of fresh water.

An excellent way to bury these tanks is to install plumbing to attach
them to the public water supply, and to constantly keep them filled
with fresh water by drawing the household water from them. When
water for the home is used the public water supply will flow through
the tank(s) to keep them full. If your local water pressure is low you
can add an electric pump to provide the needed pressure additional to that of the natural line pressure. Pumps can be purchased to run from either a 12 volt source, or one with a 110 volt source. If you are in to the habit of survival preparedness the 12 volt pump is a good choice as you can use a backup battery system that is connected to a charging method to keep them at full charge. If you use a pump
it is wise to install a float to shut off water from the source when the tank level is at a certain level. Automatic fill valves that connect to the pump will control the water input to keep your tank(s) at a certain level.

All of these tanks have a ‘manhole’ access so that the access can
be at, or just below ground level. during times of absolutely no electricity, and no backup system, a manual pump can be used to draw water. A battery backup system of 12 volts, and an inverter if the pump is a 110 volt unit is more than sufficient to pump the water needed.

Of course, this is all with the assumption that you own the property
where you bury your tanks, or have the ability to remove them when
you might move.

Some of the manufacturers making these tanks are: Norwesco, Ace
Roto Mold, & Snyder Industries using Virgin Polyethylene resin for
the tanks known as Underground Ribbed Cistern Water Storage Tanks.

Again, they do meet all the requirements of the FDA for potable water storage.

I had thought about a system

I had thought about a system such as yours. It seemed good. My only problem with it is how long will it take to find out if the local water supply has been "compromised". There have been several plots uncovered, that used bio, chem, and nuke to attack the supply to several major metropolitan areas. I'll stick with the barrels. They can be kept for 5 years. I just rotate them. I got tired of labeling, storing and rotating plastic jugs.

What about burying 55 gal. barrels? It's either that or putting them in the tin shed which gets VERY hot during our Southern California summers...

I think I could get away with burying a couple of barrels next to our patio even though we rent. A foot or two of dirt on top should keep them from boiling, right?
Any suggestions?

Water doesn't have a shelf-life. The only concern is that water is the universal cause of erosion (see all of the rock crevices? That's wind and water) The bottles that water comes in take decades to degrade. (as opposed to milk bottles which are intended to degrade quickly). Regardless of how long you store water, you'll still want to filter it before consuming even if it's only through a Brita Filter.
There are no requirements by any government agency in the U.S. for expiration dates.

I can't seem to find anywhere how LONG you can store water. We have well water so we don't drink bottled water much, so it doesn't get rotated. I have been picking up gallon jugs @ the store when they are cheap and filling soda and Juice jugs and tucking them away, but just wonder how long can i leave them there and still have them be useable. (They are in our Michigan basement)

I know the purchased water (small and large) have expiration dates on them, but not sure if the bottles breakdown and make them go bad or if that is just
a date for quality taste?
If anyone could help me i would appreciate it!

Sorry, but the good news is you're misinformed on several counts. First of all, you didn't get food poisoning from the expired water. You may, however, have gotten sick because of the chemicals leeched into the water from the plastic bottles or from the fact that the water wasn't clean in the first place. Secondly, expiration dates aren't based on one iota of science. They are created by attorneys to protect that assets of their clients. Even based upon your example, it's not the length of time of the water your father addressed, it's the quality of the water in the first place. We much be careful, especially in this industry, to NOT share false or misleading or incomplete information.

Of course stored water can go

Of course stored water can go bad over time. Bacteria and other pathogens are always present in water and over time they proliferate to levels that can be dangerous. Putting tap water into a bottle or barrel does not make it impervious to this fact of life.

Chlorine and its close relatives that are used in water treatment quickly lose efficacy after only months (after production, not application). If you use FRESH household bleach to treat water after a disaster, that's going to be helpful, but it won't do you any good if your purpose is to store that water beyond a few months. (There are a couple of commercially available products out there that is designed to enable water storage for up to 5 years.)

Fact is, your statements here to the effect that stored water doesn't go bad is very dangerous and really I've never seen anyone else state that (in all my decades in the preparedness and crisis response disciplines). There are numerous authoritative resources out there that tell you these things. Here is just one from .gov that tells you not to rotate non-commercially bottled water every six months:

I think your reading

Preparedness Pro's picture

I think your reading comprehension skills might be a little rusty. If you notice, I'm simply stating that water doesn't need to be recycled regularly. So long as one has the means to filter and treat it prior to consuming it, it's just fine and dandy. I'd never intimate that just because a water is treated once means it wouldn't need to be treated again--as that would mean that we're paying for a heck of a lot of sanitation and water treatment that's unnecessary.

Water in water bottles has an expiration date for a reason. I have gotten food poisoning (and an entire volunteer group with me) from expired bottled water bought from a store. My father is an environmental health director with a doctorate in microbiology. His job is to test water supplies and culture them to determine safety. He insists that bottled water from the store, of all brands he has tested, have much higher bacterial content than most tap water. They do go bad.

so you can store water in juice bottles and pop bottles from the tap....but how long will they keep...

I got some used 55 gallon

I got some used 55 gallon drums that store some grape juice they are white with a green top and bottom. are these safe to store inside on their sides? we built a rack for them but i have not filled them up yet because someone told me that they cant handle the pressure being stored on their side. Thanks

Sorry to be the bearer of bad

Preparedness Pro's picture
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but storing the barrels on their side is not a good idea at all. But they do make a wonderful "waterbed".

A few thoughts on water and

A few thoughts on water and water storage. The top three items to consider in an emergency situation are: 1. Shelter 2. Water & 3. Sanitation.

The average person needs about 1 gallon of water a day for all water needs:. drinking, washing, cleaning. etc. 4 liters of which is for drinking. So to be best prepared, storing some water is important. But if space is limited transporting 5 gallons per person per week it worth the effort.

What is more important in an emergency situation is cleaning the water. A hi-quality water filter that cleans bacteria, viruses and cysts in your drinking water is extremely valuable. There are many table-top drip filters that work great. I especially like a portable filter(s) in addition to a table-top model that can be used wherever you are. For example, Aquamira make a Bacteria Virus Removal filter that fits in the palm of your hand. It can be used as a straw and/or as an in-line filter to clean all the nasties that reside in the water.

It is my opinion that having enough filter options is more important than having hundreds if not more gallons of water on hand.

In terms of the

Preparedness Pro's picture

In terms of the prioritization you've listed, I respectfully believe that you're woefully incorrect. If you look through any emergency scenario, you'll see that the 10 Principles of Preparedness are more accurate in the reflection of the prioritization that one must tend to in a crises. But then again, what you're regurgitating is the standard military line which rarely takes into account the other aspects that are much more important than even water. Though Shelter does come before water, yes, Sanitation would come next as it's addressed by the Fuel Principle of Preparedness, and then comes water since fuel is a universal use to properly filter water.
When you say 'average person needs about 1 gallon of water a day for all water needs" you're clearly not talking about real average people. Rather you're reference a standard that's implemented by highly trained military professionals. 1 gallon of water a day is the MINIMUM ONLY for food preparation and drinking. You'll need more than that for cleaning, washing, sanitation, etc.

I love the Aquamira brand and highly recommend it as a source where a person can find reliable solutions to their water safety needs.

Is there any special

Is there any special treatment needed for well water? I plan on getting a generator to supply power for my water pump but then again that will only last as long as I have fuel. Is there any type of hand pump that can be attached to the well to pump the water out?

There are several pump

There are several pump systems you can purchase for your well and they can be installed in addition to your existing system. Some are hand pump and some even Solar Powered.

I cannot seem to find

I cannot seem to find anything about softened water. We need to run our well water through filters and a softener because of the mines in the area from a 100 yrs. ago. Can you store softened water without any special precautions?

Softened water can be stored

Preparedness Pro's picture
Softened water can be stored however you're more likely to need to aerate it before you use it as it will be quite stale. But that's the primary change in how to handle it. You should plan to filter/treat any water stored longterm to be safe.

There have been several

There have been several comments on plastic juice, soda and Gatorade bottles for storage. I store a bunch of these in a cabinet in the dark and rotate them once a month. I have a garden and fish ponds so I am really not wasting when I rotate just watering what is needed when time to rotate. Can I continue to use these containers. I only used warm water and soap the first time. Last but not least I also have food grade ibc totes store in my garage full of water. I have the ability to rotate but that is almost 600 gallons when would you recommend to rotate them.

Michael from our Myths tab on

Preparedness Pro's picture

Michael from our Myths tab on the blog I quote

Assertion: Rotate your water storage every 6 months to 2 years. Correction: Nonsense. Do you have any idea how long your tap water is stored before it gets to your faucet? Years, and usually in public exposure scenarios.  Water is a universal solvent though--so more important that changing it out repeatedly is making sure you use uncompromised containers in the first place. Use strong, thick, food-grade materials. While there's no need to change out the water more frequently than every 5 or so, you do want to make sure that you inspect for leaking containers on a regular basis. Also, if you're using tap water, then don't bother treating it UNTIL you use the water. There's more than enough chlorine and all kinds of other chemicals in that water until you're ready to filter and use it.  

The terms 'prepper" and

The terms 'prepper" and "survivalist" create stereotypical notions about the world no different than what the media does on the flip side.

The truth is that we should be spending more energy investing our time into detaching from the mainstream altogether and living more freely and truly independent. But with a high quality of life. Just like our old Christian ancestors did. We should not be letting the fear mongering that begins with corporate media to come into our lives. Don't watch them. Don't listen to them. They are hired and paid for by the same rich people who don't want you to live freely.

I am like some of the other posters. Storing water for a year ahead of time is farfetched. If the world is going to get THAT bad, then our chances are already doomed. If we want to protect the world, we need to start by all joining together and distancing ourselves from all corporate entities and causing them to fall. If they fall, so will the elites. But we will probably have to kill some of our military and cops before its all over. Because they will try to pull a "Nazi" on us before they will let go of their riches.

My garage floor has an epoxy

My garage floor has an epoxy sealant over the concrete. Can I store my water barrels directly on the floor, or do I still need to put wood under the barrels?

NOT if the concrete can be

Preparedness Pro's picture
NOT if the concrete can be heated via the sun. The seal that you're speaking of is one of the very chemicals that could leach into your barrels if there's heat.

Water might be stored in

Water might be stored in glass containers for years. But what about bottle caps? are the metallic ones safe?

Typically, yes, as they are

Preparedness Pro's picture
Typically, yes, as they are made to resist the acidic corrosion that comes from the sugar that are in the drinks they cap. Water isn't anywhere near as corrosive so quickly.

Your myth about Gatorade

Your myth about Gatorade struck me immediately as suspicious and I wonder where you get that info. I've read everything to the contrary, that flavored beverages are just as good at hydrating if not better (for example: and many other studies besides). It makes me wonder if all these "facts" are mostly just your personal opinion and not actually facts at all. To clear up the matter, could you please provide the citations where you got the information for each of these "facts" from?

Perhaps you should do

Preparedness Pro's picture
Perhaps you should do research on something other than just the internet. Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of "Your Body's Many Cries for Water" and Harvey Diamond, author of "Fit for Life" both have substantial amounts of information on this topic. Furthermore, if you'll do a modicum of research on the ingredients in Gatorade, you'll find that it contains a carcinogenic product, which would make it significantly WORSE than water for the body, contrary to the article link you posted.

Initially I'd say yes, but it

Preparedness Pro's picture
Initially I'd say yes, but it depends on what kind of plastic, what it's treated with, if anything, and how thick the plastic is in order to be certain of that "yes". There are at least 12 variables I can think of to begin with.

The very first entry looks to

The very first entry looks to be thinking only from the views of using city water. People with well water would want to treat the water before you store it; not everything bad in the water can just be filtered. Otherwise you will have a nice bit of slime in your water when you go to use it, and who knows how bad the microbes will be in your nice stale water.

Our family is new to this.

Our family is new to this. Is it safe to store water in plastic food grade 55 gal drums that were only used once to store 200 proof alcohol or pharmaceutical grade alcohol? We're storing it in our enclosed garage that has a concrete floor. Our driveway is asphalt and there's a slight break between the two surfaces.
Thank you for all this helpful information. God tells us to help each other, especially other believers.

I'd suggest you look for all

Preparedness Pro's picture
I'd suggest you look for all of the articles on this site which relate to the 7th Principle of Preparedness for a fast and simple way to get the correct info quickly. Just click on the "10 Principles of Preparedness" at the top and then specify that you want the 7th Principle of Preparedness articles--water preparedness. Best of luck and Peace to you!

Great article and replys.

Great article and replys. Sorry to ask a question that may already have been covered, but I need confirmation. I have a 55 gallon drum (the blue storage kind) filled with tap water (I have city water). Do I ever need to cycle this water (dump and refill) or is it fine to store it for many years and still healthy? What do you recommend? Thanks.

i have well water. I have a

i have well water. I have a ozone water treatment system, and water softener. I know the water softener really does nothing to clean the water but the ozone dose. Would you recommend adding any other treatment before storing? I do have a Berkeley system for if it would ever need to be used as potable water at a later date.

Yes. Check with

Preparedness Pro's picture
Yes. Check with They are the BEST when it comes to knowing their stuff about water filtration.

just read this article good

just read this article good stuff I'm going to go through it a few more times quick question though what about filling those 55 gallon barrels? what are your thoughts on using the water hose that feeds my washing machine? obviously not the grey water but plugging into the faucet that is right next to the washing machine.

not a problem.

Preparedness Pro's picture
not a problem.

Thanks for your post. I had

Thanks for your post. I had always thought that two weeks worth of water was plenty. I don't have much room for much more. I was thinking about getting some water storage tanks as a just in case. What size would you recommend?

Is water stored in 32 gallon

Is water stored in 32 gallon plastic trash cans, in the sun, safe to use to water my vegetable garden? It won't be stored for longer than 2 weeks, I'm concerned about chemicals leaching into the water from the plastic. Thank you

Nope, because if it's in the

Preparedness Pro's picture
Nope, because if it's in the soil, it's in the food. And you've definitely got chemicals leeching from the plastic to the water.

I work for a utility company

I work for a utility company and have access to large concrete vaults made to go underground. Could these be used for a drinking water cistern? I'm unfamiliar with the chemicals that are in concrete and if it's possible for them to leach into the water. Thank you.

If they are subjected to heat

Preparedness Pro's picture
If they are subjected to heat, then yes, they will leach chemicals into the water.


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