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Monday, May 27, 2024

How To Store Water-Pros And Cons

How To Store Water-Pros And Cons

Today, it’s all about how to store water. I’m sharing some of my tips and discussing the pros and cons of various approaches. We all have different budgets for funds available, different amounts of water needed based on family size, and the available space to store the water our family will require.

I’m just giving you the heads-up here: I’m sipping water from my daily jug as I write this article. I drink a lot of water every day. With drought reports and floods affecting so many locations, access to clean, abundant water is a challenge.

Don’t delay putting together a water storage plan for your family; it could make all the difference if disaster disasters strike! That’s why I’m updating this post from a few years ago.

How To Store Water

How To Store Water-Pros And Cons

Please store ALL water at least 2 inches off the concrete/cement floor to prevent the chemicals from leaching from the cement into your containers. Using 2 x 4 boards works great, but we’ve also used pallets. Please store your water containers in a cool, dark location whenever possible.

Some preppers sware by the method of using underground water storage tanks. Underground tanks would certainly keep the water cooler, and depending on the depth, away from direct sunlight. I’ve never felt I had the storage space for underground tanks, and I’ve worried about water rotation and needing to drain the tanks periodically. Also, there’s the issue of installation and the related costs and hassle.

For our family, using food-grade containers and locating each water storage tank above ground for easy access has made sense.

Some of my prepper friends like to store their water in stainless steel tanks. That would be great, but the added cost just isn’t in my emergency prep budget.

We use 2 x 4’s mentioned for all my water containers to keep them off the concrete. I try to live each day with what I suggest to my readers, and water storage is essential to me and my family.

Did You Know You Can Survive:

If you haven’t seen my post about the time needed to survive without air, water, food, and shelter, here it is again.

Three minutes without air – I don’t recommend this.

Three hours without shelter – whether under extreme heat or cold weather.

Three days without water – you need water, or you’ll perish.

Three weeks without food – I promise, this would not be fun.

Of course, these are general guidelines since our bodies are different and can withstand various conditions and shortfalls. But they are helpful as we try to structure our preparedness plans to provide the best protection possible given our personal limitations and personal use of each factor.

How Much Water Do You Need?

I highly recommend storing 4 gallons of water per person per day. Is this too much? The American Red Cross recommends 1 gallon of water per person per day.

Are you like me, and you get thirsty just thinking about the small amount of water they suggest? The challenge is knowing in advance how many days of water you’ll need. Each situation is different when it comes to emergencies and the type of scenario you’ll face. Start small and build up your treated water storage inventory over time. Having a week’s worth would be great, having over a month’s storage I’d consider awesome!

You may want to read the pamphlet regarding suggested water storage amounts: American Red Cross (page 7).

Please keep in mind that if the weather is hot where you live, you may need more water. This may be necessary just to cool yourself down if the power is out for extended periods of time and also to make sure you stay hydrated.

How to Calculate Your Treated Water Needs

We need water for hydration, personal hygiene, cooking, and washing clothes, even if it’s just our underwear. Let’s talk numbers and make it easy for everyone.

Water for ONE PERSON for one day = 4 gallons

Water for ONE PERSON for seven days = 28 gallons

Water for ONE PERSON for fourteen days = 56 gallons

Water for ONE PERSON for twenty-one days = 84 gallons

Water for ONE PERSON for thirty days = 120 gallons

Of course, most of us are part of a family, so using these numbers to calculate family needs is pretty straightforward. The challenges you must consider are figuring out what containers to use, where to put them, how to protect the water adequately, and how to access it when needed.

If you feel more water per person makes more sense, then you now have your marching orders to make sure you have enough water to consider your family water prepared. Let’s get started.

Preserving The Water – Options

1. Bleach


It’s inexpensive to purchase. Please add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. It kills germs and eliminates certain odors. Bleach sure beats boiling all the water as you use it.


The water must be rotated EVERY SIX MONTHS. If you have smaller containers, that may not seem too difficult unless you’ve relied on a whole bunch of those containers. Having to empty, refill, and then treat the water every six months is just too much of a chore for me.

There also MAY be some residual taste from the bleach, although that tends to dissipate and be less noticeable over time.

2. Water Preserver

I use this to store my water when I fill my containers for five years: Water Preserver.


A little goes a long way. This solution, and I quote: H20 ResQ Water Storage (unavailable on Amazon right now), “Helps to maintain pure, sparkling clean, fresh-tasting water lasting up to 5 years and eliminates the need to rotate water. Avoid unhealthy short-term solutions that utilize hazardous inexpensive household chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or chlorine.”

It’s fairly inexpensive, and you only have to rotate your water every five years. Whether you’re using a large storage tank like my 250-gallon unit, smaller storage tanks like my 160-gallon, or standard 55-gallon water barrels, this product is so efficient and effective. I like that it meets my needs for long-term water storage.

We feel comfortable that this product protects our family from many pathogens like bacteria and viruses. I can sleep at night knowing I’ve taken the steps to make the water in my water storage containers as safe as possible.


I really can’t find any cons. This is a good product that I have recommended to my readers for years. I haven’t heard any negative comments from users.

Water Filtration

I’ve always told my readers they need a backup plan for water preparation. I have Big Burkey and PortaWell water filtration systems as part of my water storage plans. There is always the chance your stored water has become contaminated, and you need a way to “filter” the water.

Both systems work great, but I like the PortaWell product because it filters the water much faster. It uses a 12-volt battery to pump the water from the water source through the filters and into the container rather than relying on a gravity-fed system. The PortaWell is more expensive, so you must decide which option best fits your situation.

When we lived in Southern Utah, we had a swimming pool. Having that pool water available did provide extra comfort, but I realized that in times of emergency, I’d still need to treat the water. Over time, the pool could be contaminated by pesticides, vehicle emissions, dirt from wind and rain storms, algae, and more. Knowing I could filter up to 60 gallons an hour using my PortaWell system was reassuring.

You are blessed if you have external water resources fairly close, like a reservoir behind a dam, a natural lake, irrigation canals, a river, a creek, or another waterway. Remember that water from these sources still needs to be treated, and plans must be made accordingly. If any of these sources are close to landfills, I’d be extra cautious! Even having them run close to fuel stations can be an issue with the possibility of leaked gasoline.

Containers: Based on Cost

1. 2 Liter Plastic Soda Bottles


They’re free; you can wash them, and they are quickly filled with water and bleach according to the above ratio. When filled, they are relatively light in weight and don’t take up a lot of space when space is a factor.

Milk jugs are unsafe to wash and refill with water because cleaning the bacteria lingering in the bottles is nearly impossible. Reference: American Red Cross (page 8). Consider using them for clothes washing or other uses where drinking from the bottle is not suggested.


The plastic bottles could crack over time, causing leaks, and are hard to handle if you need to evacuate your home. I haven’t found these to be very durable plastic containers.

2. Bottled Water – Commercial Brands


Watch for sales and stock up on plastic water bottles to save money. These are fairly inexpensive unless you rely on them for large quantities of emergency water storage. They should be safe plastic containers since they are all food-grade BPA-free due to their design to store water for human consumption.


Not only are they not environmentally friendly for the planet, but they also don’t store very long—they only store for 1-2 years, depending on how the water is processed.

3. 55-Gallon Barrels


These are very cheap here in Utah, and I’m unsure where else they may be inexpensive. I’ve seen them for about $35.00 (empty) at local stores in Southern Utah.

You may be able to order them through Walmart and have them delivered to your local store.


They are bulky and hard to handle, particularly if you need to get some water out. It would be best to have a bung to tighten or loosen the top. You will also need a pump to retrieve water from the barrel. Hard to store. BUNG and a PUMP

We recently had to move a few of these from the side of our house. Mark was surprised at how the pump we purchased worked. He removed the barrel caps or lids, put the pump into the barrel, and started pumping. Only a few initial pumps were needed to start the pumping since they acted as a siphon and pulled the water out without much-continued pumping. He did have to repeat the steps a couple of times, but it only took about 20 minutes to empty the 55 gallons. Slick!

4. 5 Gallon Jugs


These are fairly cheap and easy-to-store plastic water tanks. Some are even stackable. These tend to be more heavy-duty than their smaller cousins. Some even come with a built-in handle, making them easier to use during water emergencies.


Five-gallon jugs can be hefty to lift and haul. A 5-gallon water storage container can weigh over 41 pounds if filled to the top. You strong men may be ok with that weight when being lifted, but for some women, it’s a real chore!

5. WaterBricks/AquaBricks:


These WaterBricks and AquaBricks can stack, have a handle, and easily carry two 3.5-gallon containers. You can carry one in each hand since they weigh about 27 pounds each when filled with water. AquaBricks hold 3 gallons of water. You should consider these if you are looking for a quality product with ease-of-use features.

Since the WaterBricks and AquaBricks come with handles, they are much easier to haul when you need to move them.


They are a bit expensive. AquaBricks and Multiple WaterBricks. I have both of these brands, and they are fantastic.

6. BlueCan Water


I realize BlueCan water may seem expensive, but please do the research. This water will last 50 years if you don’t store it where it will freeze or exceed 145 degrees.

These cans are the size of a soda can (12 ounces) and come in 24 cans per case. They are easy to stack on top of each other, and no preserver is needed.

Four cases of BlueCan water were a Christmas gift to my daughters’ families a few years ago. To me, it’s the best gift ever.

If you don’t live close to one of their distributors, the best place to buy is Brownells.

If you sign up for their emails, you’ll see when they have a sale or FREE SHIPPING available. That’s when I ordered my Christmas cases. You have to love it!


It is more expensive than the other container options. Of course, the Blue Can choice is for drinking since using the water for cooking, washing clothes, or personal hygiene would be costly.

7. High-Capacity Tanks


High-capacity tanks typically have two spigots, one at the bucket level and one at the ground level, which makes using these “valves” very convenient.

It is great for filling a bucket and for emptying the tank. They come in 150, 160, 200, 250, 300, and 350-gallon sizes. They are a great way to store larger quantities of water without taking up lots of space. We have 160-gallon and 250-gallon tanks, both in our garage. It’s not the best place for storage due to the heat, but it is better there than outside and subject to freezing or direct sunlight.

I put the required amount of Water Preserver in each one so we can use them for five years without draining and refilling them.

Mark saw a 250-gallon unit on display at Costco this week for $449. That’s a great price, and I trust the quality of Costco’s products. Check them out!


These are bulky and hard to handle alone. They seem bigger once you get them home and try to place them where you want them to be accessible. Once in place and filled with water, they can’t be moved without draining.

They are cumbersome, and you may want to anchor the taller versions to the wall for safety reasons.

These tanks can be expensive to buy and to ship to your home. If possible, please try to purchase them locally (like Costco) and have them delivered. We tried to get some neighbors to buy when we did so we could save on the delivery costs.

8. Empty Glass Jars


Some are free, such as empty pickle jars and mason jars sitting on your shelves. Glass is better than some plastics due to plastics and BPA issues. If you wash them in your dishwasher, they should be ready to fill with water afterward. I’m not a scientist, so I can’t say how long these will last on your shelves, but glass seems to last longer than any plastic I’ve heard of.

You could use the Water Preserver above, which should be good for 5 years without rotating. Like any other water storage container, it needs to be stored in a cool, dark place.


The only con I can see is that they are breakable. This would be an issue if you have an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado that rattles your house. Having young children in your home with the chance of breakage and cuts could also be an issue. But not having water is a bigger issue for your family.

9. Are there any new options to store water I should consider?

I recently became aware of a product for storing water that you may want to consider. It’s called a WaterBOB. You can learn more about it at WaterBob.


The term “WaterBOB” stands for water bathtub oblong bladder. It is fairly inexpensive at $40.00 (subject to change), plus shipping costs. When filled with the bathtub faucet tap water, it holds up to 100 gallons. Put the unit in your tub, fill it, and then take the water back out when needed using the siphon pump provided.

It comes in sanitary condition, so using it in the next few days wouldn’t require any treatment. Otherwise, use unscented bleach or WaterPreserver, as discussed above.


It is designed for single use. If filled and drained, it isn’t easy to properly clean and dry the inside of the unit for secondary usage. Their website said it is possible to try washing and drying it, but you would need to treat the water stored going forward. It does tie up your bathtub, so it’s not designed for long-term storage. Most reviews on the website were from people who filled theirs in anticipation of a hurricane in case their water supply was compromised.

Final Word

I hope this post helped you learn a bit more about how to store water. If you’re teaching classes, please emphasize that water is the #1 item you need to store. Remember, whether you dehydrate or buy commercially packaged storage items, you’ll need to rehydrate them before using them. Freeze-dried items can usually be eaten right out of the can, but you may also want to rehydrate them with water. We can do this, one gallon at a time. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

Food Storage Secrets You Need To Know

Copyright Images: Water Deposit photos_310925740_s-2019, Glass of Water Depositphotos_514784874_S

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