This article is meant to be an overview of water storage. I will create more in-depth articles on filters and storage containers at a later date.
My idea of water storage is:
- Storing for immediate needs
- The ability to clean found or brought in water
- The ability to harvest water
There are so many ways to store water, here are a few.
For the least expensive storage fill up heavier juice or soda bottles ( pop, soft drink or tonic depending on where you’re from 🙂 ) with tap water. Do not use milk jugs because they’ll break down too quickly and make a mess. If you use a municipal source it does not need to be treated. If you really want to treat it add roughly 1/4 tsp of chlorine bleach per gallon or 1 tsp per 5 gallons. Municipal water stored in sanitized containers should be good for several years but if you prefer water your garden with it and refill every one to two years. Keep bottles away from sunlight.
Other options I like:
- Cases of 16.9 fl oz water bottles which are a good size for sharing and carrying. I watch for sales so I can load up-my kids sneak them
- 1 gallon jugs that stack nice
- 1 5-gallon jug per person in your household
- 55 gallon drums-these need a pump or a handy stand and spigots (see pic)
- 100+ gallon tanks-strap these down to prevent tipping in an earthquake
If all of your water is stored in huge tanks and they get damaged all of your water can be lost. For this reason I like to keep more than one kind of container for water.
It is vital to have the ability to purify water because you can only store so much. Gravity filters are a great at home filter. It has one container atop another. Pour unclean water in the top, it goes through the filter and the clean water ends up in the bottom container. Berkey has some very nice systems that range from $230 up to $325 to see go here.
I found a reasonably priced ceramic water filter which can filter up to 18 gallons per day and will filter, with care, up to 5,000 gallons of water. It came with a kit that contained 1 filter, 1 spigot, washers, a pre-filter and a sock to protect the filter all for $36 plus shipping. It can be purchased here. The only thing to add is 2-5 or 6 gallon buckets. Here is a picture of it put together. Care needs to be taken with the ceramic filter so protect it from dropping or damage because if it gets cracked it will be unusable.
For personal use such as a backpack or car kit the LDS church has a top of the line water bottle filter which the missionaries use in countries where the water may be iffy. To find it go here it is currently $16.50 and is on backorder. My son found a UV water bottle by Camelback for $85 find it here. It uses ultra violet light to purify clear water (I have coffee filters in our backpacks for filtering). It neutralizes bacteria, viruses and cysts for immediate use, but if it sits for a long period of time those things will become active again so be sure and read the directions. We also have a pump filter for a backpack. There are sooo many options out there so look around and see what works best for you. For a good comparison go here.
Water harvesting is now legal (as of 2010) in the state of Utah but limited to one 2500 gallon underground container or two 100 gallon above ground containers and registration is required but free. For more information go here and scroll to the bottom of the page. Please check your area for the legality of water harvesting before you jump into a water harvesting system. However, I don’t think the water harvesting police will be out in full force during an emergency when no utilities are available.
I tried cleaning and filling my city trash cans with water but it wouldn’t hold more than a day or two so it wasn’t a good option. I am planning on using a 32 gallon roughneck-type trash can under each rain spout. My plan is to cut a hole in the lid and secure a screen in the hole to prevent leaves, insects and animals from getting in. For some good do’s and don’ts on a rain barrel check out this article.
If you are really handy connect two or more trash cans with pvc pipe to collect the overflow and add a spigot to attach a hose or just to drain. To see a bigger picture go to seasonedcitizenprepper.com site here.
If you have any more ideas please share!