Monday, June 30, 2014

Back-To-Basics Water Storage Part 1

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Welcome to the first post in my Back-To-Basics series.  My goal is to have a new topic up each week, but today we're starting with.....

I think everyone will agree that we all need water to live.  Our bodies can't survive longer than three days without it and that's why it is number one when it comes to food storage. This is also the easiest part of food storage to accomplish because water is fairly inexpensive, easy to get, and most containers for storage are easily found. 

If you don't have any food storage at all, I urge you (silently begging you) to get your water storage done today!!  

A gallon per person per day is the bare minimum that you will need to store. Youngsters, nursing mothers may need more. My water was shut off one day, due to construction, and it took almost 3 2-liter bottles of water to just wash my hair.  That made me pause and realize how much water I was going to need with 4 daughters.  But in all seriousness I'm thinking that 2 gallons per person would give each person enough water for hygiene, laundry, cleaning, and drinking.  See if you can get 2 weeks stored away (that's 28 gallons per person) and that would be a great start!  It's only a start because there really isn't a feasible way to store a year's worth, or longer, of water.  You will need to find water from another source after your stored water runs out. 

  • 2-liter soda bottles, juice bottles, laundry detergent bottles....NOT milk containers...they will break down and leak.  Clean the soda and juice bottles with soapy water, or a small amount of bleach, and let air dry.  Fill them with tap water and they are good to go.  The detergent bottles will store water used for cleaning. Make sure to mark them clearly as WATER.
  • Mason jars that aren't being used at the time.  
  • Smaller water bottles that come in 24 packs are great for everyday water needs.  
  • 5-Gallon water jugs, with a spigot
  • Water bricks (look online)
  • 55-gallon water barrels
Just remember to use clean containers and plain old tap water will be safe to fill them all up.  Keep a variety of water containers in different sizes.  If you only have 55-gallon barrels, you'll be sad when you have to evacuate and you can't lift one of those!  The smaller the container, the easier to transport.   Store your water in different places in your home.  If all of your water is in one area and that area gets damaged....I hope you have some strong men and lots of shovels.  Keep water in the garage, basement, kitchen, cars, under the bed, etc.  Try to store your water in cool, dry places.  The sun will encourage bacteria to grow.  (I would rotate water at least once a year that sits outside in the sun, but I don't rotate my water if it's in my house)

  • Lakes, streams, rivers in your area
  • Water heaters
  • Toilet tanks (not the bowl!)
  • Wells
  • Rain barrels
  • Liquid from canned foods
  • Melted ice from your freezer
  • Pools & spas, but use it for cleaning only!
  • NOT a water bed!!
Some of the above sources will most likely need to be purified.  If in doubt...treat it!!  Do you have the supplies to purify water?

  1. Filter the water through a coffee filter, t-shirt, or any clean cloth.
  2. If you have a heat source, boil the water for a minute, but let cool down completely before adding the bleach.
  3. If you have clear water add 1/8 t-1/4 t (8-16 drops) of bleach and shake/stir.  Use 1t for 5 gallons of water.  Double the amount for cloudy water.  Make sure the bleach doesn't have any added perfumes or dyes. (1/8 t per 2-liter bottle)
  4. Wait 30 minutes.
  5. The water must smell like bleach to be safe to drink.  If is doesn't smell of bleach, repeat step 3.
Bleach does have an expiration time of about 8-12 months.  Make sure you are using and rotating it. I write the date I bought it with a sharpie before putting it on my shelf.

  1. Boil water for at least one minute. Water is purified the minute it reaches the boiling point, but if you let it boil for 1 minute, you'll be safe.  
  2. Make sure to filter the water first if it is cloudy or has debris in it.  
  3. Let it cool before drinking.  Boiling does leave a taste to the water.  Add oxygen back in it by pouring it between two containers before drinking. 
My theory is...if in doubt....purify it!!!  

Calcium Hypochlorite: AKA "Pool Shock"
  1. 1lb bag will treat 10,000 gallons of water.
  2. C.H. doesn't degrade like bleach does
  3. Only buy the granular type...not the will degrade.
  4. 1 gallon bag will treat 1 gallon of water per day for a family of 4 or 6-7 years. 
  5. First make a chlorine solution of 1 C. of water and 1/4 t of C. H. (78%)*, mix until dissolved and DO NOT DRINK THIS SOLUTION!  It will be used to purify your water.
  6.  Add a 1/2 t of chlorine solution to 2 gallons of water. Stir or shake.
  7. Let sit for one hour minimum before drinking.
  8. Calcium hypochlorite can be found in pool supply stores, or where ever pool supplies are sold. (I found some at Wal-Mart)
  9. *C.H. does come in different strengths.  The store brands are usually about 52% and the stronger stuff, 78%-99% will be found at pool supply stores.  If you use the lower percentage you might need to purify the water more then once.  
There are also many water filters, and water bottles with built in filters, on the market today.  Do the research to find what works best for your family, or research a product called Steramine, found on Amazon. It purifies water too.  We are so lucky to live in a day in age where a couple clicks of the computer, or phone, and we get instant information.

  • buy a solar shower to conserve water when bathing
  • use spray bottles for hand bottle has soapy water and another bottle has clean water to rinse hands with
  • keep sanitizers in your storage for cleaning hands in times when water isn't really needed
  • use the juices from canned goods in cooking
  • use cups and a large container of water to dispense drinks. If you hand out water bottles to everyone, they will drink part of it and most likely waste the rest.  Picture your campsite/bug out spot full of the same water bottles and no one knows whose is whose.  (pack a sharpie to write names with your water supply)
Your goal is no more procrastination!!!  My next post will show you how I follow my own advice!  If you don't have water stored, start today!  If you do have water stored, add a gallon or two more. Knowledge is power, but that knowledge won't quench your thirst....commit to DO something today!! 


  1. Great tips for conserving water! Like the spray bottles for washing hands!


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