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Water Storage

Choosing Water Storage Containers

Choose durable containers that can be safely used for long-term storage.

Use only bottles and containers previously used to store food products, such as soda or juice bottles. Also, be sure containers are plastic. Glass bottles can break. PETE or PET plastic bottles are also better than other types of plastic bottles because they don’t degrade as quickly and are better for longer-term storage. Before reusing bottles, thoroughly wash the insides using dish soap and water, rinsing all traces of soap away, then disinfecting by swishing a quart of water mixed with a teaspoon of non-scented chlorine bleach inside, making sure to coat all surfaces. Dump out the chlorine solution, and bottles are ready for water storage.

Water Treatment

Water collected from a commercially treated tap generally does not need treatment and is fine to store as-is, because most treatment facilities already add chlorine to water. Well or ground water, however, needs to be boiled vigorously for about a minute (three minutes at altitudes above one mile) and treated with non-scented chlorine bleach. After boiling, let the water cool and mix in 1/8 teaspoon of bleach for each gallon of water stored. The boiling will kill most bacteria and other harmful organisms that may be present, and the bleach will prevent more such organisms from developing later. Pour cooled water into washed bottles that meet the requirements described above, and seal as tightly as possible.

Water Storage

Water treated and stored in this method can last a few years, but it is recommended that water stores be changed once a year (twice a year according to Write the current date on a water container when you fill it so you know later how long it has been stored. Keep bottles in a cool, dark place.

How much water storage?

At Home: 14 gallons per person. This allows 1 gallon per day for two weeks for drinking, cooking and moderate hygiene. It does not  provide for bathing or toilet flushing. Have a plan B for those activities.

Grab and Go Bag: Some bottled water (water is heavy!) and a portable water pump, such as those used for camping, would be useful. OR for as little as $16.50, order a water filtration bottle from Click on the “HOME AND FAMILY” link. You will find the water bottle featured on that page.


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