Water Storage 101

Click here for step by step instructions to store water.

In developed countries, such as the USA, having clean water at your disposal at anytime is often just expected to always be available. Water is collected and treated for us by treatment plants to remove contaminants such as heavy metals, bacteria and disease. It’s then delivered to our homes and the only effort required from us is to simply turn on the tap. It’s easy to see how clean water can be taken for granted and just assumed that it will always be there.

Clean water is the most important components of an emergency preparedness supply. You will never know when a disaster may strike and it may never happen, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared anyway. Considering the importance of safe drinking water and the relatively low cost to store it, having an emergency water storage supply is never a bad idea.

During natural disasters, or other events, these services can be disrupted or compromised, causing the water supply to become contaminated or undeliverable. Quick water treatment solutions such as boiling water are only a short term solution and depending on the type of contamination may not even be useful.

The importance of proper water storage for emergencies can sometimes be the difference between life and death. It is something that all households should be supplied with. Like I stated before, you can survive for weeks without food but can only last 3 days without water; it’s that important!

Remember that stored drinking water has an expiration date and should be used and rotated regularly to make sure your supply is always fresh. Your emergency water storage should be changed out every six months, so it’s a good idea to mark the containers with the date they were filled. Commercially bottled has an expiration date too that is printed on each bottle and will last a little longer then water you have stored at home.


When collecting water that isn’t meant for drinking or cooking, you can pretty much use anything to store it, but when storing water that is meant for human consumption, it is important to only use containers that are made with materials that are rated as food grade. Stay away from any container that has been used to store anything you wouldn’t consume, especially chemicals.

HDPE 2 Symbol On PlasticThe best type of plastic for use in long-term food storage is high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is indicated by the “2” symbol usually found on the bottom of the container. HDPE is one of the most stable and inert forms of plastic, and all plastic buckets sold specifically for food storage will be made from this material.


The easiest and probably the best way to store safe drinking water is to buy cases of bottled water from the store. The advantage to this is that everything is already properly sealed and separated into individual bottles for easy consumption. Also you don’t have to do anything to prepare the water and there is no chance of making mistakes that could cause problems later.

The main disadvantage to bottled water is that it is more expensive than tap water. Another issue is that bottled water comes in thin clear plastic containers, which means they have to be protected from light for long term storage. Make sure to keep them in a dark and cool dry place like your basement or cellar.


If you don’t have much money and still want to store water, then your best option would be empty 2 liter soft drink bottles. To use these, after you have washed them out with soap and water, you must sanitize them with a solution of 1 quart water mixed with 1 teaspoon of non scented bleach. Shake the solution thoroughly in the bottle and then rinse the bottle out with clean water.

First, I want to go over probably the cheapest and easiest method of water storage possible. If you like to drink carbonated toxic crap, called soda, then you already have probably found the best storage bottle out there, especially for the price. Soda is acidic, and carbonated. This means that it is corrosive and that the soda has had carbon dioxide forcefully dissolved in it. Carbonated beverages are usually under quite a bit of pressure. This means that a 2 liter soda bottle is a very stable plastic with the strength to hold up against pressure. If you don’t drink soda, then I would find someone that does and ask them to save them for you.

For storage, you may even be able to find a grocery store tossing a crate designed specifically for the storage of the bottles out. These are nice and stackable, but you can also stack the 2-Liter bottles on their sides pretty well. I would store them in multiple locations. You never know when a tree may fall on your home, or an earthquake will destroy your basement. So we want to spread the bottles out. Store 30 of them in your storm shelter or basement. Store another 30 in the kitchen. Store several of them under the baby’s crib or in your closets. We just want them spread out so if something happens, it doesn’t happen to all of them. But keep in mind that wherever you store them you need to store them properly. Click here for step by step water storing information.


Glass is easy to come by, easy to sterilize, and does not pose the same risk of leeching chemicals into the water as plastic. This is if you are using food-grade glass of course. Lead crystal glass can leach lead into the water over time. The downsides to glass are that it is heavy, breaks easily, and needs to be protected from light. In a pinch though, it can be a good way to start stocking up on water. If you have limited storage space, it also has the advantage of being able to be stored near gasoline, etc. since it is impermeable. Boil the glass jars in water for 20 minutes or more and dry completely before use. Ideally, cushion the jars by wrapping in foam, paper, or even just putting them in a cardboard box, to reduce the likelihood of breakage. Click here for step by step water storing information.


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