5 Short Term Methods to Store Water

Ready Nutrition – by Tess Pennington

Storing an ample supply of water is an often overlooked area of preparedness – even though we know it is the most important item for our survival. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of this. Don’t get me wrong, we have at least a 3 day supply of water, and plenty of water filters and purifying tablets, but as far as having enough water stashed away for a family of 5 … I will admit that we don’t have as much as we should – and it’s time to change this.  

The main reasons why we haven’t stored large amounts of water is because its bulky and in the past, store bought plastic containers leaked into my food pantry causing damage to the floor; but I shouldn’t let that stop me. Although preparedness organizations suggest having 1 gallon of water per person per day for a two week period, I want to go a step further and have a month’s worth of water on hand.

If we go by the suggestion from emergency organizations and have 1 gallon per person per day, a family of 5 will need 35 gallons of water per week.

The Suggested Water Amount is Simply Not Enough

Victims of previous disasters say the suggested water amount stated by disaster organizations is not enough to get through a disaster. Conway Yee’s family went through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and were without power or their well water supply for a week. To keep hydrated and clean, “we went through 20 gallons a day” for drinking and washing, he says. That’s 120 gallons of water for the week after the hurricane.

Clearly emergency organizations need to re-assess their suggested water amounts. I believe they have not taken into account our increased stress levels, activity levels, climate, pre-existing medical conditions, sanitation or bathing.

5 Ways to Store Water for Short Term Emergencies

There are ways to prepare for and store water for short term emergencies. I have found five solutions to storing water that I wanted to share. I have purchased many of these and some I plan to purchase in the next month to bulk my water stores up.

  1. Water Bricks – Made of rugged, high density polyethylene (HDPE) these containers hold up to 3.5 gallons of liquid. These unique water containers, unlike any other, can also hold food and other life essentials while adding value by cross stacking up to 4 feet for maximum efficient storage. I plan on buying these to bulk up our water supplies.
  2. Survival Water Pouches – Think survival Capri Suns. These heavy duty packets are filled with 125 ml sachets of purified water. They are easy to dispense and have a shelf life of 5 years. We have these in our pantry to use in bug out situations.
  3. 2 Liter Soda Bottles – This is a preparedness measure you can do at home (and recycle at the same time). Thoroughly wash your soda bottles with a mixture of soapy water and a ensure all soap residue is washed out. Fill bottles with clean drinking water (tap water is fine to store) and screw cap on and secure. Note: It’s best to use only soda bottles for water storage. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them.
  4. 55 gallon Plastic Drums – Made from FDA approved polyethylene resin (and BPA free), this plastic barrel has the capacity to hold enough water to supply a family of 4 over 13 days worth of water, or 2 people nearly a 30 day supply of water. The dark blue color of this 55 gallon barrel restricts light and helps control growth of harmful algae and bacteria.
  5. Water BOB – The waterBOB® is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub in the event of an emergency. Constructed of heavy duty food grade plastic, the waterBOB® keeps water fresh and clean for drinking, cooking, washing and flushing. This water storage method should be used when a disaster is imminent and about to hit. I have 3 water BOBs stashed away in our emergency supply closet just in case!

In addition to these short term water supply suggestions, I would also recommend purchasing a filtration system for longer term water needs as well as a portable filtration system for your bug out bags. To learn the different methods of purifying water, click here.

Tips for Water Supplies:

  • Store containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Because most plastic beverage containers degrade over time, store them away from heat and light to prevent leakage. Because hydrocarbon vapors can penetrate polyethylene plastics, store water in plastic containers away from gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances.
  • To ensure you water supply is fresh, rotate your water supply regularly.
  •  Inspect your water supply at least every six months to see whether the containers have leaks or if any of the above problems have occurred.
  • Don’t forget to have water stored for pets.
  • Look around for local water sources in your area that you can access for a back up water supply.

We need water to survive – and our preps should reflect this important need. An aspect that I love the most about preppers is that we love to have back ups for our back ups. Having a short term water supply that you regularly rotate into your kitchen will ensure you have a fresh water source to turn to during a short lived emergency. As well, having filtration systems and portable water purification tools will ensure you can purify water for longer term purposes.

As much as I would love to say I am completely prepared, there are holes in my prep supplies and I am making a concerted effort to change that. I want to ensure that my family has enough water to thrive and utilizing some of these suggested preps can help me do just that.

Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.


This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition


5 thoughts on “5 Short Term Methods to Store Water

  1. Uncoated condoms are superb water carriers and emergency water bottles, obviously the plain types with no ‘cides or lubricants but just plain ol’ latex which can hold a huge amount of water in an emergency.

    And of course, making water is almost as essential as storing it, practice making a solar still which is a semi deep hole, a big sheet of plastic with a hole directly in the middle and a receptacle underneath the hole to catch the pure water, plastic can be held in place by rocks or stretched between posts, works even in dry arid areas, catches water droplets from the air and is also effective at sunrise where water vapour is at its highest.

    The best storage of course is mother nature, fastish running river, river fed lakes are both desireable water sources but remember that animals also see that and you don’t want to be fighting a turf war with a bear or other such wild animal, a fastish running river if not too wide is an ideal place to string a fish sieve net from bank to bank that will catch fish as they flow with the water, if you angle it, the fish will move closer to the bank on the angled side allowing you to simply net them with a shrimping net ready for dinner.

  2. It really pees me off to read things like “Conway Yee’s family needed 20 gallons of water a day” when no mention of the size of the family is made.

  3. You got that right ULuddite! I can make that 20 gallons last much longer than that.
    And a family of 4 could easily get 3 maybe 4 days if frugal.

    1. Tis true, bathwater can be recycled for washing up water and used in final as toilet flushing water, not hard to recoup water from baths and showers and then reused.

  4. People better watch their local ordinances because remember that their are some towns that restrict water collection and impose fines for collecting rain water.

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