The human body needs between two and four liters (1/2 to 1 gallon) of drinking water per day—even more if you’re working hard or in intense heat.
In emergency situations, having water on hand is critical. Since most of us don’t live next to potable natural springs, this generally means storing water.
Water Storage Timeline
Did you know that water can go bad?
That’s right: water that’s kept in storage for long periods can develop problems that can make you sick or make the water undrinkable.
However, with proper storage water can last for a long time. Generally, we recommend swapping out your water containers about every six months (make sure to wash and sanitize your containers—use dilute bleach—in between uses)
Containers for Storing Water
The best containers for storing water are generally food-grade plastics. The cheapest way to store water is to reuse plastic soda bottles or milk jugs. Two liter bottles work well, too.
Before using these to store water, be sure to wash them very thoroughly and disinfect them using a dilute solution of bleach (one teaspoon household liquid bleach—NOT the scented kind—per gallon of water).
Once disinfected, they can be rinsed with potable water, then filled and capped. You should mark these bottles with the date you bottled them.
Dedicated Water Storage Options
If you’re getting more serious about water storage, you should consider purchasing dedicated plastic or stainless steel containers for water storage. These come in sizes ranging from 5 gallons to 55 gallons (a barrel or drum).
Another interesting option is the waterBOB, which is essentially a large sturdy plastic bag that you can throw into your bathtub at the first sign of trouble. Fill the waterBOB from the tap, close the top using the resealable, airtight access point, and boom: you’ve got sanitary water storage of about 100 gallons.