Storing water: How Long Can You Store Water?
Storing water is very important. Even though bottled water seems like it really should last forever, it won’t. Water, like most foods, over time will not be usable and drinkable. The reason for this is really not that the water goes bad, but rather that there will be growth of unhealthy microorganisms in the bottle and water. If stored correctly the water can last longer. There are also a few other ways to keep your stored water safe longer.
The first thing to figure out is where you will be storing water. Storing water in a cool area will allow the water to last longer as the sun will not eat away the containers the water is stored in. It is also a good habit to pour out old water and refill the containers every 6 months to a year. Some of the best water containers are what you already own and can be reused.
Storing Water Cheaply
Two liter soda bottles and plastic juice bottles make great water containers. You will want to thoroughly wash the bottles before use and make sure that all soap has been rinsed out. After the bottles are clean, fill them almost to the top with clean water. Then you will want to put 8-16 drops of household bleach (5-6% chlorine with no fragrances or additives). You can then store the water in a cool, dry place. This should last a couple years, keeping in mind that you should check your water every 6 months. Do not use milk containers as they are not made very well and do not last for long periods of time. If the water doesn’t taste great it may need to be aerated. To aerate the water, pour it back and forth from one container to another a couple times. This is essentially the same idea as aerating wine. I have not tried this as I do not own one, but a wine aerator may work for aerating water as well.
Personally, I really like the 5 or 6 gallon plastic camping water containers for storing water. They have handles which make them pretty easy to move. I feel it’s actually easier to carry one in each hand rather than just one, as you will be balanced better even though it is heavier. I also like that there are many different types of spigots that can be hooked up to them. One tablespoon of bleach per gallon is a good ratio to use when storing water in large amounts.
For storing water long term in a home, the 55 gallon blue food grade containers can be very handy. These containers really aren’t as mobile as the other containers, but can easily be moved through a door way and put in a basement or large crawl space. They are also a great way to collect water, much like a cistern. Sometimes you can get them cheap from soda bottlers. A new one may cost upwards of $75, but can be found on craigslist for as cheap as $15.
The last option for storing water can be to buy a large water storage tank. However, there are a couple problems with this. The first problem is that once the water is in it, the tank will not be movable unless on a stout trailer. The second problem is that, unless camouflaged, the tanks can be seen from long distances. In a time when water is scarce this can really bring unwanted attention. An underground water storage tank may be your solution to this problem.
As you can see there are quite a few options for storing water. It is a good idea to use a few different options as bugging out may be your only option. Having containers that can be moved easily will be very worthwhile in a situation like this. The main thing to remember is to refill your water storing containers with clean water at least once a year to keep the water as safe as possible.