Water storage

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Water Water everywhere, and not a drop to drink


Many of you have heard that old expression, which actually to be more precise is:


Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink"


The saying originates from the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, (1875-1912) and refers to the mariner when marooned in the open sea.

Indeed, with the increasing severe weather anomalies and power outages that many are experiencing, it may be the case that although we are land locked we could see ourselves all at sea!


Bearing this in mind, it is prudent to consider the strong possibility that many will either soon be short of water, or no safe water at all. Now is the time to prepare for such event, not later when it is too late.


By following a few simple guidelines, at minimum cost, one will have to hand safe drinking water available at crucial periods, and water for personal ablutions.





Using suitable plastic containers/bottles, with good screw tops, ad which have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, fill with ordinary tap water (if in UK, US, etc, follow local country guidelines as to suitability of tap drinking water) and screw down tight.

Mark the containers to show what you are storing and write the date.

You can replenish every 6 months if you wish.


It is said, that due to the addition of chlorine in town water supplies, it may suitable to store for 3 years plus.


For larger amounts of water, either for drinking or personal use, you can purchase new plastic refuse bins, on average these hold about 40 gallons. Ensure they have good fitting lids.


If you wish to extend the life of the stored water, you can add 10 drops of household bleach per gallon of water. CAVEAT do NOT use the coloured or perfumed bleach, only the pure clear bleach.

When you need to drink this kind of stored water, merely boil for 30 seconds and cool off prior to drinking.


If you are unsure of the suitability of stored drinking water, the best method is to boil for 5-10 minutes this will purify the water by killing off any possible harmful material.


After cooling, pour the boiled water back and for into two containers a few times, this will not only oxygenate the water but will taste better too!




Preferably is a dry, dark and cool area and away from any other emergency supplies.


Do not store in plastic milk bottles.


If storing in cupboards or on shelves ensure the water containers are placed on the lower parts, the last thing you need is a spillage or leaking onto other items.


If the water has originated from a well or water that has not been treated, prior to storage use the above method described, that of household bleach containing 5.25% sodium Hypochlorite.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend the following procedure:


Add six drops of unscented bleach per gallon of water, stir and stand for 30 minutes

If the water does not taste and smell of chlorine after 30 minutes, add another 6 drops and stand for 15 minutes.

Seal the containers, and label and date.


Although the above procedures should ensure you have a reasonably safe supply of drinking water, no method is totally fool proof.



Alternate sources of water.


Hot water cylinder, header tank: and general household plumbing (Pipes and radiators etc)

To use the water in your hot water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank.

To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the highest tap your house and drain the water from the lowest one.

CAUTION - Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty!!

Other water sources are from the reservoir tank of your toilets (NOT the bowl!!), ice cubes from the fridge and from tins of fruit.

Water from swimming pools and waterbeds may be used for sanitary use.

Make sure you know the location of your incoming water valve, in case you need to shut it off to prevent contaminated water from entering your household system. Heed any reports of broken water or sewage lines and take appropriate steps.

You should prepare for at least two gallons of water per person, and have enough water for 2 weeks for your family.


Finally, consider the climate where you live, as the hotter a climate the more water you will require.




American Red Cross - water storage before disaster stikes

FEMA - water and food storage