Long Term Drinking Water Storage

Long Term Drinking Water Storage | How-To Recommendations

Long Term Drinking Water Storage

Water is THE most important resource for survival. Period. We take it for granted that we will always have a supply of water to drink at our disposal. We barely give it a second thought to take precautions, and perhaps store some of it for a SHTF scenario…

I often hear the following questions:

“How long will water last if I store it?”
“How long until water goes bad?”

My short response to that is this:

Water is water, is water.
Water does not go bad in and of itself.

It is the contamination that gets in that can make it go bad.

How long you can store it depends on if it’s contaminated to begin with, or you are letting contaminants get in, or environmental conditions are enabling organic contaminants to ‘grow’ in it.

Drinking Water Storage | Keys to Success

 The key to successfully storing drinking water for long-term storage is this:

1. Start with good pure clean water
2. Use a good clean heavy-duty BPA-free sealed container
3. Store in a good environmentally preferable storage location

Usually the best source is municipal water from your faucet tap at home. It has already been treated with enough chlorine to destroy harmful organic pathogens. The level of chlorine is typically measured at 0.5 – 1 ppm (parts per million) as tested with a swimming pool chlorine test kit.

For long term water storage, you might consider increasing this to 3 – 4 ppm to be assured of a maximum safe level for drinking (according to the EPA) to eliminate and prohibit growth of pathogens.

You can test the chlorine levels with these popular test strips:
Swimming Pool Water Test Strips

“AquaChek” chlorine level cross-reference color chart

Continue reading: Making Drinking Water Safe With Bleach

Bleach-Water Ratio for Drinking Water

How To Store Your Water

A very good way to store your water is in BPA-free heavy duty plastic containers that have been manufactured specifically for water storage. These containers are often colored blue and will be labeled as safe for drinking water. You may also use pretty much any food-grade storage container, but keep a common sense approach to how and what you choose.

Store your long-term drinking water storage containers in a relatively cool place so as to avoid heat which will promote growth of algae, etc. Keep the containers in a dark environment (ideally use opaque containers) because sunlight will speed up the breakdown of chlorine level.

Note that the level of chlorine will decay over time. That’s okay. If the water has been initially decontaminated (e.g. with chlorine) and stored in a sealed container out of direct sun and heat, it’s going to be fine.

5 Gallon Samson Stackers

Water Storage 30 gallons

How much drinking water should I store?

FEMA says you should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

I say that you should assess your situation, your surroundings (do you have access to other water sources than tap water?), the number of people you’re storing for, your risk tolerance threshold, your risk assessment of what might affect you, and decide for yourself how much you would like to store.

50 gallons would be just about enough for 2 people for a month (bare minimum). And that doesn’t count all the ‘gray water’ that you normally consume (washing, sanitation, etc..), which amounts to LOTS more than you may think!

The Average Gallons of Water People Use Each Day

How long will your long-term water storage last?

There are a multitude of opinions, but I’m sticking to this…

“Water is water, is water.” If you start with a pure clean source that’s known pure to begin with or treated with a safe level of chlorine, and it’s stored in a clean sealed opaque container in a cool place out of direct sunlight, it will be drinkable for “a very long time”.

If it’s clean and pure to begin with, and you don’t allow contamination to enter, it will be safe to drink. The taste will become ‘flat’ after awhile, but that’s not critical. For maintenance, I would dump it and replace it once every year to be assured. I drain and replenish my water storage at least once a year.

ALWAYS Have A Quality Water Filter!

Lastly, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND having a quality countertop drinking water filter. As you likely know, I’m a big fan of the Berkey water filter systems. If you’re going to check it out, a very reputable and certified USA Berkey distributor is The Berkey Guy.

(Note this article has been updated since it’s original post date, as reflected by the comments below)

Continue reading: Water Barrel Storage For Emergency

Water Sources and Treatment

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Any thoughts on how you would store water if you cannot use chlorine? My husband and I react to chlorine and use a whole house filter to remove it. I’m guessing iodine would work but I’m not sure on how much or what type… etc. The correct amount of iodine is important to keep your thyroid happy.

I don’t think that there is a “right” type of Iodine for water purification. I used one of the kits that has Iodine pellets that you shake and wait before adding. Took forever to do 55 gallons. A better approach may be to assume that your stored water is bad and filter with a Berkey (probably black filters) before using. Not an add for Berkey, there are other brands that will do just as good.

Be well.

I store my spare water in empty 1 gallon vinegar jugs. The plastic seems to be thicker than most plastic bottles. I use a lot of vinegar to disinfect my brewing equipment instead of using chlorine and I think it is a great way to disinfect/store water – just add a half cup or so per gallon – and drinking the vinegar is good for you. I drink 4 to 5 oz a day to control my diabetes.

Thanks for this, PrepperDaddy. I, too, use alot of vinegar, and hate to throw out the jugs. I don’t know why I didn’t think of using them for water storage. They are super heavy-duty.

Prepperdaddy, how does vinegar help with diabetis? I’m also diabetic. Very curious. Scot

It doesn’t. Another ‘home remedy’ without substantiation.

I too have diabetes and mix apple cider vinegar with the mother (very important) and also do intermittent fasting, took my diabetes from 10.7 to 5.7 in less than 3 months and never took any meds. I looked up reversing diabetes naturally on you tube when I found out I had it, by my first follow up I had reversed it back to normal. I found dr. Jason fung and employed most of his teaching on the subject after I was convinced that he knew what he was talking about. it works follow his guidance. he also has some books. good luck my friend and God bless

Gallon AZ Iced Tea containers are quite thick also.

Could I add vinegar to my redwood cistern instead of bleach? probably not

I use 1 gallon Glass jugs for storing my drinking water. Isn’t that better, than plastic? I would like to know, and thanks.

I have read Sailors and soldiers in the past used VINEGAR. As it is not toxic, has been used as a bacteriacidal treatment for wounds, won’t make you sick (diluted)to ingest, and provides a modest amount of Vitamin C. Don’t know percentages to use, but would think you should be able to taste it some.

We, too, added a chlorine filter to our whole hose water softening system even though we do NOT drink tap water or use it in cooking. There’s already too much chemicals in “City” water. So we drink bottled water or water filtered by our refrigerator.

I’m thinking about getting four 55 gallon water barrels for long term storage. The issue is, I can store two of them in my garage and the other two in a shed. I live in OH and we have winters where it routinely gets to <32 deg. F. I've read that if you leave enough head room for the water to freeze and leave the bung hole slightly loose for air to escape, it will be okay and not burst the barrel.

My question is, if the bung hole is allowing air to exchange, can stuff get inside and "grow?"

A couple of thoughts.

You could:
– Poke/drill a hole through the bung.
– Tape a fine, think screen door, piece of mesh around bung.
– Cover, the mesh, loosely with an opaque lid.

You could also filter/purify before using the water. Be sure to leave 10 – 20 percent for expansion.

You could also use heat tape. A bit pricey.

Be well.

you could use a water lock that you get at a distillery supply store. Use it just like you are fermenting something. It lets air out but nothing in.

Think of a bung that has a hole to a tube with a balloon on it- or a piece of closed off surgical tubing- this should be ample to accommodate any air that may be forced out due to the expansion of the water due to freeze. Atmospheric changes also play with sealed containers and this is how some of them allow themselves to be “sealed” yet accommodating.

Dave, I’m not sure what part of ohio you live in but here the southern part, we’ve had no trouble storing water on the garage. We leave air space on top and it seems to help. We got the idea from putting liter bottles in the freezer full of water to help during long term power outages and they never burst. Might be worth a try


Thanks for the reply. I wonder if just leaving headroom for expansion, but keeping the bung hole sealed would be risky?

If the ones in the shed burst, I would just be out some $. If the ones in the garage burst, that would be bad….

Yeah, the garage is attached to the house, so it may stay warm enough to not freeze.

Unfortunately it is a ranch on a slab. No basement, no crawl space.

The other unknown is if it even stays cold enough for long enough for all of the water to freeze.

My only option may be to just try it and see, knowing I may be out a barrel if it breaks (hopefully I can get it outside before water gets everywhere).

Make a concrete foundation for the barrels to sit on, about a 4×6 for two barrels. Place the actual barrels on a “pallet” this allows for air circulation. Wrap with a silver tarp to keep the light out. Build a frame and put up insulated walls and door. This is how I have mine and it doesn’t freeze but mine is against the house out of the wind also. If you still think it will freeze put a light in the bottom corner. Every spring I drain the water out and replace with fresh.
The best way to make sure you have enough drinkable water is to find a natural spring in your area. Having a couple of 55 gallon barrels of water is ok but not for long term survival. Knowing your area, the waterways and the geological aspects of your area is vital for survival.

If the barrel freezes and bursts, would there be much water flowing out of it? If you see it burst, you could then move it outside and let it melt.

Our 200 litre water drum split out the bottom when it froze, it was standing on the ground. Our 300 litre drum stayed intact, and the tap still functioned, this drum stands on a 20 inch base. Both drums have lids.

Dave,I too live in Ohio,I have had 4 (55 gal) filled for the last 3 winters.never had a problem.Leave about 3 inchs of head space.


Where do you have your waters stored? Inside, outside, garage?

Thank you!

Dave, The writer who suggested using a VAPOR LOCK like used in HOMEBREWING is an excellent idea! Also, you might invest in a FILTER, like the SAWYER 100,000 gallon model ($20) to treat when you remove the water for use. The VAPOR lock would allow room for expansion in the barrels without allowing air, bugs, etc; to enter the barrel. These can be found on line or locally from beer/wine supply stores.

Dave I have 3 open top “pickle” 65gl barrels and 2 -250gl plastic tanks and 1 -30gl bung hole barrel that all sit outside. 3/4 of the way filing and I have had zero issues in all the years I’ve had them.
That being said I don’t store water where it can hurt anything if a rupture did happen. Things fail

Could you wrap the barrels in the winter with the kind of blankets used around water heaters?


If you expect to have electricity you could use heat tape for pipes. Something like this:

Easy Heat Cold Weather Pipe Heating Cable

Heat tape is expensive.

You could also leave 10-15 percent of the barrel empty for expansion. You also need to provide a way for the air to escape. Loosen the bungs a bit. Be prepared to filter the water before use.

Be well.

If its freezing and really wouldn’t be used may as well drain it and refill in the spring?

You could use an air stone(used in aquariums)in your tank to keep the water from freezing,the extra oxygen will keep your water tasting fresh too. It would be an easy, economical solution to your problem. As long as your water is oxygenated, it won’t become stagnant.

Aquarium aerators pump normal air (read, full of spores) into your water. Not good for long term storage. Far better to run a small aquarium heater and put it on its lowest setting, and avoid the freeze altogether.

Can you dig a hole big enough to store them in? If they are below ground they shouldn’t freeze. Maybe dig a large hole, put in the barrels, fill them, then cover with plywood and a few inches of soil. You would need a hand pump or siphon to make the water easy to use.

Water stored in barrels will freeze if the temperature falls below freezing, barrels will expand. If you leave enough room for expansion, they will be fine. I leave my rain barrels out all winter, sometimes I forget to drain them, they are still OK. Example: take a gallon of milk and put it the freezer, it will probably burst. Now, pour yourself a glass, then put it the freezer, it will be fine. I freeze water to take up the empty space in the freezer, for the ice to make home made ice cream.
I get 4L glass wine bottles from the recycling center, clean and store my drinking water in them. Befriend the caretaker of the center. He will save them for you.

Now , water stored without chlorine will become bad, maybe brackish, depends what is in the water when stored. As long as it is in the dark, algea probably won’t grow. It takes nitrogen and/or sunlight for algea to grow.
We remove all the chorine from our tap water due to it being a poison when it is used by a charcoal filter. I store all my water straight from the tap. When it is needed, it is shook to add oxygen, may be poured to another container, back & forth. This mixing will also release the chlorine due to it being a gas, sunlight also dissipates chlorine.
Most store bought water has chlorine in it. Distilled water should not be , but maybe? Check it.
Most refregerators today have filter systems for the removal of chlorine. When the light says the filter is bad, just pull out the filter and put it back in. You just fooled the refregerator, saved money. If you don’t believe me, test the water for chlorine. These filters last a long time unless you fill 55 gal drums!
Chlorine is a poison! Dangerous, but we still drink it. The reason for the use of chlorine is it is cheap. There is better, but expensive!

“Note” sealed bottled water doesen’t go bad, but once the seal (air) is broken, two weeks. I keep four 55 gal barrels of water for non drinking, any type barrel will do. Its for the toilet, washing, boiling for pot & pan cleaning, small laundry items, & etc…. I just don’t think it would be wise to use my precious drinking water.
Grey water from laundry & showers can be used to flush toilets, water plants, …etc.
My rain barrels are full most of the time, it has discoloration from leaves, moss, , bird droppings, who knows what from the hackberry and yellow popular tree. I use it to water plants, wash some items, etc….

In my previous post, I explained the four 55 gal. barrels. The barrels were put in the basement over two years ago. This evening, I went down and opened a bung and collected a sample with a wine thief. Remember, these barrels were disinfected with chlorine and filled with tap water. The sample results were, NO noticeable chlorine residual, NO smell, No discolorazation, NO bad taste. It looked nice & clear. My wife said, but we need to know if it taste bad, so I took a taste of the glass. It was good. Then I explained to her it was for other uses, not really for drinking. I will drink it if I run out of saved jug water. Oh, I got room for 6-8 more of these barrels, I’ll have to bring a few more home. I did make one observation. The barrels were topped off (full to the brim) with water, then the bungs were tightened, before tightening that last bung, put some pressure on the barrel to squeeze out any excess air, then tighten!

Ken….. municipal water sources are still the cheapest and most adequate source for good clean drinking water. Culligan water filtrations systems remove all the TDS (total dissolved solids) means minerals, and chlorine. The body needs a lot of the minerals that is in the water. This is suitable for drinking, but not for long term storage. The water will need to be chlorinated before storage. If a person is using an undocumented water source, well, spring, lake water, then some kind of filtration should be used plus disinfection. (Chlorine/UV) Them little nasties love to mutiply and have families!
Chlorine can be detected in most bottled water sold in stores. These water companys simply set up shop in a small town or community that has a great water source & fill bottles. Its the same as you & I drink from the tap. Oh, they charge a buck for a bottle, its a scam!

Ken… for those people that have wells, if their well becomes contaminated, the well will need to be disinfected before using. Three pints of cheap bleach per 100 gallons of water, let set 8 hours, then flush all water lines until the smell subsides. Your well & pipes are now disinfected. You may want to figure up your gallons now, write it on your pump for reference someday.
Keep all debris, oils, animals, and waste products away from your well area!Water is the key to survival. You might want to camouflage or conceal your water source.

There is a better answer, Reverse Osmosis filter the water which will remove almost all impurities and then place it in sterile containers which are lightproof in a cool place. Add colloidal silver as a long term disinfectant and the water remains good for at least 5 years.

Consuming colloidal silver long-term is not a good idea and I am not a quack so here is some info to digest.

I live in a rural community (out in the boonies). The house we bought has a basement. It appears that the well was drilled first and the the house was built over the well. We also have a pond not far from the house and a fairly decent size creek also running thru our property. My question is: would I still need to worry about disinfecting my water for storage?

I have a hundred or so one gallon plastic bottles that we bought to use where distilled water is indicated. I consider them to be very clean. I want to fill each of them with my well water and put ten cc of H202 in them and then put them in my crawl space under my home. It is dark and cool, how would that work?


Could work and is certainly better than doing nothing.

Some things to watch out for:
– Do the bottles seem thicker than the soda bottles at the grocery store? A lot of this sort of thing is being engineered to biodegrade faster.
– Are the bottles opaque? This will help cut down on microbe growth.
– Does it ever freeze in the crawl space? An easy way to tell is to look for insulation on the cold water pipes.

Water will go stale after a while. Pouring it between to cups, back and forth, will aerate it. Make it taste better.

abc: I used strong plastic like emptied bleach/vinegar/cleaning/juice jugs and they lasted for about 10 years in an unused bedroom with no leaks…ever.
And that water wasn’t treated, but looked clear as when stored after many years.
This was to be used for everything but drinking.
When I did empty these jugs, I used the juice jugs water in the Berkey.

Milk jugs are hdpe 2 certified, but are they good for use as long=term water storage ?

Milk jugs aren’t good for long-term storage. They will leak out so slowly that you don’t notice, and then you will have an empty container. Two-liter soda bottles work well, though.

We all remember Y2K and the hype that went with it. Well, I purchased a blue 55 gallon water storage barrel and have kept it down in my basement since some time in 1999. It has a closed seal on top with a pump and plastic hose attached to it. I have no idea what the condition of the water is. It looks clean but haven’t tried drinking it. If I open the round cap would that let in the germs, etc. that have been sealed out? How can I figure this out to see if it’s still usable. I’d love to just keep it there but would feel better if I knew I could drink it if need be in an emergency. Any thoughts or information would be welcome. Thanks. Sue

You could always BOIL the water before it was used! Also, why not use it in your garden and wash/refill?

I have secured sturdy five gallon containers specifically designed for water storage. They will be stored in a garage that is usually, though not always, pretty cool. Should they be filled with municipal water all the way top,. or should an inch or two be left unfilled at the top to avoid having the water get too hot on warm days when we are not around, potentially exploding due to pressure buildup? Or does it not matter, i.e., not advantage to filling all the way so you may as well leave a couple inches open just in case?

I live in Phoenix, AZ. and have two food grade 55 gallon blue barrels. I have no basement and don’t have room to store the barrels in the house. I have a place in the attached outdoor laundry room but it is not cooled, winter temperatures are no problem here. If I use tap water to fill the barrels in March or April will the barrels make it through the summer heat (May-September) before being drained and refilled? Do I need to add additional chlorine? I appreciate any response as I know that this is not the best storage solution. The barrels are never exposed to sunlight.

I like to use the Aqua-Tainer 7-gallon jugs for water storage. At 7 gallons, they are a bit heavy, but still very portable. Each of my food storage shelf units (simple home built units using 2×4’s and plywood) is 8 ft. wide by 2 ft. deep. I can store 16 of the Aqua-Tainer jugs under the bottom shelf. Going by standard guidelines of one gallon of water per person per day, each group of containers gives my family of three about five weeks of water (with a 1-jug buffer). We’ve actually had weekends where we would live a post-SHTF lifestyle for practice, and it’s nice to grab a jug, invert the spigot contained in the cap, and set it beside the sink for running water.

I rotate water once a year. To sanitize (whether when new or when rotating), I put about a gallon of water in the container, add a couple tablespoons of bleach, and tumble…drain the bleach solution, and re-fill with fresh water. Of course, I check the water during each rotation, and so far have found the water to be free of odor, foul taste, etc., and have suffered no ill effects from consuming it. It probably helps that we start with treated municipal water.

I currently have 4 food grade barrels outside with the water down 10% and the lids tight and I am having no issues. Right now it has been -5 deg at night and the barrels are frozen (rain barrel as well lol). All seems to be well. Course I have 8 inside. ;^)
Just my $0.02

If you’re worried about pressure changes in your storage containers, people might try what wine makers us as a pressure relief valve. They let out excess gas and keep out contaminates. Just an idea.

I have well water and won’t use chlorine.
So I use stabilized oxygen for my water storage.
I put 20 drops into a gallon of water and it is supposed to be good for 5 years.
I have only been storing water for a year and the year old water tastes, looks, and smells good.

Has anyone else used this method?
If so how were your results?

Has anyone canned water? I canned several quarts of boiled water whenever I was canning other things (water bath for about 45 minutes). It has been several years (10 years in some cases). Do you think this water is good and it is a good idea to do it this way?

since I am not a “canner”, I don’t really know, but.

I have read a few times on other sites, advising that “canning water” was effective long term storage.

also, I have read quite often that well canned (still sealed) foodstuffs of all sorts can literally last for yrs. seems reasonable that canned water would last at least as long as any foodstuff. in fact, since there is less “organic” in canned water, I wonder if it would last MUCH longer?

Ken, when I read on other sites, the folks that did this, seemed to mostly use this method to fill up the odd empty spots in their canner. at least in that situation, then, there wouldn’t seem to be extra expense with the process, and make good use of available spots, and possibly some “extra” jars.

Having some canned, sterile water on hand is not a bad idea for use in flushing wounds and making some herbal preparations.

About 70 yrs ago my father made a dog house with a air space under it. he put a 75w light bulb in that space with a vent hole so he could change the bulb and see the light was working. saw the dog with his head outside the door when it was -20 seemed just fine.

I think you could put some insulation around a 55 gal barrel with a incandescent ( old school, they make more heat then light ) light bulb under it. may keep water from freezing. something to look into.

I would avoid bleach like the plague, and Iodine and other poisons. Remember, you will be drinking this stuff every day for who knows how long.

1 Tbsp. of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide per gallon will keep the water safe for a long time if it is already free of pathogens. You are purifying it with oxygen rather than lye (bleach) or Iodine, both poisons and yukky.

Container should be light tight and closed and in a cool place; and to me plastic is a no no if possible. Stainless beer kegs, stainless soda syrup kegs, glass is “mo better”. Contact your local homebrewer for leads on obtaining these kegs.

If you can find food grade peroxide so much the better.

how do you go about filling a stainless beer keg with water??

Why not just keep the keg full of beer?
Don’t know how long one could store it, before the urge to tap it becomes to great.

Canned water is available in 27 ounce cans and will safely store for 30+ years. It was used in Civil Defense shelters and although it is rather expensive it is still worth it in my opinion if you can afford it. Also, because of the size of the cans it is easy to find space to store it.

To Jersey Drifter. If you can afford to replace the keg of beer every six months ( shelf life of beer ), then you can afford the canned water and it will store longer and more easily. If you want a beer there are home brewing kits that are easy to use and make 2 gallons at a time.

I have an opportunity to acquire a 1500gal poly tank that was used to transport Iodine. The price is right,Free, would this be seen as a suitable container for H2O? I realize it would need to be cleaned a bit but thats a lot of storage if the need arose.

i would definetly NOT use it. i am no scientist/chemist/expert my friend… but considering you will potentially have unknown high amounts of chemical residue inside…please do not use it. at the very least talk to a few experts…and get a few opinions .
iodine does have its life saving benefits… (helping to puriify water/medical/blocking thyroid…(in the RIGHT small amounts).

but it is also poisen.

that is just my humble opinion as said… err on side of caution is me advice.

I was storing tap water in used 1-gallon water jugs bought from Kroger, but got to thinking about those 5-gallon water jugs they sell for the water dispensers. Although they are a little expensive for water (imagine that), they seem like the most safe and versatile storage for safe drinking water. They are unopened, and kept in a closet in our house so they are out of the elements. For my Family, we would need about one per day for drinking. I also have a 55 gallon blue plastic drum outside with a tap, kept up off the ground for other water needs. It froze, but so far has not cracked or leaked. I figure that as long as the container stays intact, then they frozen water can still be accessed and used after being warmed.

Is it better to buy the plastic jugs of water or the glass jugs of water Thanks

About How long will water last if it is sealed in one of the 5 gal glass jug?

How long can bottled water last if unopened and kept in a cool,dark place? And when I say bottled water, I mean those big 4 gallon plastic water cooler bottles,unopened and factory sealed.

…as you said Ken…using bpa free containers designed for drinking…
…seems that so much water must be put away…and is expensive just for drinking.

…some ideas i have for fast cheap storage of water for non drinking storage :

make a” bladder frame”… using heavy plastic. drape plastic
inside frame and have enough excess plastic draping OVER outside offrame…
pour in water treat with chlorine…twist the plastic to contain water
and form a container/package. wrap with duct tape then wire or string/rope.
could also use the type of construction glue/used in caulking guns…to seal water.
(it is so strong they use it in constructipn industry to permanently hold up sheets of plywood
with a few screws). you could make like 5 galon or so bladders…

could also make 2by 4 frames in much bigger sizes…drape plastic over sides of frame fill with water and treat…
then put a “lid” over top seal with the caulk…could also use plywood on sides also but just make real strong.

make a pit/hole in ground fill with water/treat it bundle plastic and twist n tie it to seal.
idea is to contain as much water any way you can as fast as can…(esecially if/when fallout or other things could be on the way.?

save all your expensive bpa foodsafe containers for drinking water…but we still need water for our non drinking needs right?

OK many ways to store water, my question is when it’s time to drink stored water what test is needed to know you did it right? Thanks for all the info ! Debbie W.

Thanks Ken, just what I was looking for I needed the numbers and I like the boiling but as we know that takes fuel. Sure wouldn’t want the get sick after thinking I’m prepared. Stock up on chlorine ! Debbie W.

If your worried about fuel, consider a Kelly kettle. Uses very little. You might also consider a biomass stove. There are several varieties. Google ‘rocket stove’. I chose a Grover model. Cost a bit more, made in USA.

Both can boil water and cook food. Each is better at one than the other.

Thanks for the info WhatMeWorry? I will check them out. I think I’m going to go with a variety in each category . The sales may help me decide on some items . Debbie W.

You’re welcome. If you get a Kelly kettle be sure to have water in it when cooking. They can melt.

I can vouch for the KELLYKETTLE! It will burn small debris (twigs,pinecones, etc’) and rapidly boil water. I think it a necessity to treat any water stored for longer than 1 yr (or less) before using it.

To Store water right is kind of early don’t you think I believe the evidence says were ten to fifteen years away before it becomes a ñightmare.

Can I store (and later safely drink) reverse osmosis water long-term in glass containers without treating it?

To clarify, the water is municipal water that I’ve run thru a reverse osmosis system. I was thinking of storing some in glass containers for emergency use.

I also have a 55 gal food grade plastic barrel that I will fill with tap water. I was told reverse osmosis water would dissolve some of the plastic.

Two things I like to ask; first, how long will store bought bottle water keep if left unopened and stored in a cool, dark location inside; and secondly, I keep between 70 and 100 gallons stored in plastic containers that were not made for water in a cool, dark location in my shed as “gray water” for cleaning and sanitation purposes. These containers are sealed. Will that be suitable? I appreciate any comments.

BigT, Many plastic containers tho no “meant for water” are food grade. containers such as kitty litter jugs , vinegar jugs,bleach jugs, new 5 gallon buckets, Pickle buckets,( takes extra effort)…all can be used after cleaning. for drinking water.

Would a concrete tornado shelter be a good place to store water

It would need to be coated (painted) with a sealer of some type (epoxy?) to make it waterproof but will work just fine. If you do a google search you will find many examples.

It pains me to read about the lack of storage of water for households in the US. I believe some places even ban rain catchment systems.

I’m American but moved to Australia to be with my husband nearly 5 years ago. A 5000 litre water rainwater tank is mandatory on all new build homes in Queensland, where we live. Most of the older homes have them because the town water supplies are a bit yucky. We have two tanks on my 120yr old home that we bought. One is 5000 litre and the other is I believe about 7000 litre.

Most people here just drink the rain water straight out of the water tanks. One tank is always plumbed to the laundry and the toilet on new builds. Lots of homes, both older and newer(mine included) have a tap that is rainwater plumbed to the kitchen. The water will run through a filter (sometimes) before coming into the house and there is always screening and mesh to filter before the rainwater goes into the tanks.

There seems to be no one that is really concerned about sterilizing the water. There also doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of people running to the hospital because their rainwater made them sick either.

I feel like I am missing something here.

You’re not missing anything – everyone else is.
Here in coastal South Texas much of the ground water is salty so folks outside of town have cisterns. Most have a basic filter to get rid of the dirt that washes off the roof (so you don’t have to wait a week while it settles) but that’s about it.
It is amazing how may gallons your roof will collect with just a minor rain shower.
Collect from the gutter system; use a solar pump to move it to another elevated cistern for gravity water pressure and that’s it. Pretty much free.

Thanks Texican! Sorry it has taken me a bit to respond but I just now checked back on this forum.

Since my last posting we have actually “lost” one of our rain water tanks due to age. Half of it has become a compost bin and the other half has become a raised veggie garden.

In the place where the rain water tank was I now have our “cooking” bin from the composting toilet system we have installed. It will definitely help with waste issues should SHTF. It will allow us to keep our sanitation up and at the same time not waste any of our precious water supply.

I use gallon glass jugs that good ole cheap wine comes in , i sterilize them with soap, very hot water and fill with tap water that has been purified by a Berkey purifier. I put jugs back into original cardboard boxes they come in , store them in my basement in a cool dark place. I have many boxes of pure water waiting to be used.

Has anyone ever processed water in glass canning jars with a seal? If so, how long would it last? I have many canning jars and would like to know if anything is needed to be done prior to processing.

Its sterile so it should last indefinitely (as in “forever”) but you would need so darn many jars to have a really useful quantity.

Thank you! Yes, you are correct about a useful amount! But I have bunches of quart jars. My canner holds up to 8 quart jars at a time. Just to use in a pinch. We live along Lake Erie, and we have been having algae blooms that stop our water supply for sometimes two days at a time. Your information was very helpful. Thank you again, Texican!

I there are tooooo many comments to go through so forgive me if my question was answered already somewhere in the middle. but how would you prepare well water for long term storage?? should I add an amount (?) of bleach before storing it? our water is completely untreated from a 75′ well. thanks!

I just filter…mine and store. for up to 4 months and rotate it with daily use. could be placed in 55 gal food grade and treated with bleach/chlorine. We have chlorine but do not desire it to taint our food and drink.If i had to put it in ours would filter before drinking and keep a minimum of 3 filters.for general house use.

Hey everybody. Just had a quick question in regards to storing water. I am looking to store several 55 gal blue food grade drums that I found and am cleaning out as I type. What is the best way to store for long term in regards to added chemicals in the drums? I have heard clorox will work but also not work, maybe some cholrine drops only? Any advice would be great. Thanks guys.

Okay, just want to make sure I wouldn’t be making a big mistake here. Let’s say I have water that has been in a barrel for over a year, and somehow, contaminants got inside. Would it still be safe to drink this water after boiling it? I am actually trying to get a group together to begin some major prepping with our own little compound and enough water storage to feed a small community. I just want to know if heating it would make it safe enough to drink…and even cook with if we needed it.

So long as you have a means to purify/sterilize your water, (boiling, filtering, treating), your water should be ok. The big thing to really watch out for is algae growth in your tanks. You can kill your filters very quickly with algified, (yes, I made up a word), algified water. Now, if you had some sort of chemical contaminant taint your water supply, (oil, pesticides, etc…) there is no amount of boiling that could clean it and you should definitely clean out your tank and refill with new water. Hopefully this helps! :)

I live in central Arizona so I don’t have the problem of my water freezing.In the summer our temp’s can and will be over 100 and not cool off that much in the night. I have plenty of dark storage space to store hundreds of gallons of water but what happens when the temperatures soar.

I would rotate that supply to maintain its freshness.If not a personal well is chlorinated. Just my take. IT can be re-oygenated by pouring from container to container…ie glass to glass. Another jug to use is the big kitty litter jugs hold about 3 gallons. Clean by washing and leaving baking soda in til scent is gone. easier for older ones to lift manage… ( easier than 5-7 gallon ones)

We have R/O system connected to our kitchen sink. Our water supply is a well. We live in SW Florida. What is the safest way to store five gallon water containers?

I live just outside of Dallas, Texas and our summers get really hot. The only place I have to store water is in my garage. I have 5 gal. plastic bottles. Will my water be ok?

City water is chlorinated. Will be as safe as is now. DO Protect from sun and light. put garbage bags over them. Filter all your drinking water. Get a water filter. I use “Just Water.” water filter.. Abt 35$ for 6-9 months. Bucket system.includes fittings for first time set up. Water tastes wonderful.

I bought 7 gal bpa free water storage containers , would it be best to fill them with distilled water Or city water from our sink for long term storage? I will be replacing the water every yr.

I have over 49 one gallon milk jugs in storage filled with tap water. Do I need to treat it ? If so , what do I use ? Also I have 30 some cases of bottled water stored in my basement. Trying to do my part !

On the Brink
The jugs used for milk due not hold up, they are meant to be recycled so they breakdown. Your jugs will start to leak, so you should keep an eye on them. When you are able replace them with heavy plastic containers. You might look into the water containers sold in the stores which you can fill up for about 25 cents per gallon.

I stored jugs of water for years but never milk jugs. A no-no..they are cheap plastic. Use bleach/juice jugs.

I read somewhere that you can put some pieces of ginger a bird watered and that it will keep it fresh for the birds . Would this work for our water?

There is research out there re: pure silver as a water purifier and it
when used appropriately silver inhibits bacteria and algae and more.
I do not know about any specific applications for home water storage but it is an interesting topic to investigate.

Found this quote from an article re: the history of health support uses of silver.

“•Pioneers trekking across the American West found that if they placed silver or copper coins in their casks of drinking water, it kept the water safe from bacteria, algae, etc.”

I have a colloidal silver machine to make colloidal silver solution. Often use it on a regular basis. I would suggest if used in water to use in glass storage containers only as the silver in solution will readily adhere to plastics and metal containers. I will put an ounce or two in a gallon of milk that is past the expiration date. Seems to extend the quality for a week or two or until consumed.

I have a “drinking water safe” garden hose outside, would this be safe enough to fill large jugs for storing water?

Anybody from Long Island storing water ? And if so, if you are storing it outside your house, say in your garage or shed, how are you dealing with the extreme temps we can have here !

I am considering purchasing 2 IBC food grade tanks (275 or 330 gal). I live in the south where it’s sunny, hot at humid. How long will water last under these conditions? I can possibly store them in a shed as I do not have a basement. I am not sure if purchasing the 55 gal blue barrels would be better. Any ideas short of moving further north?
Thank you

Denise the IBCs I have I wrapped in black plastic and put on the north side of the house out of the sun to keep the algae down. I rotate the water annually but wouldn’t have any qualms with it being a couple of years old. I put those garden hose attachments on the spout and use it to water the garden etc. so it’s not wasted then refill them.
I suggest having different levels (sizes) of water containers for different things. I can move a barrel in the house with a dolly but can’t an IBC. I have larger jugs to flush with and smaller ones or spouted ones so even the kids can et their own drink.

Matt, can set that same IBC/ black, up on a platform and let it be an oversized sun shower, friend of mine who lives near Hana over here has no running water so that is his setup, they pump water from a stream

Kulafarmer I’ve really been considering a raised platform, for one, that can hold the 1 ton of weight, the next time I fill them. They are right by the bathroom window and if I could pipe it (even just garden hose) to the toilet and/or tub that would be a real good thing.
I kinda want to do a third tank for that though and leave my other two alone.

Jabba I’m with you on the bug out at that time but the best laid plans of mice n men….so I have a plan B and C(ish).

Tot he rest this is probably the least complicated and yet most important prep there is. Buy some quality jugs like Ken showed so if you gotta bug they hold up and do the best you can even if it is in soda bottles. A good filter is worth every dime. Heck a busted water main or town employee who let the e-coli get too high can cause you issues at home and your quality of life can change.

Matt in Ok

That same friend uses one to feed his toilet, they have it rigged with a sprayer pump, a 12v battery and a 50w solar panel, the tank catches water off their roof, most toilets need at least 20? Psi? Not 100% on that, but know it needs some pressure. Is a rough setup but for limited budget is a decent rig. His bathroom is an outside deal, open shower fed by that IBC tank that is on s platform outside his garage, garage is about 20’ higher than the house, and open air bathroom/shower. you walk down some rock stairs to get into the house, is a really tropical semi jungle setup, pretty cool actually, not so sure i would chose that as a way to live, but we may all be heading there anyway

Timing is strange on this topic.
I just thought about my 20 (30 gallon) drums in the garage so decided to use some of that water stored June, 2011–yep, 8 years now.
It tastes just like tap water filtered in the Berkey.
Husband said there was no way we’d be drinking that water in the garage..uh, yeah, we are.
I’d share a pic of the drum but Lexington Containers doesn’t have it on their website now. But, at that time, 10 for $100 was a steal.

I do need to state that I used tap water, no additive like chlorine or bleach added.
That water looked like it just was pulled from a tap it was so clear–you could see the opposite wall through a glass!!!

The question of how much does one need to store is the most common.
For me the answer is as much as possible without creating issues. You don’t know what will happen, who might show up and how long it might last. We are blessed with cheap water, in comparison to other countries, and containers aren’t real expensive either so why not?
Once mine runs out I’ve got a hike to retrieve dirty water that will need filtering. I’ll need security pulled while we gather it so a minimum of 2, the danger in exposure and the time it takes to retrieve, haul and filter. The other choice is that I can buy a $15 barrel, clean it, fill it and forget about it for a while which makes the choices real easy for my lazy self.

How much to store? I just like with all my preps you gotta start somewhere. So I started with 1 gal. per person per day. Finished with that and kept on going. Food: started with 3 days then 3 months, creeping up on a year’s worth.
Once I’m out I gotta go to a creek or a canal. Same concerns about security. But If I gotta do that, I’m buggin out. I don’t plan on sticking my head out the house for at least 3 months. It should be really quiet after that. The common denominator in all survival scenarios is people. The most dangerous of all animals out there.

Well folks as stupid as this may sound…
I have 4 different plastic containers for water…
1. Clear plastic, gal. size jugs from the store
2. Milk jug style, gal. size jugs (only ever had water in them from the store)
3. Mountain Dew Bottles 16.9fl oz. weighs 1lb full.
4. a Blue 55 gal. drum.
Numbers 1-4 are stored at temperatures ranging from 50º-70ºF
Number 1 and 2 were purchased new from the store with water in them…
Number 3 were rinsed and re-filled with town water and NO air bubbles in them. The oldest bottle is about 6 months and it looks like water with nothing else in it, tastes fine.
Number 4 is for rain water collection for anything that is not drinking (unless we absolutely have to). If we do, then I will filter and boil it.

Jabba, We’ve got a variety of storage water containers, too:

Several cases of drinking water in 12/16 oz bottles
1 gallon Milk jugs (just added into the freezer)
7-gallon Blue Aquatainer water jugs
5-gallon plastic water bottles (scrounged from a water dispenser service)
Blue 55 gallon drums
1,000 gallon water tank

We have a rain cachement system and it uses some of the 55 gallon drums, plus the 1,000 gallon water tank. They’re never filled by well water, only by rainwater, so we don’t top them off.

Prepping elitist that I am, I purchased a 305 gallon storage tank, mounted it on an elevated platform I over built myself from treated 2″x12″ treated lumber and concrete construction blocks. Fitted it with a gate-valve and hose fittings so I can use the demand water pump to back feed the home through the lawn water faucet. Paid for it by not eating out, not drinking with the boys, or chasin’ women (my wife wouldn’t approve).

Slowly, as I could afford it, I gathered up the necessary down pipes and elbows to divert water run-off from my roof gutters to replenish it, should the need arise. That’s what elitist preppers do. Thought long and hard about the expenditure, but figured having it should I need it was better than griping and complaining about not having it. Sacrificing a few fleeting pleasures to have some water security made sense.

Really want to install a second tank beside it. I figure one 305 gallon tank will provide the five people I am responsible for with 2 gallons a day each for a month (considered minimum for shtf survival). Two would stretch that cushion. There I go showing my elitism by wanting backup to my backup preps. Won’t happen overnight, will take time to get up the money (taxes and insurance are due), but sacrificing a few less necessary wants will get me to where I want to be with this prep. Much cheaper than drilling a well or running a quarter mile of pipe to one of the 3 year round springs on my place.

By the way, the tank is heavy black plastic. Had it for three years now. Drained and refilled twice a year, no algae growth at all. Total cost for tank, materials for platform, valves and fittings, came to less than $400 total. Of course that doesn’t include my labor.

P.S.-the demand water pump was a gift from a neighbor for keeping his yard mowed when he couldn’t. Wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.


We live in an area that experiences quite a few single digit nights, occasionally dips to zero. Yes, it does freeze up. Solid? I doubt it, but probably several inches in from the walls.

I wrapped the piping and valve with insulation, cover ed with a 5 gallon bucket with a shop light w/incandescent bulb inside to prevent freeze up on such nights. I bought a submersible water tank heater for livestock troughs from Tractor Supply (around $25 IIRC) which I put in the tank to be activated if necessary (1500w I believe) It has thermostat that kicks in at 35 degrees. Haven’t had any problems since. My generator will handle this easily in an outage.

Dennis, I guess I’m a prepping elitist too! We were surprised that our 1,000 gallon tank was not much more expensive than the 200-300 gallon tanks. We love having it for the garden, but it can also be our last resort for water — it would have to be filtered and purified.

Dang, that tank can hold some water!!

And because I hate having so much water in one location, I’ve been pestering my man to get a 200-300 gallon tank to store elsewhere, nearer to the creek and totally out of sight.

And why not have a second large water tank? We are a 2 genny household, as well.
Two is one, one is none…if ever there was an elitist way of thinking, that must be it, eh?

Our tanks are 500 gallon Norwesco Tanks that I have attached to gutters with a First Flush system. We use the tanks primarily in the drought prone months of August/September to water the garden…if the garden is still alive.

I don’t remember what the tanks cost but the Peace of Mind knowing that if all goes to crap, I’ve at least got 1000 gallons to work with.

Sir, how can you call yourself an elitist in the prepper category if you have not reached the 1,000 mark on TP storage????
Please note this is an exclusive club and not just any old Grumpy Fart aka NRP can lay claim to the ” Prepper Elite” aka “PEeeeee”

No, it’s
aka “NRtP”

And if Dennis was an elite prepper, he would have his own jet and underground bunker property in New Zealand.
(You don’t have those things, …..do you, Dennis?)

Joe c,

Oh yeh. Got a jet nozzle on my water hose and a cave down in the hollow. Took New Zealand off my list when they banned semi-auto guns.

Good for.you👍


You know us elitists, I went to the Venezuelan Consulate and converted a$100 bill into Bolivars. Filled a 10×20 shed. Amazingly soft, strong, supple, and absorbent. Makes you feel so superior to the little man prepper when you use it.

Be aware though, not septic tank safe.

Hey Dennis can I ask a favor? CD from OK was having a bad day and said something not to bright and so far has NOT posted again.

Maybe the ongoing “Elitists” comments shows we don’t know about that Forgiveness thing that our Lord mentioned in the Lords Prayer?

Please let it go friend. I want folks like CD to know we are NOT Snowflakes easily offended. I bet you know a few Scriptures about being easily offended?

I’d like CD from OK to come back? Is that alright with you? BTW I did look into my OWN EYE to remove that beam….


No problem with me. Wasn’t offended to begin with. Do confess to using his comment to poke fun though.

Come on back CD in OK. No ill will on my part.

Thank you Dennis, you never disappoint me friend, you know your a bit of a Leader here on MSB. Your occasional evening prayers are refreshing. When I saw so many “Elitist” comments brew up from so many others on this list I knew CD from OK was getting slammed.

If I recall correctly shortly after CD returned to MSB he made a little comment at the end of his post about “Remember that a Personal SHTF can happen at any time”.

Also IIRC he mentioned getting Robbed and losing even some of his foot powered sewing machines in one of his posts.

Trying to link this with Long Term Drinking water if someone STOLE my 12 volt shurflo portable water pump or dumped nastiness into my well that would be a Personal SHTF for me.

Sometimes I wish we had a Go Fund Me for friends of MSB. I’d donate. As that song goes “I get by with a little help from my friends”. (forget the rest of that lyric though…)

Question on the frozen milk jugs to help retain ‘the freeze’ in a freezer if the lights go out:

Should we trust those milk/water jugs (1 gallon size) in the frozen state in our freezer, or should we get something else?

Modern Throwback…I too have had milk jugs spring a leak in a seam, or even a hole, when I have been using them for storage such as bird seed. They weren’t being used roughly.

Modern Throwback I have found gallon plastic vinegar jugs very sturdy. I’ve been using a lot of white vinegar for cleaning and have all my back up water in them now. Milk jugs are nearly impossible to clean all the milk out of and they leak sooner or later.

I even use vinegar jugs bottoms cut off as plant covers. My oldest ones are over 3 years old stored outside and ready for next seasons use. It’s nice to be able to have the lid off or on depending on temperatures.

Modern Throwback,
I have 1 better for you… Use a super solution of salt water for your frozen jugs… Just like you would put salt in the water for a higher boil point, it also works on the other end of the spectrum for a colder freeze point.
I have old Gatorade bottles that I use in my coolers. It works real good.

Thank you all for the feedback. I’ll defrost them and use the water up, then toss those jugs.

We don’t drink sodas or juices, but we make pickles and use vinegar to clean with, so I’ll save those jugs to use instead.

Modern Throwback and all Vinegar Jug users….I have used these too, but found them very hard to get the taste/smell of vinegar out. — so just used for stuff like bird seed etc..Now then, if SHTF or water was off for a while, a smidgen of vinegar taste and smell would not harm anyone…but…

MT, Do you have any events you attend that use cola’s, or juice…church event, family gatherings,? all those esp 3 liter jugs do work well for water storage. I use the vinegar jugs, if they are in a rotation and going thru it every 3-4 months. It does not take long for vinegar smell to leave. I use milk jugs for shortest term. we do not get many.. can be used to mix liquid fertilizers for certain house plants. and labeled clearly with a marker. the big tea jugs with big top and handle work really well for water. If you should have any neighbor who uses purchased water in gallons. sometimes they are avail at recycle center. I ust bleach and allow o sit for 30 min so solution covers all. then rinse well and use. Big bleach bottles work same way esp good for using for cleaning and flushing.in no water situations. tho are bulky to stack..can be by using a thin board between layers.

Just Sayin, I recycle the milk jugs for greenhouse use, so when I ‘toss them out’, that’s their destination. Yes, everything mixed up in the greenhouse is marked, even if the smell of fish emulsion is fairly obvious. lol We also have a dozen clean, but used, jugs strung up w some cordage and they hang from a floor joist in the basement — they’re kept just-in-case.

I do buy some water — distilled water. That water comes in jugs, too. The distilled water is for my nasal rinse (allergies). Are you saying those plastic jugs filled with water are okay — they have the plastic #2 symbol. Based on Ken’s article “Safe Plastics”, they should be good for water storage…but for freezing??

All that I was looking for was a reliable plastic jug that will tolerate a frozen state in the freezer. Maybe we should freeze ice blocks (made from cut-back gallon jugs), then remove them from the molds, pile them into a Rubbermaid-type tub, and place it all in a corner of one freezer shelf. Hey! Did I just re-create the old style ice blocks??? rofl

Modern Throwback — am thinking I’ve heard of/read of milk jugs being handy for another use too….cut the bottom off so you can insert large ball of string or twine, and thread the end out the pouring hole of the jug. Punch a couple of holes in bottom cut edge, and hang for easy /untangled access to cord. Might work for wool, too.

Modern Throwback
Why yes you did re-create the ‘old fashion’ block ice. We use the paper carton 1 gallon milk containers. After the milk is used I wash them with hot soapy water, same if I happen to purchase juice(rare buy for us). Fill up about 3/4 of the way to leave room for expansion to the solid form. Place in the freezer where you need to help with cold retention. I do not use the plastic jugs do to the seams splitting.

Jane, I have my great grandparents’ cast iron twine dispenser that they used in their General Store in the early 1900s! It is being used at our home now, with a ball of twine. (We also save bailing twine and plastic stringing, too — comes in very handy when bailing up kindling bundles, or as temporary ties for odd jobs.)

AC — Interesting about the asceptic milk cartons. We just bought a 1/2 gallon in one of those containers so I’ll give that a try instead of the plastic milk jug. They’ll be much easier to cut through. Thanks for the tip.

How to make an old fashioned ice box ….

Modern Throwback – very cool to have the great grand parents cast iron dispenser. Very Cool (and useful too).

All my comments on my water preps presuppose having good water filtration preps also. I’m with most, a Berkey system is advisable if and when you can acquire one. Had mine for a number of years. Despite the initial sticker shock, probably the most cost efficient prep I’ve made. And yes, I believe in backup prep here also. Each family member also has a backup Lifestraw, Berkey Sport Bottle, or equivalent in their go-bags.

Modern Throwback,
You are funny..lol… I read your post to Dennis…
I forgot to mention we have a 600 gal. hot tub we could use for water too…
I say “could” because it is drained and cleaned. We just don’t use it right now as we need to replace the liner but if needed it can hold water or collect water…

Jabba, that’s a great water ‘tank’ for you! Just be sure to fill that tub the day before the SHTF. lol

Got a 1,550 gallon tank this year. Didn’t take a planned road trip to cover the cost. That’s 3 people-years of drinking water at 1.5 gallons a day. Have put off two other trips so hope to get a second tank this winter.

Have a 1,000 gallon swimming pool that will go under one downspout once the fall rains begin. That’s about a year’s worth for the animals. Plan on one or two others for wash and laundry water. Normal year is 115 inches of rain.

The case of pool shock should provide all the chlorine I could ever need for disinfecting drinking water. Berkey’s on the shelf.

Have obtained permission from neighbors across the road to put a solar powered pump in the creek if needed. Creek is uphill from here so it’s just a matter of raising water over the bank then running it down to my place.

Got a great deal on a pitcher pump that can be fit on my well should power become unavailable. Like having multiple options. With water, there’s hope.

– I have two bathrooms (actually three) at opposite ends of a ranch-style house on a slab. What I really need is some sort of cistern, just haven’t figured out how I want to arrange it so as to have well water to all and kitchen.

I have got a hand pump that will provide water from my well, and would be able to fill a cistern as well (slowly) but a commercial windmill setup will cost me over $6K.

I can cobble something together; see EMAS videos, but it will have to meet DW’s approval. Still haven’t figured out exactly how I am going to do this.

Should SHTF, of course, all bets are off. I will do what I must, regardless of whether DW likes it. Until then, though…

– Papa S.

Papa S.
How about a plastic septic tank?
They are built to bury and are fairly cheap.
Can be used for all the gray water needs….

Papa Smurf
Will she let you have a “Petticoat Junction” water tank in the back yard with a old time train with tracks painted on the side as yard art?
Saw them in Kingman AZ, they were unique set up for water storage. It has been 8+ years, but something different for hiding in plain sight what every household needs.

Papa Smurf, are you going to get water from the cistern via gravity flow or via a pump?

Papa Smurf I researched plastic septic tanks. They are rotomolded from polyethylene resins and are food safe plastics. Same as most of the 3-5-7 gallon water containers for camping.

They are built for the needed strength to be buried for use as a septic tank or in your case a cistern. Cost for the tank seems to be around a dollar a gallon capacity. The installation instructions I read point out that before backfill the hole they need 25% capacity fill of water. I asked why from local septic folks and it’s so it doesn’t “Float” up as backfill occurs as soil can act almost liquid when backfilling? That prevents the hooked up sewage lines from shattering from that “Float” effect when backfilled.

1500 gallons of life security would be pretty nice in my opinion.

While a hand pump with replacement leathers is a solid backup that Solar water pump (WITH Replacement Parts and a spare solar panel or two for hail storms etc.) that Ready Made Resources sells here on this site is an excellent investment. We both are reasonably healthy but we might be really BUSY post SHTF and or injured-sick for serious time spent running a hand pump for water pumping.

That septic tank-solar pump system and a DC pressure pump “T”‘ed into your current system would post SHTF make your water system very close to current use. I would put a T valve to prevent your cistern water being used until you decide it’s needed as not to potentially cross contaminate your current water system.

This system could also be rigged for rainwater collection with the needed first rain fall diverters into GARDEN-Animal water supply and a filter if you feel your rainwater needs it. Amazing how the very civilized Island State of Bermuda LIVES from it’s rainwater collection systems of white washed concrete roof collection systems. They must have more tolerant guts than Americans.

BTW TRY Living for a week on the Minimum Stored Water suggested by the US Government 1950’s Duck and Cover information and often repeated mindlessly by other sites. You will find that gallon a day is Nuclear Bunker Barely survival. NASTY and Brutish with out even wet rag baths or toilet flushes. Go for a lot more and ALSO make sure you have a working plan how to do daily checks on your stored water supplies.

That way IF everything goes sideways at the same time as Murphy likes to do it, you CAN drop your usage to that nasty 1 gallon a day per person until the rain comes again.

– I had actually researched the plastic septic/water tanks myself. They are not that uncommon around here for water storage, the trick is I need to get one high enough for gravity flow. The EMAS hand pumps do not use leathers. Rain in my area is definitely a secondary concern, as we do not get enough annually to make enough to keep us in drinking water routinely. Our rain runoff from the roof would tend to be very dirty, and a limited amount of water.

I will need to change to a metal roof, because the current shingle roof would not work at all well. Typically, though, we average around a foot or so of rainfall per year. We do have the largest underground freshwater reservoir in the world as our primary water source, though

– Papa

Hello Brother from another Mother! AKA Papa Smurf!

The EMAS hand pump information I have uses a marble in a seat seal and mentions need for rebuilding that seat seal now and then due to suspended water grit wear. Neat design and thank you for reminding me of it. Not leathers but same idea, all critical systems need repair parts or your part of that old story “For want of a nail…”

Gravity flow is tough with out serious engineering effort friend. Weight of a 1500 gallon tank not including the plastic weight would be around 6 Tons…. The 65 psi that city water pressures need means a 150 foot high tower.

Happily flush toilets (If you had water to waste) and basic field showers can do with quite a bit less pressure. Looking at RV’s as an excellent example of a small pressurized system a shurflo DC pressure pump (so if that sweet sine wave inverter is busy or dead..) and a RV style pressure tank so it doesn’t have to cycle constantly your good with basic water pressure.

As far as the shurflo model you need I’d ask a local RV dealer but the 288 343 435 model looks good on Amazon at 180 gallons per hour, 45 psi and on demand so stops when psi is correct. Power requirements are modest at around 7 amps, easy with a solar panel set up. I think I saw one of these on Ready Resources store but haven’t seen repair kits yet. A repair kit is important.

I looked up Ken’s article about Rainwater Collection (worthwhile review also showed me how NASTY living under a civil war is in the “Collapsed City” Article on same page…WELL worth rereading IMHO, can happen in towns also) and even a 14 X 20 foot tarp in a 1 inch rainfall = 175 gallons (IF you have a tarp and storage for that water hint, hint…) and if the tarp was clean the water should be water filter ready. A 28 X 40 foot house-barn roof in that 1 inch rainfall is 700 gallons although the first 10-15 minutes of that rain should be used for grey water uses like flush toilets, gardens and animals.

Again the weakness I’ve seen in most emergency rainwater collection systems is LACK of enough storage. Mine included sad to say. I too need to talk to the lady of the house about a second septic tank for cistern use. I may live in a wetter area than you Papa but frozen water is hard to process….

I’m slipping Father Smurf! The reason I mentioned the 14 X 20 foot tarps collecting 175 gallons of filter ready rainwater from a 1 inch rainstorm is this:

With well placed Hooks on your home and outbuildings you can run out with your tarps and most importantly HAVING available water storage to collect that blessing from a maybe brief rain event. Then put them away to keep them cleaner AND save wear and tear for next time?

I have 4 sets of hooks and tarps set aside for this.

Hope this helps you think about this prep. I always learn something useful from your posts.

Prepare for stupid people, there are so many of them running for President, and etc.

– Grandparents had a rural farmhouse with about 600 gallons about 20 feet up to the base of the cistern, filled by windmill. Water pressure was adequate, not great, but able to wash dishes, flush toilets, shower (well, it did work) and water garden.

When I was a young sprout I was occasionally guilty of forgetting to turn off the water and got fussed at a time or two. Nothing like climbing the windmill tower and turning the fan by hand a time or two to remind you to turn the water off. (Be careful doing that, it’s a good way to lose a finger.)

– Papa

– By the way, the last three rainfall events were 0.1″, 0.4″ and 0.2″ all this year. Not terribly encouraging.
– Papa

Papa Smurf from Ken’s article about collecting rainwater a 14 X 20 tarp can collect from a .1 inch rainfall 17 gallons and a 1/4 inch rainfall 44 gallons. Thus I suggest you not underestimate brief rain showers.

I have 4 tarp and hook set ups that cost less than 100.00 all told. That and I can always find uses for tarps :-) So given your .1 inch rainfall and If I waste-fail to collect half of it that’s still 30 gallons plus water filter ready rainwater.

Not a huge amount but if your looking at 1-2 gallons per person per day nasty survival minimums that helps? Or as I say to small gardens at least you have a little extra food to help spread your main food supply a bit further.

Sometimes survival is mere few extra days of water friend?

Goodness Brother from another Mother why did you choose such a dry place? After spending much of my youth in the dry side of Washington State where they say it takes 4-6 acres PER steer (and you have to PUMP water for them) and my sandbox exercises in the Army, I chose to live where trees grow naturally. Here in NH it’s how many cows per acre :-) that’s not covered with trees, and my creek is running except for winter and severe drought conditions for the Cows.

– me2,
I actually have about six large tarps and a number of covered buckets and other containers on hand. Hooks are also on hand, but as I mentioned we have the world’s largest underground freshwater reservoir about 30-40 feet away. Also have two running creeks in the area, so what if they are only ankle deep and a few feet wide? Nice thing about it is no one is anxious to take this area away from you when times get bad. I have collected water from tarps in the past, just not what I would prefer to do for drinking water.

– Papa

Papa Smurf I am happy to hear you have surface water available. Your quite aware that what happens Up stream is also your problems?

I am sure you have given thought about dead animals in that surface water and the needed water purification needed. I am unsure if most filters can clean out petrochemicals like a leaking fuel supply upstream from you? A junk car from a botched SHTF Bug-Out drive could keep leaking nastiness into a creek for a LONG time.

I know what spring my creek comes from and the two up stream houses it passes nearby. I have looked up their septic tank plan in the county records. It gives me some level of peace thus far BUT I am well aware at least one year I walked the creek back to the spring to find a half butchered deer laying in it…..

I hear rumors that a LOT of Folks THINK they will Hunt for FOOD during the SHTF event. I wonder about their sense of field hygiene as I’ve heard on this list about using the creeks as a bidet after toileting….

Surface water can sometimes be a trap IMHO. We are preppers we think of what IS and prepare for that.

A late night Tea drinking session Papa Smurf so last post incomplete sorry.

I re-read your note and a 30-40 foot deep safe water productive well is a treasure. Just remember proverbs 13:23 about how injustice can sweep away the abundance of the poor man. The Socialists in recent history in many countries would destroy well pumps or contaminate wells in order to establish power over the people.

That said think about hiding that well head from vandals (you know that term came from the NAME of one of the Barbarian Tribes that Sacked Rome? What they could not steal they destroyed so folks would never rise up against them again).

Back off to bed and hopefully sleep I go. Peace to you and yours.

– me2,
Appreciate the concern. Creeks and tarps are far from primary concerns as far as water sources. We have multiple wells in the area, but mine is rather inconspicuous anyway. There are several houses in the area on City water; I would hope that my house would blend in (I’m on the very far edge of town) and the well would be overlooked easily.
– Papa

I suggest a review of what the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION says on this subject:


All the comments on Long Term Water Storage, and not a one on the easiest way to store hundreds and thousands of good clean gallons of water.

Dehydrated Water, Yes good old Dehydrated water, one can purchase it on Amazon with 100 year shelf life (see link below) OR one can make their own at home and can it themselves, once canned it’s very lightweight and can be stored almost anywhere. ….

Just Food for thought my friends.

amazon (dot) com/Future-Essentials-Organic-Dehydrated-Water/dp/B00BQ1VD6W

NRP.….Golly Gee, NRP…that is almost as good as those folks selling small spray canisters of “clean Mountain Air”, for fifty dollars (or so). About the size of a can of hair spray. And yes (saw interviewed on t.v.), they are selling, mostly to Asian Tourists…


Heeeeerrrr’s NRP! He’s back :D

luv ya’ll, Beach’n


Bought 1000 cans. Seals went bad. Humidity spoiled the whole lot.

NRP I seen it at the store over by the blinker fluid, spaghetti noodle stretchers and 5th wheel air tanks.

– In the past, I have found it by the Grid Squares and the radio squelch oil!

– Papa S.

Papa Smurf, I once sent a young medic to the female orthopedic floor at Tripler on a quest for sterile fallopian tubes. The nurses were “amused” and I wouldn’t have done it if the head nurse wasn’t a friend. The medic got even when he returned red faced and said, “they said to tell you that you’re in trouble.

My mistake our milk comes in 1/2 gallon cartoon containers, but the package holds two units. Does yours have the topside screw on cap? If so just wash fill then leave it in your freezer without cutting it up. Unless you need more frozen ice blocks?

If you are needing more blocks from the one container, be sure to lightly coat the cardboard sides so that the block of ice will slip out of the container. Or just wait for the ice to melt enough to release.

ROWL cartoon……should be carton

AC, the carton has the screw cap, so I’ll do as you suggest. It won’t pour in the frozen state but we’d have easy to pour water once defrosted.
If these paper cartons hold up, they’ll be perfect. They will stack better than any other container I can think of. No problem switching milk brands for the container, either.

Anyone think these paper milk cartons will deteriorate in a freezer???

No, not as long as they are made out of paper for holding milk or juice.

My mother froze water that way when I was a kid for camping and sending ice with my dad when he worked out on construction jobs. Sometimes their job site would be miles from a place that had ice which could be purchased. If the ice is left inside the carton it holds longer, the melting phase is slowed down. One also has ice water for drinking if it came down to it.

I pulled out a cardboard juice container from the freezer about a year ago forgot it was on the floor next to the freezer. It is fine, no leaks, no breaking down of the materials. Yes, I was surprised also-fyi.

Antique Collector — good reminder re cardboard juice containers for freezer water. Nice bonus, most have a nice screw on cap, so if one uses it for pouring drinking water from, easy to re close.

Not an expert or a scientist, but……years ago, I started storing water when we lived on a property that had a well and iffy electrical power. I stored the well water in bleach bottles as soon as my wife emptied one. I didn’t wash or otherwise treat the bottles, just filled and capped them. I eventually amassed about 50, kept them stored in a cool dry environment. About 15 years, or more, later, I was moving out of state, decided to empty the bleach jugs. None had leaked or corroded, and the water was clear, no smell. A taste test revealed it was a little flat, but tasted fine. I poured a quart or so, shook it to aerate and drank a cup or so. No ill effects then or now. Didn’t have the water tested, but imho, it was good! And those bleach bottles are tough, not sure if they’re bph free but they work!

Papa Smurf, been meaning to say I thought we probably had a somewhat common beginning into adulthood via Uncle Sam’s training. Glad to see that we both used it to become productive people.

On the plastic milk jugs for frozen water we prefer to use the clear plastic Crystal Geyser one gallon water jugs. They are available at wally world and for those who have forsworn that place. Dollar Tree also carries them. I fill them about 80% full as water expands as it freezes and I leave the top loose. The freezing water tends to take the path of least resistance and expands up. After it’s frozen I add a bit more and redo until close to the top. I have not had one rupture yet. The jugs are recyclable and can frequently be found in the recycle bins in public campgrounds by the hundreds.

Campgrounds are also a good source of for the disposable green propane cylinders. These can be refilled and Northern Tool carries the adapter. Might also be available on Amazon so check their and use ‘Link to order. You tube has videos on how to do it.

– me,
I actually have two of those little brass fittings and normally refill my own disposables. Works better if you have a way to freeze, or at least cool the to-be-refilled cylinders before you attempt to refill them. Guess how I know?

– Papa

I have heard,from where I know not, that you should not put water containers on bare cement. What are your thoughts and or suggestions?