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Preparedness priorities, part VI

Storing water

Again, I’m going to deal with the simple stuff here. I won’t cover things like rainwater catchment systems, homemade water towers, or underground cisterns. Once again, I’m just sticking with things anybody could do simply.

The most basic thing

Everybody should have a few days supply of water in every vehicle and every bug-out bag. The “official” recommendation is a three-day supply. A week is better, but water is heavy and three days supply will get you through most mobile emergencies.

As with everything else, we need to evaluate our own circumstances and needs. Do you live in a wet or dry climate? A cool one or a hot one? Is your typical vehicle trip across town, across country, or into the back country where you could get stuck and die? Might you have to live in your vehicle without outside assistance for a few days or a week after a natural disaster? Is there a chance you’ll have to exert yourself and therefore require more water than average?

The very, very easiest, no-brainer thing to do is buy Coast Guard approved pre-sealed emergency water packets.

They’re handy. They store and carry well. They can be tucked into little spots here and there without taking up one big mass of space. They can last years without attention. They’re designed to prevent nasties from getting inside. They’re even cheap as survival preps go, only about $8 for a three-day supply for one person.

But they’re expensive as water goes.

In other words, they’re a good solution if you might have to carry your water in a bug-out kit or tuck it under the seats of your vehicle. For home storage there are better ways to go. Ditto if your vehicle has plenty of good storage space.

Other portable or semi-portable water storage

If you expect to have to carry your water on your back, another option is hydration packs (the ultimate of which is the GeigerRig).

Hydration packs range in price from $15 hardware-store crap (which I guarantee you’ll regret once you’re sucking desperately on their slow & faulty valves) to … well, GeigerRigs and CamelBaks.

There are also old-fashioned canteens and more newfangled totes. I’m always on the lookout for these at garage sales (more about safety aspects of buying used containers next time). They’re not ideal solutions, but I currently have things like these with my bug-out bag and in my vehicles:

They cost me $1 apiece and the time it took to clean and fill them.

For your vehicle, there are also the various five-gallon containers you might carry to a picnic or on an off-road trek.

Any containers that you fill yourself, or for that matter, any containers of liquid you store in a vehicle, should be checked every six months or so for damage. Extremes of cold, heat, and sunlight can play havoc with even well-built containers.

The water in self-filled containers should be replaced once or twice a year. That helps ensure that you won’t get “growy things” in your water supply. (More about that next time, also.)

Always fill with clean tap water. If you must use any dubious water source, or if your container itself might not be entirely pristine, you’ll need to filter or purify. (Yes, that’s for next time, but we’ve covered that topic before.)

Seven-day home storage

Besides having at least a three-day supply of water with every bug-out bag or vehicle, we should have a minimum seven-day supply at home.

A lot can happen to our household water supplies, and this is one area where there’s little excuse for being unprepared, since water storage can be as simple as washing out and filling up containers we already have.

The very, very easiest solution for a lot of us is just to take those thick plastic juice or two-liter soda bottles we have around, wash them well with hot, soapy water, fill them with tap water, and stash them. (Depending on what was originally in them, our water might pick up a slight taste, but that’s a small issue.) Do that every time you empty a bottle, and pretty soon you have a good stash. And no hassle.

Another favorite is five gallon hard-plastic bottles like you see atop water coolers.

They can be clunky to lug around or pour from, though (always look for the ones with molded-in handles). So even better might be one of those bottles with a battery-operated pump installed on it or one with a valve built into it.

Down in the desert where the well water was undrinkable, all the grocery stores sold these for less-than-Amazon prices. Here in the northwest I see them only from water-delivery services or at garage sales.

In the desert, too, grocery stores carried the same hard blue bottles in the three-gallon size. That was a mercy for female arms (have I mentioned that water is not only heavy, but gets heavier every second?). Amazon has them, too. But I’ve never seen such a thing here.

Nearly every grocery store sells drinking water in 2-1/2 gallon squarish containers with valves near the bottom. I have a couple of these that I’ve stashed for several years without problems. But the plastic they’re made from is not meant for long-term use. So I’d consider those a handy solution for stocking up on water before a storm, but not an ideal vessel for long-term storage.

Really, there are all kinds of containers that will serve for home storage. Here are just a few I pulled from various closets and shelves around my house.

(BTW, that one-gallon Arrowhead water jug has been banging around the back of my vehicle or in my garage for four years as a dog-water bottle. It’s scuffed and discolored and dented, but it’s never leaked a drop.)

If you live somewhere where you might get advance warning of a water-wrecking disaster, you of course know the old trick of filling up the bathtub. If you might have to use bathtub water for more than a day or two, you can buy bladders like this one and this one that let you store a lot of water, debris-free. (This is the only storage method in this article that I have no personal experience with; it’s also obviously not a long-term storage method.)

How and where to store at home

This is also simple but important. Water should be stored:

1. In a dim, or better yet dark, place.
2. A location where the temperature stays cool (but above freezing) and relatively constant.

This could be a closet, a basement, a foundation crawl space, a root cellar, or even just a little-used room with blinds on the windows. (Even when I lived in pretty crude conditions in the high desert, we were able to do this; we used the insulated power shed. There’s always someplace.)

Less satisfactory storage containers

… and how to make do with them.

Milk jugs: Everybody will tell you that you shouldn’t store water in plastic grocery-store milk jugs. Indeed, those jugs are designed for one-time use. But doesn’t it pain you to throw out something so screamingly useful?

The fact is that you can use them if you do it judiciously.

Take those empty milk jugs and do this:

1. Wash the jugs and caps very well with hot, soapy water.

2. Fill the jugs with warm water and add a teaspoon or so of bleach, then let them sit a few hours.

3. Empty out the bleach solution, rinse well, fill with clean tap water, and seal.

4. Write the date on the jug with an indelible marker

5. Store in a dim, cool place. With these jugs it is especially important to avoid sunlight and temperature fluxuations.

6. After six months rotate the old jugs into the recycler and replace with newer ones.

Flats of storebought drinking water: Every grocery store sells flats of bottled drinking water. You know the ones. The flats hold 32 or so bottles of take-it-along size drinking water. And they sell for really cheap — $3.99 on sale.

And boy, talk about no-hassle storage. Just stick ’em someplace and you’re good.

Well, you’re good for a few months. Maybe up to a year. But again, store these very long or in the wrong conditions and they leak. They’re also flimsy and very easily crushed. So buy ’em happily, but keep ’em in the cool dark, buy a new flat every couple of months, and use up the oldest one.


That’s it for now. Next time:

How much water should you store per person/per animal

How to keep it safe

Plastics and stored water

Filters and purifiers

Longer-term storage (without major hassle)


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty October 27, 2012 2:20 pm

    Well, you didn’t even mention SNOW… nature’s storehouse of water for possibly half of the year. If you’ve got some way to melt it and store it, you’ve got it made.

    In winter anyway. 🙂

  2. Claire
    Claire October 27, 2012 2:26 pm

    “In winter anyway. :)”

    I think that comes under the category of evaluating your own circumstances — wet climate, cold climate, etc.

    But of course you’re right. I didn’t mention it. But now you have, so it’s official. 🙂

    I also didn’t mention the possibility of water freezing solid in vehicles or any ways to turn it liquid again. Bet someone in the Commentariat will have good advice there.

  3. Water Lily
    Water Lily October 27, 2012 2:34 pm

    Ir you are in a humid climate, a dehumidifier (providing you still have power) is also a water source. (You’d probably want to filter it.)

  4. Joel
    Joel October 27, 2012 2:37 pm

    Having lived in hurricane country when I was a kid, I remember filling the bathtub. Fun, when you’re a kid, though we mostly used that for flushing the toilet. That being the single disadvantage of a flush toilet – it needs lots of water.

    Everything you suggested work, Claire, though I’m dubious of that bathtub water bladder thing. Looks like it’s for one use only, which means people would put off filling it until they were sure that – oops – well, that would have been a good time.

    Personally I’m in favor of 55-gallon barrels, or – to really do it right – one of these. Scale it up depending on how apocalyptic you expect your need to be, but it certainly wouldn’t be elaborate to set up.

  5. Claire
    Claire October 27, 2012 2:55 pm

    Water Lily — Would never have remotely thought of that. But yeah, from my short time in a hot, humid climate I do remember them filling up so quickly they’d flood right over. Definitely would want to filter; I expect dehumidifier water is full of dust, molds, and other not-so-nice stuff.

    Joel — Gonna cover 55-gallon barrels in the next one. Like those other tanks at your link, also.

  6. TOR
    TOR October 27, 2012 3:11 pm

    Back in the Y2K days my Mom used milk jugs to store water. We just washed them out, filled them up and them stored in the garage and shop. A couple years later for an experiment I grabbed one and drank from it. The water was just fine.

  7. Claire
    Claire October 27, 2012 3:34 pm

    TOR — Glad to hear that. You’re confirming my own experience with milk jugs. Sounds as if yours were kept mostly in a dark (and maybe cool?) area?

    But a lot of people haven’t had such luck with milk jugs, which is why I’m really cautious in writing about using them.

  8. David
    David October 27, 2012 3:36 pm

    Huh. In the AK cabin we nearly always have 50+ gallons handy, in a combination of 5-gallon jugs & a big tank upstairs (gravity-fed water at the sink downstairs, after a filter). Plus there’s a well (from which we pump the water upstairs once in a while) and a nearby creek. Even in winter, we wouldn’t have to dig more than 10 feet or so to hit water, which is nice even without filtering. So water’s not a problem up there, even discounting snow.

    But here in Maryland? Just a bunch of 5-gallon stackable translucent rectangular plastic dinguses I picked up. Not sure whether they were even “supposed” to hold water. But I tasted it just now, & it seemed fine. Of course we’ve only been here for a few months.

    I’d think about something more permanent, if we weren’t so naturally transient.

    Anyway, what I originally wanted to say was that I hadn’t even considered that the water might go bad. Dunno why, and it was probably worth checking. Especially since right now we could have refilled everything from the sink (again with a filter).

    Funny what you just don’t think about.

  9. David
    David October 27, 2012 3:46 pm

    Maybe I should point out that the guy I bought the containers from had used them for drinking water too, only on a trawler. Just so you don’t think I’m drinking housepaint. 🙂

  10. David
    David October 27, 2012 4:02 pm

    On the other hand, _all_ of our…um…chemically-powered devices for self-protection? are currently at least a thousand miles away. So I feel kinda stupid, preparedness-wise. All decisions seemed to make sense at the time they were made (we had a foster kid with issues), but that’s a pretty big gap. Which I’m thinking about now b/c of the maybe-coming storm & this series. But I do think the missing bits are way less likely to be useful than what we actually have. So there’s that.

  11. Water Lily
    Water Lily October 27, 2012 5:17 pm

    Quick fyi: the newer dehumidifiers have filters on them now. But still, I’d run that water through the Berky first.

  12. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 27, 2012 6:15 pm

    I have lots of 2-liter soda bottles, some nice half-gallon cranberry juice bottles that are squarish and pack nicely in a couple of my water hidey-holes (which are all very dark), and a great big square water storage jug with a spigot on it. Plus a lot of those stainless steel or aluminum water bottles that have been showing up at Goodwill so much the past few months. And grocery store water cases. And I add to the stash constantly.

    When I change out the water I look for any growing stuff inside and would toss the jug if I saw any, and then I refill the bottles after using the old water on houseplants or on my “garden of death”.

    I keep swimming pool chlorine granules on hand in a factory-sealed bottle (that I sealed up even better), with instructions for using it (for treating drinking water) taped and sealed to the outside of the bottle. I don’t count on being able to find any treatable water “in the wild” around here, but it is always possible I suppose.

  13. Woody
    Woody October 27, 2012 6:21 pm

    If you are at home you probably have a hot water heater that contains 30 to 50 gallons of fresh water. Every hot water heater I’ve ever seen has a drain valve. You don’t have to think about it beforehand because it is always full of fresh water. When I installed a tankless on demand water heater I left the old electric hot water heater installed in series with the new unit so water constantly flows though it. It isn’t turned on but it is a source of emergency water that is never stale. When your regular water supply stops just drain the water from the hot water tank.

    My dehumidifiers are in the basement and I wouldn’t drink the water they produce on a bet.

  14. David
    David October 27, 2012 7:39 pm


    Good point about the water heater. I hadn’t thought about that at all. Maybe I would’ve if I’d needed to; also, maybe not. I love learning a new way to see myself as an idiot. Somehow that seems to happen more and more often, lately. Seriously–it makes my day.

  15. LarryA
    LarryA October 27, 2012 8:42 pm

    Woody, I don’t know about where you live, but down here our water contains limestone, which gets deposited in the water heater. We have to use those valves to drain it out periodically. The good news is that it’s not toxic.

  16. Matt, another
    Matt, another October 27, 2012 9:29 pm

    I keep 4-5 flats of water on hand. Keeping one in the back of the truck very handy. Each vehicle has at least one gal in a tough jug at all times. In the house I,refill two qt or gal juice jugs. I get the jugs from the grand kids and neighbors. I prefer containers that are easily portable. I don’t like 5gal jugs.

    In cold places, how do you keep the vehicle from freezing?

  17. Hanza
    Hanza October 27, 2012 9:48 pm

    My apartment has 2 bathrooms and in the one with a tub I have a waterBOB in it that I filled when I first received it. It is part of my long term storage and Claire I don’t know why you don’t think they can be used for that. Unless of course you only have one bath. 🙂

    I also have a couple of filled 30 gallon blue poly barrels, plus some of those Coast Guard approved water packets.

  18. just waiting
    just waiting October 28, 2012 3:53 am

    I live at the headwaters of the watershed that supplies 5 million people with their water, fresh water bubbles up out of the ground and starts streams right outside. But that doesn’t mean we’re not concerned about water.
    Browsing online personal sales sites, I found someone selling 275 gallon food grade plastic totes for $100. They’re on pallets inside a metal protective cage, fill on top, spigot on the bottom. The ones I got originally contained concentrate of raspberry, I degreased and powerwashed and there’s no traces, not even an odor.
    Since I’m planning on staying put no matter what (unless I “vacation” in Wy. and decide to stay, thanks for the invite MamaLiberty), I got 3, 1 ea for water, gas and diesel.

  19. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 9:42 am

    Well, coincidentally, I was about to e-mail and ask if you would cover the freezing thing when you got to water, and here you are. I’ve been pondering that myself, and I admit I don’t have a good answer. Web searching isn’t much help, because these days, there’s just a huge google-pile of forum blither on the subject. Of the forum commenters I found who were not in the “keep it from freezing” school, the consensus was to leave room in the container for expansion, and don’t seal it airtight. My own experience with freezing soda bottles in the freezer is that they won’t rupture if you provide enough space for expansion. And, I did screw the caps back on tight, and didn’t get rupture — not sure why, except that maybe I got lucky. I have had splits and caps pushed off when I didn’t leave enough space. When it comes to larger containers, and bladders, I don’t have any experience.

    My main concern with freezing is actually with vehicle storage. The thing is, your plastic jug is frozen — how are you going to use the water? Leave it in the sun? Sure, if that’s possible — how long do you have to wait, and is the weather cooperating? Put it in the engine compartment and run the engine? Yeah, if you aren’t out of gas — maybe the reason you’re in survival mode is that you ran out of gas on a winter trip. I’ve been thinking of storing water in small plastic bags, inside another container. But my experience with zip locs is that I don’t trust them to be leak-proof over time. But some sort of tear-off packaging, so you can put a small quantity of ice/slush into a pan and heat it — that’s what I’m trying to come up with. Or small metal flat-bottom containers, which can sit directly on a backpacking stove, would do it too. A couple gallons worth of pint-size stainless mason jars would, I assume, get pricey, if such things even exist.

  20. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 28, 2012 10:02 am

    jed- If you have time, keep a bottle of water inside your clothing to melt the water/snow- or to keep your water from freezing in the first place. If your bottle has a way to hang it around your neck that might be easier. Or, you could wrap it in dark cloth and set it in the sun, or place it near a fire if you weren’t traveling. In a car, on sunny days, the temperature inside will likely rise above freezing. Place a bottle on the dash in the sun, under a dark cloth. Get some MRE heaters and wrap them inside a towel along with a water bottle.

    If you are concerned about a frozen bottle rupturing… For 2 liter bottles, filling them and then squeezing a slight amount of air out before you screw the lid on tight- just so you leave a little dent in the bottle- should prevent any rupture. Some other bottles might be prepped this way, too. I have never had problems with store bought “cases” bottles popping.

  21. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 10:12 am

    Kent, I like the idea of the MRE heater; I’ll put those on my list. Actually, chemical heaters should be part of any kit, and I do have the chemical hand-warmers.

    I don’t like the idea of using body heat, because in a survival situation, I don’t want to burn calories I need to survive. Yes, you can argue that since water is #1, those calories are being used to survive, but I sure don’t want to have to do that if I can avoid it. Sounds much like the problem with eating snow — yeah, it’s hydration, but a poor way to get it.

  22. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 10:26 am

    Uh, Kent? I of course immediately looked up MRE heaters. For the lowdown on those, I found. Zen Stoves Flameless Stoves. Soooooo…..

    To heat, water is added either from an external source or by puncturing/tearing a container of water onto the heating pad. So, maybe you could use urine. Bear Grylls would approve!

    Bit of a Catch-22 there. I’m going to keep looking into the chemical heater in a pouch — not the super-saturated salt ones, though those work okay and are rechargeable. But they wear out over time, and I’d be worried about accidentally triggering them bouncing around in a moving vehicle.

  23. David
    David October 28, 2012 11:12 am

    FWIW allowing the “cooler”-type 5-gallon bottles to freeze is not a good idea (fortunately it takes a while anyway even in subzero temps). I’ve done it, leaving plenty of room for expansion, and they’ve pretty much shattered. Not every time, but it doesn’t take too many freeze/thaw cycles to turn ’em into garbage.

    Same thing happens to Guinness in a can, but the Extra Stout in bottles can apparently survive an outdoor winter in south-central Alaska.

  24. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 28, 2012 11:29 am

    Yeah, jed, I was actually thinking of using urine to activate the MRE heater when I wrote that but forgot to add that detail. Probably out of politeness. LOL. I figure Claire’s readers can figure out things better than the “average” person.

    On the other hand, what you could do is use a less efficient method to melt a little bit of water to use to activate the MRE heater and thaw the rest. I have used MRE heaters for lots of water (and baby formula) heating uses, but have never had to melt ice with them.

    And, it would be better to keep the water inside your clothing to keep it from freezing in the first place, but we are assuming here that you already have something to eat and replace those calories; if you can’t get water to drink, you shouldn’t eat. Digestion uses water. So, go ahead and spend some calories thawing your water.

  25. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 12:01 pm

    Kent, I try to not assume that people will think of {$thing}. There’s lots of things which don’t occur to me, and I would rather survive than stand on manners. I tend to think towards worst-case situations, and I figure if I plan for those, then the not-so-bad stuff will be pretty easy. And even the most-likely scenarios which Claire is angling towards have some “icky” aspects to them, especially if the water supply goes away — as Joel mentioned. Post-Katrina, Haiti, and what could easily happen on the East coast in a couple days … you have to think about sanitation.

  26. David
    David October 28, 2012 12:21 pm


    Do you have a source for the “if you can’t get water to drink, you shouldn’t eat” thing? I know water’s used in digestion, but OTOH (1) it’s also reabsorbed, (2) it’s contained in foods, and (3) metabolizing carbohydrates–not my favorite foods for other reasons but that’s not the point here–releases water.

    I’m not sure how that math works out, but I imagine it’s different for different foods…? For example: if you’re eating fats (butter/lard/oils), what’s the downside? Or, say, watermelon?

  27. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 1:17 pm

    Just came across this estimate of power outage from Sandy.

    How many of those people will be clamoring for the government to step in and save them? FEMA trailers for everyone! 😉

  28. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 28, 2012 3:59 pm

    jed- Like I said, I really just forgot to mention that, but I was just saying that maybe it was a mental block or something which may have been for that reason- or maybe I simply forgot. I do that sometimes.

    I have never tried urine in an MRE heater (actually I don’t usually rely on them since there are so many other ways I can use), so there may be complications or it might not work or may produce problematic by-products. I don’t know. If I thought I needed an MRE heater, and I had no liquid water, but had a full bladder, I would try it anyway.

    I also wonder if you could just put ice/snow in the pouch. I’ll bet you could. The chemicals would probably start to melt the surface of the ice, which would produce heat which would melt more. I might do some experimentation.

    David- I don’t have a written source handy, but that’s what all the “survival guys” I have heard (and I don’t include Bear Grylls in that esteemed group) have said. I have seen some who emphatically said “Do not eat if you have no water!” I do know I feel thirstier after I eat if I don’t have something to drink, so there’s that personal experience. I suppose the best source would be a “gut doctor”, and I don’t know any.

  29. David
    David October 28, 2012 4:39 pm


    Huh. It seems counterintuitive, but also like the sort of thing people say whether it’s true or not. It makes sense to me if you’re eating protein, but otherwise…maybe not.

    Though it’s true: I do like food with protein. Anyway, I’ve been digging around on the intertoobs & I haven’t found anything really convincing. Too much garbage. And I wouldn’t believe a doctor anyway, at least not just because the person had that job…at one point one tried to tell me I shouldn’t drink Diet Coke right after cross-country skiing, b/c the caffeine was a diuretic & I’d end up more dehydrated. So I asked why I wasn’t dead, given that I’d had virtually nothing but Diet Coke to drink for the last month? No answer, of course. (I’ve reformed, but at the time it wasn’t an exaggeration. Now it’s tea of one sort or another.) And since then I’ve discovered Tim Noakes has pretty well debunked the common understanding of dehydration anyway (during & as a result of exercixe), so I think I’ll just have to wonder for now. As far as I can tell, medical “common knowledge” is mostly driven by funding & politics.

  30. jed
    jed October 28, 2012 4:45 pm

    Hey, Kent. Yeah, I know — I forget things sometimes (or a lot of the time). Gets worse as I get older. Anyways, I’m not a chemist, so the reaction between ammonia or uric acid, etc., with magnesium … I don’t know. If I had one of those, I’d try it. I think you’re correct about using ice to activate one, which means that in my worst-case scenario, i.e. all I have is the frozen contents of my water container, I could chip off enough ice to use to heat the rest.

    I’m somewhat dubious about the absolute claim that you shouldn’t eat at all if you have no water. As a general case, I expect that’s correct, but certain plants might well have enough water content. I do recall reading about animals which get most/all their water from eating plants. Well, there’s certainly a digestive adaptation involved there. But it makes me think along the lines of identifying water-rich edibles, as in succulent plants.

  31. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal October 28, 2012 7:56 pm

    David- Well, LOL, I don’t know what to tell you. I probably wouldn’t risk it simply because I have heard it enough from people whom I respect, but… food isn’t usually that important to me, so I don’t even see the “don’t eat unless you have water” as much of an inconvenience. If I’m doing something interesting (“survival” is interesting, right?) I have a hard time being bothered to eat, anyway. Getting water is important enough that I’d be concentrating on that if I had none, no matter how much food I had. I never really worried about it too much. But maybe that’s just me.

    jed- I have some MRE heaters, so I might just experiment… however, I don’t have any testing equipment to see what they produce besides the hydrogen gas that is normal. And, I’m not too anxious to shove my nose in and take a deep breath. Maybe I can get my arch enemy to take a whiff.

    As for plants that provide water, yes, there are several types, probably anywhere in the country. Prickly pears, grape vines, cattail stalks, thistles- that’s all I can think of at the moment. I do think you’d have a hard time getting enough water to stay happy that way, though. And you might ought to use more for water than you end up eating.

    I’ll admit I have drank water from some sources that were way beyond “questionable” when I was desperate. But there is water available almost everywhere. Almost. Even here, with proper tools. Like a solar still (which can be made more productive with those succulent plants we spoke of).

    Anyway, learn what’s available where you are- and what isn’t- and you should be OK.

  32. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan October 28, 2012 10:29 pm

    Under the “places to store water around your house” category, your freezer is a great places. My freezer is generally only completely full the first month after buying half a cow. Otherwise there is room to slip in some 2-liters. Bonus – it keeps food frozen longer during power outage and actually saves energy, (easier to keep bottles of water frozen, than air, especially if the unit is being opened and closed). Second bonus – one frozen solid 2-liter inside fleece lined ice chest can keep milk cold for around 48 hours.

    After all those uses, and many more, you can still drink it too!

  33. Scott
    Scott October 29, 2012 9:14 am

    I get the cases of drinking water when it’s on sale at the local WalMart-I usually keep four or five around, and replace them when it gets down to 3 cases. I drink it, since the local tap water tastes like water from a faucet that hasn’t been turned on in a long time. I have an old gallon water jug I got in the early 1980s that’e been banged around in every vehicle I’ve had, and still doesn’t leak.
    Even those dollar store water jugs hold up really well. I have a half-gallon one that’s fallen off a moving bicycle/scooter/car, still doesn’t leak. Scuffed up, but still fine. I also have a stainless steel quart water bottle for work. One suggestion from a coworker concerning stainless steel water bottles. When new, fill with water and a couple spoonfuls of baking soda. Shake, and let sit overnight. Next morning, repaet the process, but shake for a minute or so, and rinse thorughly. Gets rid of that metallic taste completely(I tested this-it works great).

  34. rustynail
    rustynail October 29, 2012 7:58 pm

    Folks, Remember that in many cases the potable water from the water mains becomes contaminated. If that happens, your hot water heater may draw contaminated water from your water supply line as you empty it through the drain faucet. For the same reason, you might want to shut off your water at the meter as soon as you think contamination, such as sewage, may be entering the water mains. On the hot water heater, if you have a shut off valve in the cold water supply line, shutting that off would probably protect the water in the tank, although you might have to unscrew the pressure relief valve some to let the tank drain.
    A couple of other storage vessel ideas. A neighbor suggested using empty bleach bottles. Along the same line, some chemical pool chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) comes in large jugs (probably 25 gallons or so). Don’t know of a ready source, but you might find one in your area.

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