Prepping: What Shape is Your Emergency Water Storage In?

28 Mar


When was the last time you checked your emergency water supply? Or is a more appropriate question, “Do you have an emergency water supply?”

Water is a basic necessity of life. During an emergency it can be difficult to come by, as we’ve witnessed with the recent earthquake natural disaster in Japan. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked your water supply, check it. If you haven’t started a water stash, start one.

Water should be rotated about every six months. Do I do that— unfortunately no, to date. Today I went through my emergency water storage and refilled the bottles, plus wiped them clean of any dust. I added my fill date on the caps with a dry erase marker. Any of the purchased drinking water I had that was out of date I poured out. The plastic containers of most purchased drinking water degrade at a faster rate than pop and juice bottles.

Most food grade plastic bottles can be used to store water (NOTE: do not use milk jugs for emergency water storage— there is no way to reliably remove all the milk proteins and fats from the container, which can contaminate the water). Saving 2 liter soda bottles, juice bottles, and sports drink bottles, and cleaning them, is a great way to establish or grow your water stash. Clean the bottles with hot, soapy water and rinse with hot water. Let the bottles air dry. Some people like to sterilize the bottles with a weak bleach solution (1 tsp of bleach in a quart of water). In all I’ve read, there’s two camps regarding whether to add bleach to the stored water. Bleach is added to our city’s tap water, so I chose to not add bleach to the water when filling storage bottles.

It’s also a good idea to store a bottle of bleach and a clean medicine dropper (or measuring teaspoons) with your emergency water storage. If you have to use that water, it’s advisable to treat the water with chlorine bleach, containing 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite, prior to drinking it. Make sure the bleach does not have added scents or detergents in it.

The basic formula for adding bleach to sanitize water: 4 drops per quart/liter; 8 drops (1/8 tsp) 2-quart, 2-liter, or ½ gallon container of water; 16 drops bleach (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon or 4-liter container of water.

Now, most juice containers only print the fluid ounces the bottle will hold. It takes 128 fluid ounces to make a gallon. So, two 64 fluid ounce bottles will equal a gallon. Two liter bottles contain a little over 67 fluid ounces, so two 2-liter bottles will make a little more than a gallon. Why is this important to know?

The standard suggestion for emergency water storage is to plan for 1 gallon of water per person per day.

As you build up your water storage, by keeping track of how many gallons of water you have on hand you will know how many days’ worth of water you have stored for each person in your household.

Do you need to rotate your emergency water stash? Do you rotate it every 6 months? If so, how do you remind yourself to do so? I’d love to hear from you. Use the comment section below.

Photo Courtesy of Piyaphon l

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2 Responses to “Prepping: What Shape is Your Emergency Water Storage In?”

  1. Beth March 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    I’m glad you mention the 2-liter soda bottles. They too are made of plastic that doesn’t degrade as quickly (or puncture as easily) as the non-transparent milk jug stuff. Plus, the caps stay on better. ;^)

    Good topic!

  2. lewlew March 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Thank you, Ms. Beth!

    The soda bottles are terrific to use. I think the ones I like best, though, are the rectangular 64 ounce juice bottles (Langers offers those bottles for many of their juices). I can fit more of them into a space than the round bottles.There’s 3 less fluid ounces than the 2-liter bottles, but they waste a lot less space.

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