For many, water becomes their very first prep. By that, we mean that steps are taken to either purchase a supply of bottled water, set up a water barrel, or locate a source of local water that can be filtered and purified for consumption. Before you jump feet first into setting up a water storage system, take heed of these five myths of water storage.
1. Water Can Expire
Water does not expire. Ever. Sure, water can become chemically or biologically contaminated and foul, but it doesn’t go bad or spoil. What can happen to water is that it can go stale and look or taste bad. One thing you can do to make water that has been standing around for awhile taste better is to aerate it by stirring it up or pouring it from one jug to another to introduce some oxygen. If the cleanliness of the the water is in question, it can be purified with purification tablets, fresh bleach, or a filtering system such as or , among others. Technically, if water is stored in a cool, dark area and away from chemical and toxic fumes, it should last forever.
2. Water Can Be Stored In Any Old Container
Water should be stored in a UV-resistant, food-grade plastic container or in metallized bags. Traditionally, water storage barrels are blue. The reason for this is that the blue color limits light exposure and biological growth (bacteria and algae) and also signifies that what is stored in the container is safe for human consumption. The safest containers to hold water in are polyethylene-based plastics, or plastics #1, #2, and #4. Most water barrels are made out of plastic #2 and are BPA-free. If you are in doubt, check with the manufacturer before making purchase, especially if the water is going to be used for drinking.
3. A Water Barrel Is All You Need To Consider Yourself Water–Prepared
This one is actually comical. Can you imagine: the flooding river is rising and you need to evacuate. You strap on your water barrel and your bug out bag and you are good to go. Not! Depending on the number of people in your family and whether you have located or set aside a separate water source for hygiene and cleaning, 55 gallons is not going to last long. Conservatively, you are going to need one gallon of water per person per day. It is always a good idea to have a portable water filter you can transport when you are on the go. In addition, rain barrels can be a great source of non-potable water for flushing and for use in the garden.
4. You Can Save Space By Stacking Water Barrels
Most water barrels are not designed to be stacked. If space is limited, consider a stacking system designed to accommodate the weight of filled barrels. Also, there are options other than barrels, that can be stacked, These include water bricks and even canned water.
5. Since I Have A Water Purifier, I Don’t Need A Water Filter
According to the water specialists at Emergency Essentials, water purifiers like Chlorine Dioxide will kill 99.9% of all microorganisms (like protozoa, bacteria, and viruses) in your water. Chlorine Dioxide is excellent for sheltering-in-place, and also great for treating water from your barrels or water you collect from streams or rivers while hiking. Bleach is also a decent purified as long as it is fresh (less than a year old) and the unscented type. Water purifiers alone will not remove dirt, silt, “gunk” and chemicals from your water. For these nasties, you need a filter.