You don’t have to be a prepper to know that water is one of the three key ingredients to human life. Even with this fact known, so much of the population takes it completely for granted.
You flip on the faucet and water pours out, pretty simple right? Sure it’s simple for you as the consumer, but the back end process for pumping, clarifying, sterilizing and storing that water is a hugely complicated task. In the event of a disaster, that whole process is reliant on you. If you think ahead, you can cut out most of those treatment steps and skip just to water storage.
You have a LOT of options when it comes to storing and treating water, but the cheapest I have found (and one of the most popular) are 55 gallon food storage barrels. These are often known as blue barrels. With a pretty simple “water barrel” search on Craigslist, you can easily locate someone in your town. These HDPE 55 gallon barrels ($20-30) are used to ship food additives. I make sure to pick those that were non-chemical additives. Try to stick with natural sweeteners, vanilla, or other extracts.
Once you get these blue beauties home the first step is to wash out any residue of what was originally stored in it. If you got lucky, the person selling to you already cleaned them out. If not, spray some water from your garden hose into the barrel, and let it sit in the bottom for a few hours to dilute and dissolve it (especially if it was a sweetener). I am the proud owner of a pressure washer so I went to town blasting out all of the leftover goodness.
Next, grab your Drinking Safe Hose ($20) and give the whole inside a quick rinse. A drinking safe hose is critical because standard garden hoses have very high levels of lead. I know, I know, you drank from your garden hose all the time as a kid. Well, Im betting you didn’t drink 55 gallons worth. Quantity makes a huge difference when it comes to lead exposure. Put your barrels in their final resting place because you ain’t moving them once they are filled. Put your hose on full blast and give them about 8-10 minutes to fill all the way. If you are on city water, don’t even bother yourself with treating the water. It has already been treated. If you are on well water or spring water, put about 1 teaspoon of plain bleach in halfway through the fill process.
With the water in this state, you can get years of storage out of it. If you are the paranoid type, siphon the water out and use it in your garden every six months to a year.
Now it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan, especially when we are talking such a critical topic. A simple, handheld filter with replaceable cartridge will do just fine. One of the most popular and most favorited is the Katadyn Hiker Pro ($75). This would allow you to filter the barrel water if it somehow became contaminated, or if your barrel sprung a leak, you would have a backup to filter rain or stream runoff.
Again the possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination, budget and storage area. Have fun with it and comment with your ideas.
It’s Your Turn!
Do you guys already have a water storage plan in place? What methods did you use? Do you have backup filtration? Share your experience and insights in the comments box below.