Survival Water Storage: Don’t Pray For A Rainy Day

Survival Water Storage: Don’t Pray For A Rainy Day
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Survival Water Stored In Barrels
Prepping is misunderstood.

It’s not about living in a state of panic, surrendering oneself to pessimism, or shouting about Armageddon.

Survival prepping is about responsibility.

It’s about planning for even an unlikely scenario, preserving one’s own life, and protecting the lives of loved ones.

It’s also going to do you absolutely no good unless you start with water storage.

Drink or Die

Consider the basic needs of the human body.

For many preppers, the first thing that pops into their minds is canned food. Usually baked beans, though I have no idea why this food item is considered the most basic pillar of survival.

Would you want to survive on cans of beans? I think I’d rather deal with an asteroid, but I digress.

It’s bewildering to me that so many survival preppers fail to correctly prioritize their emergency water storage when it comes to evaluating their basic needs.

Remember high school anatomy? 70% of the human body is water.

Did you know that a healthy adult human can survive more than eight weeks without a morsel of food? That’s two months that your body can keep trucking along without ingesting a crumb.

On the flip side, a healthy adult human is lucky to survive three days without water. For proper hydration, an adult needs to consume nearly a gallon of water every day.

Take a look around your survival space right now. If you’re forced to hunker down there tomorrow, how long will you live?

There’s More to it Than Thirst

Survival water storage is more than just a matter of thirst quenching.

In a survival situation, you’ll need water for important hygiene tasks like bathing and brushing your teeth. You may need water for food preparation.

Have you ever tried to cook spaghetti without water?

You’ll also need water to keep your living space clean. It does you no good to fill your shelves with necessities if your bunker is a breeding ground for life-threatening bacteria.

Without a doubt, water is the keystone to survival.

What You Need to Know About Water Storage

So, now that I’ve officially panicked you into filling your survival space with more bottles of water than cans of beans, let’s take a moment to talk about the logistics of survival water storage.

First, you need to have two separate storage systems for two separate types of emergency water storage: one exclusively for drinking water and the other for hygienic water.

Let’s deal with drinking water first.

Buckets Are The Best Survival Water Storage Containers

In my opinion, the very best storage solution for drinking water is FDA-approved HDPE 5-gallon buckets. Here’s why:

  • The buckets are easy to sterilize.
  • The buckets come with snap-on lids to prevent sloshing while you’re toting water.
  • The buckets stack much more easily than those flimsy gallon jugs you buy at the grocery store. Space is a commodity when you’re prepping for survival.
  • HDPE, High-Density Polyethylene, buckets won’t break down, warp, or crack. FDA-approved buckets are free of dangerous chemicals that can leach into your water.
  • And finally, 5-gallon buckets, when filled with water, will weigh about 40 pounds. Maneuvering much more than this increases the risk of a life-threatening spill. They tell you not to cry over spilled milk but spilled water in a survival bunker is definitely tear-worthy.

Next You’ll Need A Survival Water Storage Tank or Tub

For non-drinking water, the rules are relaxed.

You can use just about any storage tub with a securely locking lid to prevent evaporation. Purchase enough storage containers to last the entire duration that your bunker is designed to support its residents.

Don’t bet on a pretty, trickling stream a mile from your survival space.

What if the stream dries up?

What if it gets rerouted?

What if a mob starts charging a fee per ladle?

Water storage quantities should match up with food, medicine, and ammunition quantities. Don’t wait for a rainy day.

Two adults in a bunker for six months will need 360 gallons of drinking water. Realize: that’s over 70 buckets.

The last step, for drinking water storage, involves sterilization and purification. Clean the storage containers with diluted bleach before you put a drop of drinking water in the buckets.

If you fill the buckets with tap water, the stored water should have a high enough chlorine concentration to safely last about six months.

If you use purified water, distilled water, or water from your lake, you’re going to need to add chemicals. Chlorine concentration for survival water storage must be greater than 1 ppm, but 3 ppm is the ideal ratio.

Use water test strips for swimming pools to get the measurement right in the first 5-gallon bucket. You’ll be looking at close to 1/8th teaspoon of chlorine bleach per gallon.  Since we are working with 5-gallon buckets you’ll need 5/8th teaspoons of 5.85% household bleach per bucket.

Finally, store the water in a location that is dark and cool.

Sunlight and heat are the enemies of a safe and sterile water supply.

Solar energy encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and other nasty things you don’t want to be ingesting.

Need a recap? Memorize this list:

1. Decide how long your survival spot must sustain you and others.
2. Calculate the number of gallons you need to store: one gallon of drinking water per adult per day. Count on about half as much hygienic water.
3. Purchase 5-Gallon, FDA-Approved, HDPE Buckets for drinking water and sterilize them with diluted bleach.
4. Purchase tubs with lids for non-drinking water.
5. Fill the buckets and tubs with water. Test the chlorine concentration in the 5-Gallon buckets using a water test kit. Adjust as needed.
6. Store your water in the dark.

Now go implement each of these survival water storage tips and you’ll have solved your survivalist water storage needs.

Start Now

Why do so many survival preppers put off the process of long term water storage?

They survey their bunkers or basements with chests puffed out in pride. They’ve amassed huge quantities of canned food, propane fuel, medicinal items, clothing, ammunition and weapons, and every other possible item that one could use in a survival situation.

I guess they assume they’ll stock up on water just as soon as CNN says it’s “go time.”

Don’t make this mistake.

If you are creating a space where you can take refuge in the event of a catastrophe, start by storing water.

Start right now.

Forget the batteries and the antibacterial gauze. Those can come later.

Figure out precisely how long your safe house needs to sustain you, and secure your initial water supply before you do anything else.

There are those who scoff at survival preppers.

People look at us and say, “The odds of you actually needing any of this stuff are next to none.”

That’s fine. They’re making a statement based on conjecture and optimism.

I’ve got a statement for you, though, that is based on nothing but fact: The odds of you surviving without adequate water storage aren’t next to none.

They are none.

“Just In Case” Jack

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  1. DefensivePlan says

    Just wanted to share my experience as a warning.

    I really liked the concept of cheap 5 gallon plastic buckets for water storage. Easy to stack, easy to toss a few in the back of a vehicle if you need to. Easy to give a few of them away if needed. Cheap. Could be repurposed if needed. It had a lot of advantages over expensive giant 50 or 100 gallons tanks or expensive brick stackable things – I did the math per gallon and was way ahead.

    Walmart (and others) have a ton of simple white plastic 5 gallon buckets – about $2 or so each, made by Empire and marked 70 mil on the bottom. After a little research, I read that all Empire buckets are “food grade” from the same materials mfg line regardless of how marketed so I bought about 25 white ones and a whole bunch of omega lids to make it super easy to tap into them or refill as needed.

    That was about 3 years ago. I’ve experienced two catastrophic failures (one solvable, one not):

    1. If you stack them 4 high on top of each other, the weight on the bottom omega lid is too much (about 120 lbs) and the edges of the lid crack and separate and the whole tower falls. I solved this easily by making little 15″ square plywood or other wood “shelves”. Sandwich these inbetween each bucket and it spreads the load out dramatically to the much stronger vertical edges of the entire bucket. No further failures of this type once done.

    2. Leaking buckets
    After 3 years, I’ve had about 6 of these buckets fail by water leakage on the bottom – starts by a slow drip and eventually develops a 1″ crack or more – typically on one of the 3 points that looks like where the injection mold was filled. This is a big pain in the ass – makes a mess since you don’t usually discover the problem for many weeks until it becomes obvious. And after these set of failures over the last 8 months, I’m convinced they will *ALL* eventually fail this way – just a matter of time.

    Maybe there are other stronger, thicker 5 gallon buckets, but these Empire ones are a false economy. I’ll probably end up draining some and converting them over to food or other storage vessels before they crack and leak.

    I’d love to find a more reliable, thicker plastic bucket so I could re-use the omega lids and have 25+ years of solid lifespan on the bucket.

  2. h2doughboy says

    I just purchased a 120-gallon potable water storage tank and with the instructions came this recommendation for water treatment:
    H2O Resq Emergency Water Storage drops.
    Their website says it will keep water safe for up to 5 years, costs about $.06 a gallon to treat and comes with a test kit. I can not vouch for them yet but I will be buying some soon. Here is their website:

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