Why store water?
Natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes may pollute or disrupt water supplies. Water is more essential than food in sustaining life. It is wise to have an emergency storage of at least 53 litres per person. The water must be pure, treated to prevent microbial growth, and stored in food-grade containers that will protect both flavour and purity.
To prevent buildup of bacteria or algae, use household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite).
However...no added bleach is needed when water comes directly from a good pre-treated municipal water supply.
If bleach is needed, add 8 drops (1/2 teaspoon) household bleach per 4 litres if water is clear, but not chlorinated.
Add 16 drops (1 teaspoon) of household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite per 4 litres if water is cloudy.
Let water stand for 30 minutes before use.
If the water is not pure, use one of the following treatment methods:
Filtration: There are many good water filters on the market. The activated charcoal type can also remove bad tastes. Some models also add chemicals to kill bacteria.
Chemical: In addition to the chemicals listed in the pre-storage treatment chart above, other good treatment chemicals can be acquired from most outdoor supply stores.
Boiling: Boil water for three to five minutes, depending on elevation (the higher the elevation, the longer the water should be boiled).
Distilling: This is the most effective method of water purification. However, it is slow, and the equipment required is expensive. If you plan to use this method, advanced preparation will be necessary.
Water Storage Containers
Good water storage containers are airtight, resistant to breakage, and heavy enough to hold water. They should have a lining that will not rust or affect the flavour of the water. The following containers are commonly used:
Plastic Juice or Soft Drink Bottles: Use clear plastic containers made of PETE plastic. Used containers should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.
Heavy Plastic Buckets or Drums: These should be food grade.
Water Heaters: Close the inlet valve immediately after the water supply is disrupted.
Water Beds: A double water bed holds about 758 litres of water. This water contains an algicide. Do not drink it. Store this water for non-food use only, such as washing clothes and general cleaning.
Bleach bottles: Also for non-use only.
Water can go flat with storage and can be aerated by pouring it between two containers.