Water is one of the most important things to store and one of the most difficult things to store. You need a LOT of water to sustain the average family, even for just a month. So if you’re trying to store enough water to last several months, you’ve probably realized that storing hundreds of gallons of water isn’t easy. It takes up a lot of space, and it can be very difficult to find enough room for it in your home. To store lots of water, you need to get creative and think big.
Storing hundreds of cases of bottled water isn’t the best option. Think of the waste you’d produce going through 8 plastic bottles a day per person! Instead, you need to think about larger containers. Below you’ll find several ways to store a lot of water in one place without having to put bottles and jugs all over your home. And remember, it’s always a good idea to have a couple different storage options in case one is unavailable or destroyed.
1. Swimming Pool – No, you shouldn’t run out and drink straight from your swimming pool, but it’s still a great way to store hundreds of gallons of water. In a survival scenario, you’ll need to boil the water or use a good water filter such as a LifeStraw. The caveat to swimming pool water is you don’t want to touch it for the first few days after the power goes out. It’s better to let the bleach in the pool evaporate first. Ideally, you should wait a week before you turn to your pool for drinking water. You should also cover your pool to keep out excess debris.
2. Backyard Ponds – In today’s world they are purely ornamental, but in a world without a steady supply of water, they are life saving. You can go big, or have a typical little pond with a pretty waterfall and such. Add a few fish to the pond to make it an even greater resource. Pond water also needs to be filtered and purified before you drink it.
3. Garbage Cans – These are a discreet yet easy way to store up to 50 gallons of water. Set the cans up to catch rainwater from the gutters, or just use a hose to fill up the cans. Move them to the back of your garage or to the shady side of your house. If you can, get some black garbage cans as this color keeps out ultraviolet light which can cause algae growth. Use the lids to keep out debris. And do NOT get the cans with wheels on the bottom. While those are easier to move, the holes for the axle are an issue. Finally, do not put your garbage cans directly on concrete. The plastic actually absorbs chemicals used to make the concrete as well as any chemicals that may have been spilled. Instead, line up some 2×4’s or something and place your garbage cans on those.
4. Rain Barrels – These are an option that many people take advantage of today. There are some counties that have made rain barrels illegal, so make sure you check your local codes before setting one up. If rain barrels are not allowed, use garbage cans. As with garbage cans, you should never store your rain barrels directly on concrete. Also, don’t use barrels that once had chemicals in them. The chemicals will leech into the plastic and ultimately back into your water supply. Never get used barrels from auto parts stores or farms that used the barrels to store fertilizers or pesticides.
5. Cisterns – These are an excellent option, and even better if you have room to bury them on your property. This keeps them out of sight and ensures your water supply doesn’t attract anyone’s attention. You can also set up rainwater catchment systems to help supplement your water supply. Cisterns range in size from a few hundred to a few thousand gallon capacity. If you are using a smaller one and putting it in the backyard, it’s a good idea to build a fence around it or plant some privacy shrubs to help shield it from prying eyes. Don’t forget to buy or build a hand pump to get the water out of the cistern.
6. Water Beds – Another good option, although these are a bit rare this day and age. If you plan on using the water in your bed as drinking water, you should drain and refill the bed with fresh water at least once a year. Add a cap full of bleach to the water to help prevent algae and bacteria growth. Make sure the room where the bed will be placed can handle the weight of a water bed. A hundred gallons of water weighs about 800 pounds. You don’t want to cause major structural damage by trying to store too much water in an unsupported area.
7. Rainwater Hogs are one of the lesser known water storage methods. These are essentially rain barrels, but they are flat and can be placed under a deck, porch, or even underground. The plastic containers are equipped with rainwater catchment systems that will come in handy when you can’t simply turn on the hose to fill the containers. The containers can also be stood up to go flush against the side of a building. This helps conserve space and lets you take advantage of gravity to get the water out of the tank.
8. Stacking Containers – These hold anywhere from three to fifteen gallons of water and are great for storing in a garage or basement. Each container has its own nozzle and a handle for carrying. The plastic containers are designed to stack on top of each other and can be built up against a wall. WaterBricks are a great option for this as they’re virtually indestructible. It’s a good idea to build a frame to further secure the containers. Using 2×4’s across the front of your water wall will keep them from toppling forward should there be any vibration from a quake or explosion.