Saturday, November 8, 2014

Home Water Storage

This is not exhaustive, obviously, but it's a handy overview. The full range of options are as unlimited as your own imagination and inventiveness, provide you think about all the aspects regarding weight, bulk, safety, accessibility, and cleanliness of the supply.
From bottom-end to top, some choices to get you thinking:
G.I. 1-quart plastic canteen.
Water for 6 hours or so. $5-10.
GI 5-gallon plastic water jug.
Water for 5 days for 1 person. $35-50.
Aqua-tainer 7 gallon water jug.
Water for a week for 1. About $20.
Water Bob 100-gallon bathtub water storage bag.
Water for 3 months. $30.
Food grade 55-gallon water barrel.
Water for 2 months or so. $75-ish. (Shop around. You can do better than this. Also, some opportunistic jackholes are asking $175 and more for the same thing. If you're willing to pay over 2 times market price, go to the tattoo parlor and have "SUCKER" emblazoned on your forehead.)
IBC 330-gallon caged palletized water tank.
Water for nearly a year for 1. Over $500 new, plus shipping.
Used ones can be had; make sure they were used for water, and not something like vinegar, or some toxic chemical. This is why IMHO, new is your friend unless you're a careful customer. Also nota bene the filled weight is nearly a ton. This mixes with stick-built upper floors in apartments rather poorly, especially in seismically active areas, but it will help you meet the downstairs neighbors. And their insurance adjuster.
OTOH, if you mount one on 3/4-5/4 plywood set on top of two levels of cinder blocks in a ground level garage or other concrete slab, the drain spigot will be handily elevated to fill smaller jugs and buckets. If you mount one or several in series at elevation, and plumb them to the home system, you can create low water pressure to supply whatever.
Above-ground pool.
Various sizes. This one holds 425 gallons, and goes for $57 @ Wal-Mart.

You could get an 18' diameter x 52" tall metal-walled monster that holds 7700 gallons (a year's drinking water for 20 people) for a bit over $900.
Even bigger models are available. BTW, the best time to buy is now, with retailers and manufacturers sitting on last summer's leftovers, and sales prices in full effect.
Notes: if you can put it up inside a garage and put the cars outside, it's secure, and on a stable and accessible surface spot. You'd want to cover it, still be best off by purifying/filtering the water before drinking or cooking, and want to sandbag or build some diverters in case of leakage or failure. But you could cook and drink for years, and have enough left over to wash a set of clothes in a bucket once a week, and then use the after-wash to occasionally flush a plumbed toilet, even in a multi-level condo with garage in the 'burbs. Obviously, you wouldn't be able to leave it set up perpetually, but in a pinch, with between a couple of hours to a day, you could fill it up while the muni taps are still running. Think about that.

There are obviously even larger storage options, including in-ground pools and water tanks. As you approach that point, and get into the means to fill/recharge them manually or naturally, you're getting more into water sources than water storage.

Which I'll visit another time.


  1. While everything I've read says the GI 5 gallon water containers are the best, they're also expensive. I prefer a different ecosystem of less expensive 5 gallon containers, which in the last few years I've bought from Nitro-Pak, and I think U.S. Plastic Corp. has a couple of these from different manufacturers that are about the same form factor: one and two, although only in "natural" (white and/or no color added). The latter also offers neat 4 and 5 liter containers that are a very handy size between a canteen and 5 gallon and more containers, and an amazing assortment of other useful stuff (get a paper catalog, it's great to browse through).

    Both companies offer extra caps, Gamma Seal Lids, etc. at good prices with good service. I and my family have no relationship to these companies other than being happy customers for 5+ years.

  2. I use the blue 55 gallon barrel, and a white 25 gallon barrel method.
    I use a rain catching stock watering tank under the barn eaves for flush water (you must treat this with mosquito dunks) prior to each rain I dump it to refill. We use well water and if the power fails so does the water, there is a method on stand by to haul it up from the well via rope and pulley with bucket, a hand pump would be nice.
    For drinking water I use several old G. I. plastic canteens, I drink from steel canteens to get my two qt daily.
    There is a spring down on the farm that can be dug out to produce five gallons daily. Line it with rocks and it's good to go once sterilized.
    We have horses here so storing water for power failures is standard Ops, so is the steady refilling of their water tanks.
    The fact of having free running and full season dependable creeks and streams makes this better if you find you live in an area that has them.
    Nothing would quite beat the swimming pool method for storing water in an urban environment.

  3. I use a 100 gallon bladder (like water Bob.) I have a secondary bathroom, with an unused tub. I fill it with tap water. The chlorine in the tap water is actually a plus, because it helps keep the water from spoiling. I plan to use pitchers with Brita-like filters to remove the chlorine taste.

  4. Used, clear 2-liter soda bottles, filled with tap water.

    Sodis method to decontaminate.

    Free with our diet soda habit. Stack easy on shelves in the basement.

  5. It is amusing that no one seems to have put two and two together.

    That is, we are told that we don't know for sure what the natural reservoir for Ebola is, but bats are suggested as one.

    This means they carry it and are asymptomatic and are infectious in some way. Who knows all the mechanisms.

    This suggests that some humans could be carriers of Ebola as well.

  6. I have now come across two descriptions of the organs of victims of plague in Europe in the book Biology of Plague ...

    Does anyone know if there are any autopsy descriptions of ebola victims?

  7. OK, seems no one is doing autopsies :-(

    However, this site:

    says: the virus was found to cause extensive damage to lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow

    This seems similar to the autopsy results from Plagues in Europe, however, that site is a student site.