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.


Sherm said...

The foot print is not that much more than 50 gallon barrels.

We keep them in the garage with 10% head space allow for freezing in the winter.

Rob Crawford said...

I like the "water brick" -- not too big to move around, and interlock to make them stackable.

GamegetterII said...

1500 gallon water tank made from roto molded Polyethylene or Polypropylene.
$694.00 but... you have to pay shipping,or find a dealer close enough so that you can pick the tank up yourself.
This tank would fit on a small trailer-like the lawnscrapers use...
Part Number: QI-1018
Capacity: 1500 Gallons
Size: 71"D x 93"H
Weight: 225 lbs.

"Because Quadel’s Titan Series Water tanks are Roto Molded , they are a one piece design with no seams and are incredibly strong and durable and will last for many years."

This company has all sizes of water tanks that are approved for potable water.

GamegetterII said...

Here's a question for anyone who can answer...

Could the filter and pump for an above ground pool be used to filter water from a pond or small stream to be used as drinking water-if you treated it w bleach after filtering?

Aesop said...

Pool filters are more for clarification, rather than sanitary drinking.
Making the water swim-safe is what all that chlorine is for.

Anonymous said...

I have 20 (30) gallon drums from Lexington Containers in KY.
$100 for 10.

Anonymous said...

You are so useful! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

What about bottled water? Probably more expensive but maybe also more convenient?

Rob Crawford said...

If you regularly drink bottled water, buy a week or two more than you need, drink the oldest, and keep your supply at that level. Then if something goes wrong, you have a small supply on hand.

Anonymous said...

I store enough bottled water to supply my family for at least a month.

The water is stacked against a wall in a bedroom, seven flats high (shoulder height). So that the stack doesn't tip over, I have a layer of unbroken cardboard (folds are OK) between each layer. The weight of the water holds the cardboard in place and ties the entire stack together. (I don't live in earthquake country, so I don't know how stable my stacking scheme would be during an earthquake.)

When a layer of water is consumed, I buy another layer, unstack everything, put the fresh water at the bottom and restack everything with the oldest water on top.

Anonymous said...

I've got Aquatainers, as well as other stuff, but I can make a couple of observations about the aquatainers.

They hold 7 gallons, and weigh about 56 pounds. (assuming 8#/gallon) This is about as much as one person can reasonably move. Smaller containers might be an option if your upper body strength is limited.

I have not been able to store them on their sides as shown in the photo. The provided spouts leak due to rough seams in the plastic. You can't stack them. That said, they store well with the spout and handle on top. The ones I got had solid lids as well as the spouts. The lids leak too.

They are very convenient for dispensing water. I tip mine to its side, and use the spout in my "disaster kitchen." (which is nothing more than a potting bench with a lower shelf that gets a colman stove and water jug when the lights go out. It gets moved to right outside my back door.)

Over a couple of years, the spouts have gotten brittle and broken. I was able to find some that worked as replacements, and didn't have to buy them from aquatainer, but you might want a spare or 2.

I am very happy to have them as my "mid-size" solution.


GamegetterII said...


"Pool filters are more for clarification, rather than sanitary drinking."

My though was this-use a trash pump-( the gasoline powered pumps that are used on construction sites)-to pump water from a creek into one of the Wal-Mart pools like you posted the pic of.
I have a wire mesh cage attached to end of hose that goes in creek-so only small debris could be pumped from creek to pool.

Then,as drinking water is needed-filter the pool water to get rid of any small debris,and treat with the 8 drops per gallon of bleach.

That would beat the hell out of carrying the creek water one bucket at a time.

GamegetterII said...


Tucanae Services said...

Boy! If anybody is wanting to shell out $5C's for an IBC give me a call. I am sure we can arrange something. I can get them that had stored molasses for about $275.

No so sure about the above ground pool. Some have been treated with an elsaticiser that is sure to leach.

Jennifer said...

You might consider stock tanks from farm supply as opposed to pools. They're sturdy and no leaching plastic. A little expensive, but they last forever. Farm store also has enclosed tanks built for the bed of a pickup when one needs to haul water to fields.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and I forgot. Soil conservation districts also have blue barrels available for around 50$ including downspout convertor kit. Just not lots of them at once. And factories that produce foodstuffs generally have them available for a song, if you feel like making the drive.

And, Berkey is out of stock. On everything.

And thank you for the waterbob recommendation; mine just came. Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Like one commenter, I have a lot of bottled water stored and I rotate stock, oldest used first.

I prefer the smaller containers, as I worry that one large container is to easily contaminated beyond use. Not to mention that I probably won't lose my entire supply due to a few stray rounds.

Anonymous said...

Tucanae.. no kidding, huh? You have to be willing to wash them, but if they stored molasses or syrup (like ours did), I'd drink out of them. For here they're an emergency backup to two emergency backups and will mainly be used for watering the gardens in the summer, but honestly, that's a LOT for a new one. Oh boy. I guess it's a matter of what was in them in the first place and if you trust the seller. Syrup clean out, not a problem if you know what you're doing. :)

Aesop said...

The two things to remember about above-ground pools versus farm stock tanks, is compressibility when you don't need them, and availability when you do.

People in 'burbs and the cities need a dedicated water supply a lot more than someone a few yards from a creek, pond, river, lake, etc. And you can't unfold a 6'+ dia. stock tank and fill it up, nor fold it up and put it away in better times. It has to have a permanent place to live 24/7/forever, or you can't have that.
If you're on an acre or more, more than 10 minutes' drive from a stoplight, you have choices.
A guy in a split level condo in any town larger than 100,000 can't do that.
Do what works best for your situation after analyzing it, but remember that what works for you isn't always going to fly everywhere from Minnesota to Florida, nor from country to suburb to city, and everywhere in between.
Remember the advice from the maestro:
"A good plan now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

Anonymous said...

If I was back living in the Bay Area in a small place, the bathtub Aqua-Tainer thing would be my first pick - lots of water, easily stored until needed, just pray I'm home or could get home fast when the quake hits so I could pull water out of the faucet before the mains possibly broke down, but it's a fantastic idea. Also in a cramped place with no garage, I'd supplement that with few 7 gallon jugs, and in a really small place I'd set a varnished board on top of a few and call it an avant-garde coffee table or something ;)

Anonymous said...

Your blog list should include Bison Pumps. I installed one of theirs in my basement. It is connected to the intake of my well. unlimited water supply there. indoors too (Read: night, frozen, zombies outside, no bulk....just a pump & no problems at all). Best part is I can use it to increase the pressure in my well so that water will run to the barn where Mr Ed and his two siblings live so no hauling water out there. sure the entire system cost me $1300 installed but again, on tap unlimited water supply. pete

Anonymous said...

Water heaters will contain enough potable water for a week or so, depending on size and number of users. Most will have a hose bib at bottom for flushing out sediments/rust, etc. Water heaters should be flushed out every 6 months or so.

Anonymous said...


Yup, water heaters hold a bunch of water.......


I found this out the hard way-- if the city supply becomes contaminated, it will spoil your whole water heater full before you know it. You have to turn off the supply before the event, and (like timing the stock market) that is hard to do.

IOW, don't count on the hot water heater for drinking water.


Blog Author said...

Rain barrels can be got at places like Home Depot. Get the thicker walled ones. Sometimes feed & seeds have them too.

A cheap (almost free) sediment water filter can be made from a 1 or 2 liter plastic soda bottle. Put in top to bottom order: small rocks, smaller pebbles, sand, charcoal, a piece of fabric. I would probably make the screw top be the bottom and cut a hole in the other end. YMMV. Perhaps if you are backpacking with one you would want a small hole in the bottom and to pour the water into the screw top, that way your rocks won't fall out as you walk. You can use activated charcoal or just black charcoal from a campfire. To use your water filter, you should wash the rocks etc. in clean water first.

You should still boil water from this filter but it will get most of the sediment out.

Aesop said...

So, I'm assuming you totally missed the earlier post?

Anonymous said...

RotoMold tanks are carried at Rural King.

Anonymous said...

Opinion sought for pool situation:

In instances of using a swimming pool for drinking water, how important is the attached filter for maintaining potability? Standing outside looking at my in-ground the other day, it occurred to me that after using the first 10 inches of water - once the level gets below the filter intake (the "skimmer") - the pump/filter can't be used anymore. What would I do at that point to maintain potability for a water source exposed to the environment (sun, algae, etc)?

Aesop said...

1) Put it indoors. That's why I've mentioned several times setting it up inside a garage, both because it's nobody else's business, and because it keeps algae, birdcrap, etc. out of your water supply.
2) Tarp it over with a cover that completely seals it off from the outside.

And FWIW, the attached filter does virtually nothing for maintaining potability. That's not what they're designed for. They keep the water reasonably clear for swimming, and filter out some of the crap that swimmers shed. Pool water is still pool water. It is thus merely a storage device for a large quantity. And nobody should be swimming in it.

For potability, you use one or more of the other methods I described in the earlier post: