Home Water Storage: Do You Do It?
Home water storage is one of those good ideas for just-in-case. If your water suddenly wasn’t coming in the pipes, how easily would you cope? We just got a chance to find out. It happened like this, and further down I will describe simple water storage you can do.
Our local water system notified everyone in our neighborhood that on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, we would be without water for a number of hours while a new pump was installed. So I thought that over the weekend, Kelly and I could do something to prepare.
But when we got up last Saturday morning, there was no water. It was 6 am and luckily we did have a few 5-gallon containers in the bottom of our kitchen closet.
There was enough water in the teakettle to start our morning, and you do get one free flush with your toilet before it runs out, but I was concerned at the idea of my newly transplanted seedlings not getting a good drink before the bright sun bore down on them all. A bit later, I phoned the water district and discovered that the Saturday outage was not intended and that our water would soon be back on. It was, and my seedlings and I were happier. As for the longer days, our five-gallon containers shown below, plus some pots and pans filled up, got us through fine.
How to Store Water at Home
You can store water in a variety of ways. From the simplest to the elaborate:
 Buy one or more jugs of water at the grocery store, don’t open them, and store them inside.
 Fill some very clean canning jars with tap water, and keep them in your kitchen or in a closet somewhere indoors, where freezing will not be a problem. I would use tap water, because the chlorine is good for storage, rather than filtered water that has removed chlorine.
It’s not a good idea to reuse plastic milk or juice jugs, because bacteria can grow in them even if you think you have cleaned them well.
 Get some five-gallon water storage jugs or food-grade buckets with secure lids, and fill them up. Now it is getting a bit trickier to find a place to keep them where they will be protected from cold winter nights. We keep ours in our kitchen closet and in our attached greenhouse.
We haven’t yet kept the buckets in the greenhouse over the winter, and I am not sure if we will.
Use your bathtub. If you just fill it, that won’t make good drinking water, with shampoo residues, etc., but you could certainly flush and clean with it.
Another option is to get a container to use in your bathtub, made of food-grade plastic and containing up to 100 gallons — depending on the size of your bathtub too. These are actually meant for one-time emergency use, like before a hurricane or flood comes roaring through. There isn’t a way to dry them completely after removing the water, so they couldn’t be sure to be ultra-clean.
Here in Colorado, we have drought to deal with. I don’t pretend that a few gallons will protect us against long-term drought, but it certainly could against a power outage that knocked out our water for a short while. We have two bathrooms, both with tubs, but we only use one tub for its intended purpose. The other tub contains some extra blankets, which make an excellent cat bed. Kelly just commented that if we put the blankets back over the waterbob, we will have a waterbed for the cats! Let’s see what the kitties think of that…
 Getting beyond my skill level (but not my husband’s), there are water storage tanks, cisterns, ponds, and so forth. If we do something of this sort later, I will blog about it for sure.
As for filtering the water, if it has been stored a longish time, that would definitely be a good idea. Also, I remember from years traveling around third world countries that boiling water for around 3 minutes is a good way to kill bacteria.
I hope you will look around and do something to improve your water storage at home. We can live without food for several weeks, but without water only a few days.
UPDATE: A few weeks after I wrote this article, I wrote an ebook on Emergency Water Storage, and that link takes you to the page where it’s described and you can download it at no cost.