Long Time Water Storage Management

Long Time Water Storage Management

Long time water storage management.

Water is essential for life, health and human dignity. People can survive without water for approximately 3 or 4  days.

Water especially drinking water is the most important item for survival.  Each prepper should begin together with food to collect reasonable amount of water as priority number one for any crisis situation. I will talk in this article about storage management of drinking water. Harvesting and purifying of drinking water will be subject of another article. Let’s go on it.


1.    Quality - purity

According to EEA Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea tops the list for cleanest water in Europe.  

Other top contenders receiving top scores for excellent water quality include:

  • Austria: 97.7%
  • Greece: 97.1%
  • Malta: 96.6%
  • Croatia: 95.1%

The countries that earned the lowest marks for excellent water quality are:

  • United Kingdom: 17.2%
  • Poland: 22.1%
  • Slovakia: 56.3%
  • Bulgaria: 60.4%
  • Estonia: 62.5%


The quality of water at coastal sites (saltwater) is generally better than that of inland sites (freshwater). In 2020, 85.4% of the EU coastal bathing sites were classified as being of excellent quality compared to 77.5% of inland sites.

You can improve quality of water using of water filters or purifying tablets. Quality of water depends also on your storage management.

If you use reusable bottles or other water containers to store your water before each refill clean properly your containers to avoid bed odor or contamination. Do not forget to clean  also lid. Cleaning is very important factor to quality of water.  Cleaner water has longer durability. 

Properly stored water does NOT go bad. However, it may taste stale. To improve the taste, just pour your water from one container into another one. Do this several times.

In the peace time stored water should be replaced every 6 months if you are not using commercially bottled water.  


2.    Quantity

How much water do I need? Reasonable amount can be different for everyone. It is depends on location you are living, weather season, hot climate, people’s normal habits, their religious and cultural practices, pregnant or sick person, children, elderly person etc. Water consumption generally increases the nearer the water source is to the dwelling.

Some people use far more tap water than others and 2016 data from the European Commission sheds light on the EU countries consuming the most. In the period from 2014 to 2015, Italians consumed an average of 243 liters per day, followed by Bulgaria and Greece with 191 and 177 liters per day respectively.

On average, 144 litres of water per person per day is supplied to households in Europe. The sector with the largest water use differs from region to region.

Bottled water consumption in EU.

Population growth and the increase in number of households are important drivers behind increased water use. During the last decades population growth has slowed in most European countries, but the trend for smaller households has resulted in a marked increase in the number of households. Smaller households use more water per capita than larger households


Figure 1:  Effect of household size on water use


The average consumption for EU countries is 128 liters per inhabitant per day. The average household composition is 2,3 inhabitants and the average consumption per household is 111m3/household/year.


Figure 2:


Figure 3:


The water used by household come from two main sources: the public water supply system, hat produces water of drinking quality (regulated by 98/83/EC), and the self-supply (wells or sink). This last source is more developed in the new EU10 countries than in the EU15 (Eurostat, 2003a). However, especially for sanitary reasons, countries tend to favour the development of PWS for household water use.

Generally the Western countries have higher per capita water use than in the New-10 and CC- 3 countries. The Southern EU-15 Member States are using around 120 m3/capita/year compared to less than 90 m3/capita/year in the Northern EU-15 and Norway and Switzerland, and less than 70 m3/capita/year in Turkey, Cyprus and Malta (Figure 5). In all regions there has been a decrease in water abstracted for public water supply around 25% in the AC countries and 13 % in the Western countries.

According to official government authorities in the USA FEMA recommend for crisis situation as minimum 1 gal per day per person. If you 4 members family it is a lot of water.  Water is heavy and takes a lot of space.

Figure 4:

The Sphere Standards suggest a basic survival-level water requirement to use as a starting point for calculating demand  (see Figure 5). However, research indicates that 20 liters per capita per day is the minimum quantity of safe water required to realize minimum essential levels for health and hygiene.


Figure 5:

3.    Space

You need special space for storage drinking water. The dark and cold room in the house is the best for water. Underground storage or garage is ideal for this purpose. Never keep in the same room water supply with any fuel canister, chemicals, fertilizer, etc. Never store plastic container directly on the concrete floor but always use some wooden or rubber pad. 

If you living in the apartment your storage capacity will be significantly limited. Definitely  you will use smaller and better quality containers for storage of your water then prepper living in the larger house.

Prepper living in the house will have another advantage to the prepper living in the city apartment:

First – he can dig the well at his property if spring is available and to be totally independent on water,

Second – he can collect rain water from the roof (here is calculator) and purify it (in some EU countries is mandatory to build with new house underground rain water storage tank connected to sew system)  and

Third – he can storage water in the large containers – barrels or drums indoor or outdoor.   Always avoid direct sunlight.   


4.    Shape of Containers

Shape of container in many cases has not any influence on quality of water but you can save significantly on used space.  Smaller bottle or canisters have advantages that are easy portable and can be moved without any problems but they all take a lot of space.  Stack able containers or water bricks (Fig 6) are the best if you want to save some space. Moreover water bricks can be successfully used in apartments where are limited options very easy under any bed, or cupboard or at the any empty corner in the room.

Figure 6: Stack able Water Bricks

If you have large house you can store your water in the larger containers 50-80 l or IBC containers (Fig. 7) inside or outside of your house.   Disadvantage of large capacity containers is their heavy weight and limited transport possibilities.

Figure 7: IBC Container – 1000 liters

5.    Material

The best material for long storage drinking water is glass (preferably dark glass – green or brown shade). Popular is also glass canning jar of various sizes. Another good material is stainless steel, copper, enamel-lined metal, dark color plastic preferred blue, but can be also green or brown color and ceramics. Mylar metal-coated plastic bag in the cardboard box is quite innovative way to storage water.

Wood, stone and metal is not recommended for long storage.

Attention! Any glass material  bottles, jars  or carboy are quite dangerous in case of earthquake or tornado.   Never store them at the shelves but only on the ground of the lowest floor in the house. Such containers should be covered with protection rack against falling objects to avoid any brake of the glass and leak.

Anyway plastic material is the most popular for its low price,  low weight, easy cleaning, relatively durable and sturdy material.  Disadvantage is that plastic containers may leach toxins into drinking water. If you are concerned about leaching, hand wash your plastic containers, taking care not to scratch their surfaces. Also a con, most plastics tend to absorb odors and flavors, leaving unpleasant smells or flavors behind in water containers.

But be carefully with plastic. Not all plastic containers are suitable for water and especially for long term storage.

Every plastic container on the bottom has a triangle with a number inside it. There are also letters near the triangle. These letter tells you what the container is made of. 

1. PET or PETE: It is the most commonly used plastic material in packaging and consumer products, used especially for water and soft drink bottles. This kind of plastic is only intended for single use and is difficult to decontaminate, meaning that repeated use can be harmful. The more you use it, the higher the risk of leach and bacteria. Also, the metals and chemicals released by this material may tamper with our body's hormonal balance.

2. HDP or HDPE: HDPE is a harder type of plastic often used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, oil bottles, toys and some plastic bags. Experts claim that this is the safest kind of plastic that you can choose when buying bottled water, because it barely releases any chemicals. This means your water will be cleaner, hence causing minimal harmful effects on your health.

3. PVC or 3V: This symbol indicates the use of PVC, a highly toxic plastic that is soft and flexible, and is generally used for food wrapping, oil bottles, teething rings, toys, and blister packaging. The chemicals it releases are said to have serious consequences on our body, since they pose effects on our hormones. Experts suggest to avoid packaging made from the PVC and try to find an alternative to it.

4. LDPE: Although this type of plastic does not release chemicals into the water, you are unlikely to see this label on your water bottle, because the LDPE material is not used in its production. Rather, you would find it in food packaging. It is flexible and tough but breakable and considered less toxic than other plastics, and relatively safe for use.

5. PP: Yogurt cups and syrup packing are made of this white-colored or semi-transparent type of plastic, referred to as PP (polypropylene plastic). This kind of material is tough, lightweight and heat-resistant. This material won't melt easily if heated. Overall, it is a rather safe type of plastic, and it can also block out moisture, grease and chemicals.

6. PS: PS stands for Polystyrene - a type of inexpensive and lightweight plastic that is used for a range of products. We have often used this type of plastic- disposable styrofoam drinking cups, egg cartons, plastic picnic cutlery, and take-out “clamshell“ food containers. PS should be restricted to short-term usage only, since dangerous carcinogenic substances could be released from it when heated.

7. PC or non-labeled plastic: This is potentially the most dangerous plastic found out there. If you ever find the "PC" label on plastic bottles (or no label at all), make sure you steer clear of it as much as possible. It refers to a catch-all category for polycarbonate materials and "other" plastics, which contain chemicals that are likely to leach into the food or drink products it makes contact with. Examples of the use of this material include sports water bottles and food containers. It is highly discouraged to reuse or recycle this type of plastic.

Figure 8: Plastic material symbols

To make a long story short: plastic recycling numbers 2, 4 and 5 are the safest. Whereas plastic numbers 1, 3, 6 and 7 must be avoided. But it does not indicate that you can fearlessly use safer plastic. All plastic products can leach toxic chemicals when heated or damaged.

I recommend for long storage of water to use plastic material number 2 only.

There is quite new (2007) plastic material for water bottles called Tritan Copolyester. This ultra-tough option features high impact and heat resistance. It’s also leach proof, dishwasher safe, and resistant to odors, tastes, and stains.  Tritan water bottles have a high perceived value and a low price point (when compared to materials like stainless steel and glass).

• Dishwasher safe
• Odor and taste resistant
• Stainproof
• High value relative to price
• Many child-safe options

• Sometimes lumped into the same category as lesser plastics
• More expensive than other plastics
• Not as pure as glass


6.    Size of Containers

Today market offers wide scale of sizes of  water bottles, canisters, containers and barrels.   From 0,5 l bottles to 80 l canisters or even bigger 200 l plastic barrels,or IBC containers.

Smaller size advantages  - easy to move and handle, easy and faster transport, can be placed in various places,  can be easier hide in various secret shelters or cashes, more useful for individual then for large group or family, better for small apartments, simple evacuation – grab and run, prevent of contamination of whole supply of water. Small plastic bottles - If you don't fill them to the brim and instead leave an air space in their tops, they can withstand freezing without rupturing. That makes them ideal for water storage in cold climates.

Smaller size disadvantages – takes more space, more work to refuel, not very economic for large group or family.

Bigger size advantages -  better economic for large group or family, less room with more capacity,

Bigger size disadvantages – hard to move and handle, much harder to find right space, much harder to find secret place, if secret space is compromise can loose all water supply, problem with transportation or impossible to transport when is full, in case of contamination can loose entire supply. If there is leak in the container, you are likely to lose more of your water supply as compared to smaller containers. If the container is placed outdoor in the cold weather it can froze and broke if not properly insulated.



Drinking water will be very valuable and strategic commodity in the short future. No I am not talking here about any crisis scenario I am talking about regular living conditions as today. With the ever-worsening deterioration of pollution and climate changes sources of good quality of drinking water are rapidly shrinking from day to day. State authorities almost of each member of EU are suspiciously passive in the drinking water issue.

Under globalization, water is increasingly viewed as an economic resource to be managed through marketization and privatization. The development of water pricing policies, managed by private companies or through public-private partnerships, is considered an efficient means of allocating scarce water resources.

Slowly and silently under globalization water sources will go to  hands of multinational corporations. Yes,  sources of good water will be less and price will go rocket high.  EU Green Deal Zero Pollution ambition from EU lunatics is giving false hope to naive people and hobby environmentalists type of little Greta.  Globalization factors and how they contribute to environmental challenges such as the stock of potable water are often overlooked. ...

To read more about water, harvesting, purifying, storage and other issues with water please click here


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