Survive! Easy Water Storage Options

Michael Piccione | Contributor

Water is darn near free and readily available. Maybe that is why we take water storage for granted.

Without water you are dead. Assuming you are in good shape, and the temperature doesn’t cause profuse sweating, and you are idle, you can live three to five days. This is even a stretch because you will be dehydrated in a day. Note: if this is a survival situation it’s doubtful that you will be idle.

In a shelter in place situation you will need water for: drinking, food prep, personal hygiene, meal clean-up, washing clothes and if you have enough water, flushing the toilet. Standard advice to preppers is one gallon a day per person. I can assure you one gallon a day is not enough water. One gallon will cover drinking and food prep.

Storing Water:

On the Cheap

Save containers and use your tap water. Here is the obvious, clean them well to remove any bacteria and seal them tightly. Municipal water sources have enough chemicals to keep bacteria growth low in your self-store water.

Store Bought Water

Purchasing a gallon of water costs about a dollar, so price is not a barrier to buying and storing water. If you started buying water a year ago, at two gallons a week, you would have 104 gallons stored right now. Since it is heavy to lug water from the car to your home simply start with a gallon or two every time you run to the grocery store. Seriously, it’s cheap and easy.


Meet the WaterBOB®

This is an inexpensive product, around $20 on, and an ingenious idea for water storage. The WaterBOB is a plastic bladder that goes into your bathtub. Attach the bladder to your water spout and fill it up. The WaterBOB will hold up to 100 gallons and there is a pump included to remove the water from the bladder. Check it out

Collapsible Five Gallon Water Jugs

Just as the description says, they are collapsible water jugs. The up side is that they are inexpensive, around $10 on, and easy to store. The down side is that they are typically not sturdy enough to move once filled. Here are two bags worth a look:


Shelf Reliance® BPA Free 55-gallon Barrel Water Storage System

A barrel only takes up a few square feet and holds 55 gallons of water. This system also has a siphon pump attached to remove the contents. Another nice feature with this product is that it includes sanitization chemicals to keep your water clean up to five years. It’s even made in the USA. Costco has them available online for $99.99 with shipping included. Here is the link,|PopularProductsInCategory

Install A Cistern

A cistern is a water storage tank typically used to store rainwater. I have a cabin in the mountains and I run the kitchen sink and toilet from cistern water. Here is what I do; the roof channels rain into the gutter. In the gutter I have wadded screen to keep as much debris as possible from going down the gutter. The gutter goes to a box on the side of the cabin where I have another filter. From that box the water goes into a buried cement cistern. The cistern has a two foot by two foot cement cover. Why is this important? Because when power goes out I can easily dip a bucket in the opening to get water.

How clean is this roof water? Well, I’ve never cleaned the cistern in the 9 years I’ve owned the cabin and maybe twice a year I dump some bleach into the water. It runs clear, and it doesn’t smell. Because it comes from a roof that can have bugs and bird poop on it and stored in a big cement box you should filter or sterilize the water before drinking. I have brushed my teeth, washed dishes and probably ingested more that I should but I have never been sick from the water.

Here is a good website to take a look at a variety of cisterns Any local plumber should be able to give you advice and installation information.

If you live in a water sparse area it is also a good idea to have a cistern for your outside watering needs like caring for your garden or washing your car.


So there you have it, ways to store water. You don’t need a lecture on the importance of water but I would like to stress you will need more than you probably think you do, and I say that with a lot of experience in situations where I don’t have access to a public water supply or a deep well. Ideas for water storage are appreciated and you can leave them in the comment section.

Editor’s Note: if you want a prepper/survival topic covered leave a comment. Here are some articles I’ve put together in our Survive! section

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