Water jugs, water tanks, water bobs…
Water storage containers are essential for emergency preparedness and with the recent hurricane Zeta power loss, we definitely put ours to good use.
That and some super handy LED lanterns that we need to write more about soon. We especially favor the ones with a dimmer dial for adjustable brightness in order to conserve batteries when you just need a little bit of static light.
You do NOT want to ever run out of water. When you’re out of water, things go downhill quickly. A few years ago our well went out twice. It worked great for 25 years before the pump finally gave out. Then it went out a second time within the same year. It turns out that was an installer error.
Whether you’re on a well or on city water, you need to be prepared for outages that leave you high and dry.
No Water Means No…
- Flushing the toilet
- Brushing teeth
- Drinking water
- Washing dishes
- Washing clothes
- Cooking most things
- No good!!
Without water, things turn bad quickly. Remember Katrina? Major deep duty! So be prepared!! Keep stored drinking and potable water on hand. No, it’s not convenient to have water containers sitting around or in storage, but having water when you need it can be life or death at worse and a matter of convenience and cleanliness at best.
Here are the containers we’ve used so far that saved us when our wells went out, and when the power goes out in storms.
Water Storage Containers
100 Gallon Water Bob
This is a simple yet ingenious idea! Our largest water container, the Water Bob, is more like a soft water storage tank with a surprisingly large 100 gallon capacity. We had it only about half filled the last time our water went out but that really helped.
We tend to keep it mostly full in an extra tub in the winter. But they are unwieldy and harder to manage than a stiff water container, however, they store so much smaller. There is the issue of needing to dry it out well before repackaging to store it so that it doesn’t get moldy. However so long as it’s mostly empty, if you recap it any residual water drops on the interior should be fine. At least it has been so far for us.
Water Bob Pros
- Stores small
- Holds large quantity of water at 100 lbs
- Relatively easy to use and pump
- You can refill smaller containers from the Water Bob
Water Bob Cons
- Can be unwieldy if not in a standard sized tub
- Takes time to empty and dry out when no longer needed
- You have to empty it to move it
- The pump isn’t as simple as a hard container, but it’s adequate
- 100 gallons is heavy so be sure your floor supports are strong.
CAUTION: If you get one of these, be sure your floor can handle that extra weight! No one needs those horror stories of a waterbed… or tub, collapsed through the floor! Brings to mind the comedy movie, Money Pit.
Water weighs 8.34 lbs per gallon, so 100 gallons weighs 834 lbs when full!!
55 Gallon Water Drums
Like those blue 55 gallon barrels but food grade only.
If you have a basement for storing 55 gallon drums, these are definitely worth having on hand. Some of these food-grade drums come with pump kits, or you can purchase a siphon pump separately.
We have more on where to find free or cheap 55 gallon drums at the bottom in this article.
6 Gallon Water Jugs
We have two portable containers like the Jerry-can type 6 gallon jugs. Easy to handle and transport, these work really well. We plan to invest in a few more of these.
If you have a garden tub with a high faucet, they’re fit right under it for easy filling.
When we build (or install) our greenhouse, we’re thinking to place wire shelving on top of “water bricks“. These are good stackable containers, especially the ones like those pictured here. These water storage containers have extra caps on all sides for easier access, as well as spigot caps. That way our shelving supports would also serve double duty as stored water.
These water bricks are 3.5 gallons per brick and easily stack and link together.
Hmmm… these would likely add some nice passive solar heating benefit as water storage “walls” in a greenhouse too! So if you have a greenhouse, that could be a great place to store large water bottles. (Placing this on our wishlist and in Ideas Notebook)!
Btw… speaking of an ideas notebook, we use the Wisdom Journal for garden notes. It was created from quotes and tips from the GardensAll Facebook community!
1 Gallon Water Jugs
We also keep a few gallon water jugs around that we use for watering plants, and these are clean and drinkable as well. You can save money by reusing one gallon water jugs, especially the translucent spring water bottles and milk jugs. Since this is emergency water, it’s not like you’ll be drinking it everyday if you’re worried about the common issues with plastic and BPA’s.
Or if you want the safer plastic you can buy BPA free water jugs.
We’ve covered more on non-potable water storage barrels here.
Install a Well if You Can
If you have well water or are considering drilling a well for preparedness and back up. You may enjoy this article on lessons from our well installation and repairs.
Even if you’re on city water, if you have the land, adding a well for backup can be a very worthy investment for a number of reasons.
Benefits of Wells
- Well water is often far better than city water, and without the chemicals
- You can use it for watering the garden
- Well water is free after the price of the well, which saves on utility bills in the long run
- You always have water, as long as you have a working pump
- Solar well water pumps are available and worth it for preparedness if you can afford it
And yes… while we had to have our well pump repaired — twice within 18 months due to installer error — it worked fine for over 25 years without issue, so that’s 25 years of no water bill, that more than made up for the well repairs.
Water Bottles for Drinking Water
Of course these won’t last long before needing refilling, however, having full bottles on hand can really help in dire situations.
We try to keep our reusable water bottles filled and in the fridge, ideally two per person, (though not every family member heeds this advice. 🤦🏻♀️ But just that simple step of each person having their own drinking water for a day or two, helps a lot.
We’ve used the Camelbak Eddy, which has the straw, for years and still do. But we do a lot of biking and for that plus ease of cleaning, we’re using Zorri flip cap BPA free water bottle now. When you have straws to cleaning, it adds a step and you need a long thin brush to clean your straw and straw spout well, else bacteria can build up there.
You can store a case or two of bottled drinking water as well, however that’s a whole other murky topic. This extensive bottled water study reveals that all the bottled water that was tested contained varying degrees of contaminants.
We also searched for the healthiest bottled water and found an article that rates the healthiest bottled waters based on the pH level, the source and filtering system, as well as the kind of plastic used. What they did not seem to do is include actual analysis of water samples. We’re still searching through a lot of internet fluff to try to get to the heart of that and will update this when we do. Meantime, if you come across such a study on best rated / least contaminated bottle water, please send us that link.
Meanwhile, here are the top 3 bottled waters based on this article of the top 10 healthiest bottled waters.
Top 6 Healthiest Bottled Waters
- Evian – from the French Alps and 15 years of filtration
- Eternal – naturally alkaline at 7.0 pH, sourced from the Shasta-Trinity Alps in the US
- Volvic – another French water purified and fortified through volcanic filtration
- Arrowhead – comes from 13 naturally occurring springs in and west of Rocky Mountains
- Absopure – proud of their impurity removal process
- Fiji – tropical rainforest water filtered through volcanic rock
Of these top six healthiest rated waters, we’d only heard of Evian and Fiji. Both of which can be found pretty much everywhere. So when you’re out shopping for bottled waters, these are good brands to keep in mind.
One study tested 250 brands of bottled water for plastic particles in the US as well as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, and Thailand.
Plastic was identified in 93 per cent of the samples, which included major name brands such as Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino.
So you see the challenge here? Evian was the #1 rated water in the first article, but found to contain plastic particles in the second. We rarely buy water, unless traveling. But based on just these two articles, next time we’re on the road without home-bottled well water, we’ll look for Eternal or Fiji bottled water.
We’re not going deeper here since this article is about water storage containers rather than bottled water quality. However, it is an important and interesting topic to learn more about for a future article. Meanwhile, if you find better research sources please let us know.
What Are Your Favorite Water Storage Containers?
We will be adding to this article over time as we acquire new information from our own experiences as well as contributions from the GardensAll community. So please let us know what you’re using for water storage and we’ll add it to this article!
You can send us an email reply with information and any photos; we always reply!
A Side Note on Portable Propane Space Heaters
One of our first concerns when the power went out was getting our greenhouse plants through the night. We need to do an article on these too, but meanwhile, adding them to this preparedness supplies article. We’re using a handy portable propane space heater for our cattle panel greenhouse to keep plants and spring seedlings from freezing.
You can read more about it in our Cattle Panel Greenhouse article.
Family Trivia: A few years ago I learned that the original Alderson Family Crest included the slogan: Semper Paratus. Turns out that’s latin for “Always prepared”. So… wishing you and yours abundant gardens and remember…
Semper Paratus… Always Prepared!
I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of GardensAll.com. Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always kept plants, been interested in medicinal herbs and nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. I assist in our family gardening projects primarily (at present) through the sharing of information through our websites and newsletters.
As a family we’re steadily expanding our gardening, experimentation and knowledge around all things gardening, edible landscaping, fresh organic foods and self sustainability and hopefully, farming in our future. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community. I also own and manage theiCreateDaily.com.