I would like to suggest a method for Longer Term Water Storage than say just buying cases of 16 ounce (0.6 kg) water bottles, 1 gallon (3.79 l) jugs, or even those 2.5 gallons (ca. 9 l) water jugs with spigots that they sell in stores. 

Longer Term Water Storage

When we think on it, there are several methods to Longer Term Water Storage. Overall, the best way is probably to have some sort of stainless steel water cistern which is refillable, such as one at the top of a hill or on stilts that provides water pressure as well. If this is not an option, you might be thinking to use store bought water. After all, it’s filtered, right? While this is true, the water in stores is stored in short-term water containers. Specifically, the plastic is not made to sit on top of one another for long periods of time. 

For this prep, I am going to share some personal stories, specifically my early days of trying to prep for a foreseen disaster. One such story was realizing I needed water preps, and chose to go the route of 16 ounce (0.6 kg) water bottle cases from Sam’s Club. For a short term prep, say of less than 3 months, it is not a bad prep. However, heat can cause degradation of the plastic. In fact, for extended periods of time, these are terrible preps because the plastic not only degrades, but it also leaches into the water itself, making the water not a viable drinking source.

Story Time

Longer Term Water StorageMy initial prep, not realizing this, was to buy half a pallet of water from Sam’s Club. They asked that I drive around to the rear of the building when I came to pick it up. I was expecting to load it up manually in my truck. Thankfully, they just unloaded half a pallet and then used a forklift to deposit my order in my truck. I dropped the bed open, and it was soon loaded up.

I have a Heavy Duty Silverado, so the weight barely registered. Good thing. I have seen videos of cars and trucks not able to handle weight and sink or flatten tires – truck tires are pricier, as the walls are re-enforced. You can get cheaper tires for a truck, if there is no plan to ever have weight on them. My truck pulls am RB with a tongue weight of 750 pounds (0.34 t) unloaded. 

My truck was loaded, and I took the pallet of water and loaded it up to my storage unit before the disaster struck. The storage unit was uncooled, so the heat inside would likely hit the 130s of the summer, possibly hotter inside. I also bought some 2.5 gallons (ca. 9 l) preps and some other plastic containers for my RV.

Here’s where I learned of the degradation of the plastic. Not only does the plastic become weaker, but under pressure can start to weaken. The 2.5 gallons (ca. 9 l) water bottles should be tipped up so that there is no pressure on the spigot. That spigot leaked in my RV. Not a bad thing, really. In the heat, water inside your RV actually helps to keep the walls and inside somewhat humid, protects it from dry intensive heat. But for a Longer Term Water Storage, it’s a disaster.

BPA Warning

BPA water bottle example
Image courtesy of by Donmike10 (talk), Public Domain

On the other hand, the water bottles that we actually use for cooking and drinking, all started to wilt under pressure of the other bottles on top as well. Between the heat and the pressure, the bottles will lose their strength and may leach that BPA (Bisphenol Ainto the water. You will notice a distinct taste change if this happens. The harm is rated as BPA is an artificial estrogen much weaker than actual estrogen, but might have effects on humans over their lifetimes.

There are also possible health concerns with broken off microplastics. It could be that the reason the plastic becomes weaker, is because of microplastics in the heat breaking off into the water. We do know that when you wash your clothes, that micro threads leach into water – which is one of the reasons we don’t even use this leftover water in other ways. Of course, soap is also harmful to be digested, so should be avoided. However, water could be recaptured with Steam capture.

While there have been no case studies that have proven that BPA free plastic is not harmful to you or your loved ones, understand that there are alternatives. 

Better Longer Term Water Storage

Longer Term Water StorageA better Longer Term Water Storage for a home or apartment would be to store water in 5 gallons (ca. 19 l) jugs with resealable lids, you can get several of these and fill them up at water stores. You can then leave them anywhere, including your garage or tool shed, out of the way.

Personally, I am a big fan of water bladders, for Longer Term Water Storage because they can fit in my truck under my cover, and be taken with me on trips. However, if you are looking for a long term storage at a set location, you will probably want a 55 gallon (0.21 m³) food grade water drum.

Obviously, it is a good idea to have a few of these for Longer Term Water Storage. You may be able to find them used on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. However, there’s no way to know how old they are, if they are leaking, or what exactly was stored in them. For this reason alone, we recommend buying new. 

Longer Term Water Storage
Water Bladder

Pro Tip: If you are buying a water bladder for your truck bed, find out how many cubic feet it can hold. Then convert that to liters. So, my Silverado truck bed, unloaded, can hold 71.70 cubic feet (ca. 2 m³), which is 2030.3 liters. However, the height is 22 inches (0.56 m), so I have to take that unto considering which bladder to buy. In my particular case, I would just need to ensure on the 2000 liter size, that I do not fill it to maximum – if I were planning to leave it under my truck cover for a trip.

This means it would only be able to hold about 75% of the water or about 1500 liters. A better option for me, would be the 1000 liter size, and have extra space in my truck for other emergency preps, or a steel storage locker in my truck bed. Why steel? Because thieves can pry open aluminum truck boxes. Get a steel truck box that mounts under your truck cover!

Emergency Water Storage

If you know a disaster is coming, and you need to get water quickly, you, of course, can fill up your bathtub. However, the water will be subject to dust, hair, and whatever is in the tub since the last time you did a thorough cleaning. A better option is a waterBOB, that you line your bath tub with, and fill that up. The bath tub, will hold the waterBOB in place and provide support for it. You should only have one for each tub because trying to move or even fill this up, without the support of your bathtub, is almost a guarantee for disaster. But the real key is having them before you need it. Trying to buy it, when an emergency is about to hit, be it a hurricane, flood, or even a biohazard in the area, is a bad idea. Order them now!

Longer Term Water Storage TL;DR

There are obviously many ways you can go about Longer Term Water Storage, and it all comes down to your needs. If you are planning on long term storage, the best overall solution is to use new 55 gallon (0.21 m³) water drums. Leave them in some bug-out locations as well as by your home (with a way to move the water drums). They should be filled and ready to be used. It’s probably also a good idea to have a way to pump the water out and to treat the water for long term storage. You should also have a waterBOB for emergency water in your bathtub. 100 gallons (0.38 m³) can be practical in an emergency, when you don’t have room for better storage.


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