Water Storage on a Suburban Homestead can be limited by the size and installation of water collection containers. In order to meet city codes or HOA rules you may need to limit the overall dimension of your rain barrel or water tank. The smaller containers with the limited storage capacity will not keep up with collection or consumption. There are certain months of the year when the rainfall is not enough and other months when it’s too much and you need to divert the water from your barrels. You will need the capacity to store as much water as feasible.
We recommend storing a minimum of one month or 120 gallons for drinking for a family of 4 and another 400 gallons for a garden that is sized to supplement a food storage program. Remember this is an absolute minimum so if a storage capacity of 500 gallons is not feasible than an alternative water source such as a lake or well would need to be considered for a prolonged emergency. Using tap water you should store water in plastic 5 gallon jugs for drinking as part of your preparedness plan. We recommend you store at least 55 gallons inside at all times for drinking.
The shelf life for water that has been filtered is 1 year. Always store containers in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. Keep in mind that your 5 gallon jugs will weigh over 40 pounds so make sure the area in which you store the water is strong enough to support the weight. To improve the taste of water stored for a long time, pour it from one clean container to another clean container several times, to put air back into it. If supplies do run low, never ration drinking water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing your activity level. There are many hidden water sources in your house if you find yourself in an emergency situation without enough water. These include pipes, ice cubes, hot water tank and even the water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (DO NOT use the bowl).