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Essential Tips for Water Purification and Storage

Be Prepared, Stay Hydrated

Water is the elixir of life, and in times of uncertainty, having a reliable supply of clean and safe water is paramount. As a master prepper, you understand the importance of water preparation. In this post, we'll delve into the essential techniques for water purification and storage. By following these tips, you'll be equipped to ensure a sustainable water source for you and your loved ones during emergencies or unforeseen situations.

At the bottom of the post are some links to various products used for water purification, storage and rainwater harvesting.

The 1-2-3 Step Method for Water Purification:

  1. Filter: The first step is to filter the water to remove any visible particles, sediment, or debris. You can use a cloth, coffee filter, or a commercial water filter designed for this purpose. Think of it as starting by removing "the big pieces" out of the water first. This initial filtration helps improve the effectiveness of subsequent purification methods.

  2. Disinfect: After filtering, the next step is to disinfect the water to eliminate harmful microorganisms. There are several methods you can use: a. Boiling: Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least one minute (or three minutes at higher altitudes). This kills most pathogens and makes the water safe to drink. Let the water cool before consumption. b. Chemical Treatment: Another option is to use chemical disinfectants such as chlorine dioxide or iodine tablets. Follow the instructions on the product carefully for dosage and contact time. These chemicals neutralize bacteria, viruses, and protozoa present in the water. c. UV Sterilization: UV light devices designed for water purification can be used to kill microorganisms. These portable devices emit ultraviolet light that disrupts the DNA of pathogens, rendering them unable to reproduce. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper usage.

  3. Wait and Store: Once you have filtered and disinfected the water, it is essential to let it sit for a while before consumption. This waiting period allows any residual contaminants or chemicals to settle or dissipate. Afterward, transfer the treated water into clean, airtight containers made of food-grade material, and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and chemicals.

Water Storage:

a. Food-Grade Containers: Ensure you have an ample supply of clean, food-grade containers for water storage. BPA-free plastic, glass, or stainless steel containers are ideal choices. Avoid using containers that may leach harmful chemicals into the water, such as:

  1. Low-Quality Plastics: Some low-quality or non-food-grade plastics may contain additives like bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates, which can leach into water, especially when exposed to heat or sunlight.

  2. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC containers are not recommended for water storage as they can release harmful chemicals, including vinyl chloride, dioxins, and phthalates, into the water.

  3. Polystyrene (Styrofoam): Polystyrene foam containers, commonly known as Styrofoam, should not be used for water storage. They can release chemicals into the water and are not designed for food or beverage contact. (makes you think twice about getting a coffee at the gas station, huh?)

  4. Metal Containers with Unsafe Coatings: Some metal containers, such as old cans or those with unsafe coatings, can corrode or leach harmful substances into water. Some examples of this include: rusty or corroded cans, painted or coated cans, tin cans with interior coatings and aluminum cans with unsafe linings.

b. Seal and Label: Securely seal your water containers to prevent contamination and label them with the date of storage. This will help you rotate your water supply, ensuring freshness and quality.

c. Storage Location: Store your water containers in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and chemicals. Sunlight and heat can degrade the quality of stored water over time.

d. Quantity: The general rule of thumb is to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation needs. Consider storing a two-week supply for emergencies, but adjust the quantity based on your specific circumstances and the needs of your family.

Regular Inspection and Rotation:

To maintain water quality, perform regular inspections of your stored water. Check for any signs of contamination, such as discoloration or unusual odor. Rotate your water supply every six months to ensure freshness. Use the older water for non-drinking purposes, such as watering plants or cleaning.

Alternative Water Sources:

In emergency situations where water supply may be disrupted, it's essential to know alternative water sources. Rainwater harvesting, natural bodies of water (after proper purification), and melting ice or snow (if available) can be options when treated water is unavailable.


Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting and storing rainwater for various uses. It is a sustainable practice that helps conserve water resources and reduce reliance on traditional water sources.

  1. Collection methods: Rainwater can be collected from rooftops, paved surfaces, or specially designed catchment areas. The most common method is to direct rainwater from rooftops into gutters and downspouts, which then lead to storage containers or rain barrels. Other collection methods include using rainwater harvesting systems that utilize filters and pipes to capture and channel rainwater.

  2. Benefits: Rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits:

    • Conservation: It helps reduce the demand for freshwater from traditional sources like wells or municipal supplies. By harvesting rainwater, you can use a free and abundant resource while minimizing strain on water supplies during droughts or water scarcity.

    • Cost Savings: Using harvested rainwater can lead to reduced water bills, especially for outdoor uses like watering plants or washing vehicles. It also reduces the energy required for water treatment and distribution.

    • Water Quality: Rainwater is generally free of minerals, salts, and chemicals found in groundwater or municipal supplies. It can be softer and healthier for certain plants, and it can be used for non-potable household purposes like flushing toilets or washing clothes.

    • Stormwater Management: Rainwater harvesting helps reduce stormwater runoff, which can cause erosion, flooding, and pollution. By collecting rainwater, you minimize the strain on stormwater systems and promote groundwater recharge.

3. Storage and Treatment: Rainwater collected for non-potable uses may require

minimal treatment, such as using a sediment filter or a mesh screen to remove debris.

For potable uses, additional treatment like filtration, disinfection, or purification may be

necessary. Proper storage containers, such as food-grade barrels or tanks, should be

used to prevent contamination and ensure water quality.

4. Local Regulations and Best Practices: It's important to research local regulations

and best practices regarding rainwater harvesting in your area. Some regions may have

specific guidelines on the allowable uses of harvested rainwater or requirements for

filtration and treatment. Adhering to these guidelines ensures the safe and responsible

use of rainwater.

5. Maintenance: Regular maintenance of your rainwater harvesting system is essential.

This includes cleaning gutters, checking and cleaning filters, inspecting storage tanks

for leaks or algae growth, and ensuring proper mosquito control measures. Regular

maintenance helps preserve water quality and prolong the lifespan of the system.

Rainwater harvesting is an eco-friendly and sustainable practice that promotes water conservation and self-sufficiency. By collecting and using rainwater, you can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future while reducing your reliance on traditional water sources.

Note: It's important to consult local regulations and guidelines, as rainwater harvesting practices can vary depending on the region and specific requirements.


Water purification and storage are fundamental aspects of emergency preparedness. By incorporating these practices into your prepping routine, you can ensure a reliable supply of clean and safe water for you and your family during challenging times. Remember to regularly assess and update your water storage, and stay informed about local water sources and purification techniques.

With these skills in your prepping arsenal, you'll be well-equipped to face any water-related challenges that come your way.

Stay prepared, stay hydrated, and stay safe!

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