EMERGENCY WATER SUPPLY, More of a Long Term Fix Than Water Bottles in the Closet

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Introduction: EMERGENCY WATER SUPPLY, More of a Long Term Fix Than Water Bottles in the Closet

This is my long-term solution to an emergency supply of water.  I have hooked up these "water cubes" to my gutters so I can catch a lot of rainwater.  There are a lot of products out there for rain barrel connecting, diverting, filtering, etc., but I did most of mine with stuff I salvaged for pretty much free, have less than $50 tied up in the materials that it took to hook up 3 containers.

IN THIS AREA these "water cubes" seem to be in short supply.  There's a place close by that used to have them for $100 but they are out and don't know when they will have more.  I'm looking for more of these if anyone knows where some are.

AUTHOR ADDED:  SORRY, I MEANT TO POINT OUT THAT THIS WATER WILL OBVIOUSLY HAVE IMPURITIES IN IT.  THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT MIGHT GET FLUSHED INTO THE TANK ALONG WITH THE WATER FROM THE ROOF, NOT TO MENTION THE TANK ITSELF.  THIS WATER WOULD NOT BE FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION UNLESS IT IS SERIOUSLY PURIFIED FIRST.  SEE MY PAGE WITH THE WATER PURIFICATION IDEA, I HAVE ADDED PICS AND INFO TO HELP EVERYONE FIND THE STUFF I USED.

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    64 Discussions

    Good, basic instructable that is easy to understand and implement.

    If you want to save the water for strictly emergency use, simply locate the tank in your basement and route a pvc pipe into there.

    Thanks for all the helpful comments, however there is one thing I am wondering. If i want to keep this supply on hand in the winter AND keep it from freezing, could I do so by adding some salt to it? If so, how much would it take? I can filter out the NaCl quite easily with my ceramic water filter (see my other posts) so getting rid of the salt to make it OK for drinking wouldn't be problematic.

    2 replies

    look up water tank heaters on line u might be able to find some 4 cheap cash. also make sure they can be run by dc as well.

    You would need a high salt content to prevent freezing ...which would turn it into salt water not fresh water not so good to wash and drink with.

    Ceramic filters will not remove salt from the water...for that, you would need a RO or reverse osmosis filter.

    To prevent freezing ...would all depend on where you live and how cold it gets there.

    A low cost no power option would be to build a protective box maybe out of pallets and insulate with waste polystyrene or stack hay bales around it.

    I am so very frustrated that our state has outlawed the private collection of ANY precipitation . I don' understand why this even possible !! Does anyone know of other states that have done this ? I live in Utah.

    Regarding water purity:
    I do not know if the type of tanks you are using are available opaque (no light gets in), but water that is kept absolutely dark will remain fresh. City water in large above ground tanks does not have any chemicals added to it until it is sent through the distribution pipes. The pipes have cracks which make chlorine necessary. For example, there are many Texas commercial rain water equipment companies that sell to residents and advertize that their rain storage tanks do not have to treat the water so long as it is kept in opaque containers. Thanks for the informative project.

    5 replies

    Some companies will say anything to sell their product....An opaque container will stop algae from growing ....bacteria however will grow when there is a food source (organic matter) and the conditions (temperature) are right they do not require light. Treating with bleach or ozone would be a good choice.

    The reason cities do not treat the water until it is sent down the pipes would be due to chlorine evaporation and plant operating costs.

    How would you explain well water being safe to drink. It has bacteria and organic matter in it. No Ozone or chlorine are needed.

    Actually it is advised that people test their well water for contaminants....not all are save to drink without filtration. People have drank it for generations, yes this is true.....but that does not mean all well water is guaranteed safe and i for one grew up with it but I still would not fully trust it with out having it tested.

    It all depends on geographic area, well location and depth...so just because you pulled it out of the ground does not mean it is going to be safe. Mountain streams look pure and clean too.

    Some ground water may also contain chemical pollutants....this is a big one to watch for due to our modern world. With the recent ground fracturing for energy sources alot of rural areas are starting to see polluted wells.


    Thanks for the info - I'm sure I have an old blanket or piece of fabric that I can use to cover the tanks, I was already thinking about covering some of my outside storage water bottles (behind the hedges) to keep the sun off them, I know that the milk jugs are not robust and I would expect them to crack if not protected, but this might be good advice for any water storage idea. Thanks again. Bart

    For emergancy power outages, I use about 10ea 1gal clear milk jugs and place them in a closet or cabinet. I store new water twice a year. I also keep 2 5gal old paint buckets sealed with lids for flushing the toilet or washing hands.

    This post makes no sense at all - Emergency water?
    For what?
    Watering your lawn?
    I use similar system to do just that and never ever for drinking.
    I do have "emergency" water storage and I use 55 gallon food grade plastic barrels.
    I just fill up the six I have from the tap and rotate them every three months.
    That gives me over 300 plus gallons of fresh water. Worried about bacteria? Just add some iodine.
    Cost? $40.00..
    Easy to move; flip them on their side and roll them...

    2 replies

    Alot of people do not have well water.

    If the power grid and city water is down for an extended time due to a disaster or event....rain water collection provides when your only other option would be government assists....and good luck with that one.

    to say this post makes no sense at all is a tad overboard. Just because someone didn't do it your way doesn't mean it is a bad idea.

    just incorperate this ?
    https://www.instructables.com/id/WATER-PURIFICATION-SYSTEM-cheap-and-effective/

    Nice Idea! We have a similar setup at home! In our case ALL our water comes from rainfall. We keep about 30 cu/Mts in a closed tank. Our drinking water is first boiled for 5 to 10 mins and then strained. No water relate illnesses in the last 20 years. I am not sure but maybe leaving the tanks exposed to sunlight could contribute to water purifying - Exposing water in PET bottles to 2 or more hours of sunlight usually removes most of the bacterial impurities in water.

    Keep it up!

    Doesn't Tractor Supply Co. sell IBCs (or something like them)? I seem to recall seeing some outside the store on more than one occasion.

    What type of business gives these IBCs away? I'm about to create some rain barrels and was going to ask a local soda bottling company for a couple of barrels, but I wasn't exactly keen on fighting the bees away from the syrup residue when I rinsed them out! haha Never seen the square ones. Think they may be a bit more sturdy than the barrels on my property (slants downhill).

    In Australia, most homes need to collect as much rainwater as possible because the price is becoming astronomical, and rainwater is free. These pallet tanks are available, but at a price where we can buy a proper rainwater tank around the same size, that has the correct filter, and will not grow algae inside of it. If you Google rainwater tanks in Australia, you will also find accessories that include a device that allows the first flush to be dropped away, debris and all, and then start filling the tank with clean water. Rainwater isn't too bad to drink, and doesn't have a chemical brew in it as found in some mains water around the world. They even use copper in it. You can buy yourself a filter jug for in the house to take out debris and heavy metals, and boil the water for more than 8 minutes if you have a lot of birds or animals getting onto your roof. If you mount the pallet higher, you can get a better flow to you garden from a hose. How long these last in the sunlight is an unknown factor. A good idea for areas where water is at a premium.