Whether you are storing water for everyday use or for a potential disaster, it is important to know the facts about bottled water and water storage to assure the safety of your family.
Commercial Bottled Water
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, commercial bottled water, which is bottled water that you buy in a store, is regulated by the FDA in the USA and is treated as a food item. There are strict rules that bottlers must adhere to regarding the processing and safety of the products, as well as specific classifications for the water that they sell. There is a common myth that this product is less safe than tap water. That is not true if the manufacturer is adhering to the FDA regulations.
According to the FDA, bottled water has an indefinite shelf life if produced according to standards and stored properly. Proper storage means keeping the unopened bottles in a cool, dark place. Once a bottle is opened, it should be consumed quickly. Storage in a cool and dark place prevents degradation of the quality. This means that you can store bottled water for many years under the right conditions.
Theoretically there is no limit to the shelf life for bottled water when stored properly. Some manufacturers put a two year expiration date on the product, but that is mostly related to a New Jersey law that requires manufacturing or expiration dates on all food products. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to rotate your inventory because almost anything stored in plastic will eventually start to pick up a strange taste. Use the older stock first and replace it with new stock to assure the freshness of the taste.
Tap Water Storage
The rules for self-storage of tap water are different. If you are storing tap water it should only be stored for up to six months. Tap water should only be stored in food grade containers designed for water storage. Never store water in plastic containers with recycle codes 3, 6 or 7 due to concerns about BPA contamination. Never store water in used milk or juice containers, or in cardboard containers. It is difficult to get the old products completely out of the containers and they may contaminate the water.
Well water may need to be treated for storage with chemicals. FEMA offers good advice for treating water for storage.
How Much Water Do I Need To Store?
Each person in your family needs at least two quarts of water per day to survive. FEMA suggests that you should store a minimum of one gallon per person and at least a three day supply of water. That would be for consumption only and does not take cleanliness and personal hygiene into account. Also, don’t forget about the needs of your family pets.
A better plan would be to store at least one gallon per person with a two week inventory of water, especially if your area is prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes. Tap water from the municipal supply and even well water can easily become contaminated in a disaster and cannot be trusted.
Storage of water should be an essential element of every disaster plan. It is simple to do and well worth it if disaster strikes.