Water Storage

Jacob Allred

15 Gallon Drums

My wife and I have been working hard on building up a good supply of food and water. This is partially because we hate going shopping all the time, but mainly because it is good to have extra food in case of an emergency.

Last summer we were without clean water for a few days. Luckily we had stored some water in old juice containers so we had something to drink. It is difficult though to store a lot of water one gallon at a time, so we decided to buy a water drum.

A lot of people recommended getting a single 55 gallon drum, but we decided to buy two 15 gallon drums instead. We got this drum and this drum combo (which comes with a siphon and a bung wrench, which you need to open/close the drums and conveniently get the water out).

Here is my reasoning for going with 15 gallon drums instead of 55 gallon drums:

Weight. Water is heavy. A full 55 gallon drum weighs about 470 pounds. Despite my athletic appearance, there is no way I could move a 470 pound drum. A 15 gallon drum weighs about 130 pounds, which is still heavy, but at least I have a hope of moving it.

Portability. In an emergency, I don’t think I’ll be able to get a 55 gallon drum into the back of my car. I could probably get both 15 gallon drums in it though if I really felt I needed to. It is also a lot easier to pull a 15 gallon drum out of the basement to refresh the water than it is a 55 gallon drum.

Storage. I live in an apartment. I really don’t have a convenient place to store a giant 55 gallon drum.

Redundancy. If one barrel gets contaminated somehow, I at least still have 15 gallons of clean water in the other.

To keep our water fresh, we’ve put 1 tablespoon of bleach in each 15 gallon drum. It is recommended to change the water after the first 6 months, and then every 12 months after that.

We bought a couple cinder blocks from Lowe’s (these things are cheap, maybe $1 - $2 max) and put a board on them so our drums won’t be resting on the floor of our basement. When we need the water, we’ll go down with a smaller bucket and siphon some out.