Water storage containers vary in their size, color, shape, versatility, type of material and quality. The most commonly found barrels sizes are 15, 30 and 55 gallon in capacity. Water containers that are smaller than 15 gallons are usually considered jugs not barrels. There are three criteria to consider when purchasing water storage containers.
It is recommended by preparedness experts to have at least 14 gallons of water stored per person. This provides one gallon of water a day for two weeks. This would give a person 64 ounces of drinking water and 64 ounces for cooking and light sanitation. A 15 gallon water barrel provides one person with this minimum amount. A 30 gallon water barrel provides this basic amount for two and a 55 gallon water barrel for four.
Most people would think that blue would indicate water and it generally does. You may want to make your barrel indicating "Water" so in case of a fire or similar natural disaster, emergency personnel know that water is being stored in it and not a flammable material. Gasoline and other fuel should only be stored in red containers. The blue barrel’s dark color also restricts light and helps prevent algae growth. If your water container is light in color, be sure to store it in a dark location, away from light.
Water barrels should be high in quality, offering ultimate reliability and integrity. Manufactured with prime resin and FDA approved high molecular weight high density polyethylene (HMWHDP) is strongly recommended. These barrels are BPA free and UV coated to prevent light penetration. They are also thicker than other barrels on the market. A thicker barrel reduces the possibility of warping, cracking and deterioration over time.
As a reminder, it is recommended not to store your filled water barrel directly on cement. It is wise to use an insulating barrier, such as wood, between the barrel and cement. A barrier that allows breathing is ideal to prevent mold, mildew and bacteria growth.
It is recommended to rotate your water annually (using a drinking water safe hose) unless a water additive is used. Purchasing a quality water barrel is a wise investment. When choosing water storage containers, remember that not all barrels are built the same.