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When should we think about filling all those empty jugs I've been saving? I was going to wait until December... Any thoughts?

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), March 31, 1999


I feel the risk for Y2K comes at the end of 1999. There is also a war risk, though, if the water supply is contaminated. That is harder to predict, but going to war with what was once the USSR really concerns me.

On a related note, is bleach really required!? How long can tap- water be stored without the bleach. The idea of putting bleach in my water bothers me.

-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@Anonymous99.xxx), March 31, 1999.

Good question. This scenario haunts me at night... an earthquake that takes out our water treatment system, & me sitting there with lots of food but 200 empty storage bottles... Gotta start filling at least some of them, right now (maybe save the bleach till later). You can always empty, then re-fill them in December, right?

-- I (need@a.drink), March 31, 1999.

Start filling now! You never know what will happen --- it takes a long time to get enough water if you use smaller containers. The Chlorine will hurt you a lot less than the bugs, but store some without chlorine - you can drink it if you want or use it for all those other things if you decide it won't be safe (or boil it before drinking).

Waiting 'till December would be a big mistake, IMHO: it won't be any easier then to do it (there will be many other "last min." items to take care of) and you CAN NOT store enough water - the amount used is amazing.

-- Jon Johnson (narnia4@usa.net), March 31, 1999.

Start Storeing NOW!

I have a fair stock of water but I decided to increase my capacity by 6-900 gal. I found out that even the BAG (200 gal like a water bed) is back ordered by four weeks..... Some items are starting to get hard to get.

If your going to prepare, NOW is the time to do it Don't wait until the lines form, or the water system is down.....OR..Or.or....

-- helium (heliumavid@yahoo.com), March 31, 1999.

Copy and paste from Countryside Magazine.....

How to purify water in an emergency

Water is the most crucial element for staying alive. It's more important than food.

Everyone must have enough safe drinking water, which generally means one gallon per person per day. Needs will differ according to age, physical condition, lifestyle and climate.

This doesn't include water for cooking, bathing, washing dishes and clothes, and pets or other animals. Large dogs may need as much as a gallon a day, while cats can do well with just a pint a day. If you have other livestock your water needs obviously soar. But in that case, water taken directly from a river or stream, without purification, will probably be okay.

Untreated water straight from the tap should keep for six months when stored in clean, durable containers. However, it must be changed periodically.

Bacteria-free water, which means treatment with bleach or other compounds, will keep up to several years. Heat, light, deterioration of the container and other factors can cut this figure substantially.

Water should be stored as far as possible from paint and petroleum-based products, acids or anything with strong odors such as fertilizer or common household cleaning solutions. Lower-grade containers are permeable to certain gases and should be avoided whenever possible. You'll need to locate at least one other water source, since even several hundred gallons of stored water won't last long. Assume any water not stored or purchased is contaminated, especially in perilous or unstable times. A mountain stream could look pristine, but still be polluted.

If you can find only marginal water, first strain the debris through a paper towel, clean cloth or coffee filter, then use one of the following methods.


Short of using a very high-quality water filter, this is the most reliable method for killing microbes and parasites. Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it simmering for at least several minutes. Add one minute of boiling to the initial 10 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Cover the pot to shorten boiling time and conserve fuel.

Liquid chlorine bleach

Use 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite that is free of soap or phosphates. To treat one gallon of water, add eight drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach to clear water and 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) to cloudy water. When purifying five gallons, add 32 drops (1/2 teaspoon) to clear water or 64 drops (one teaspoon) to cloudy water. By purifying a larger quantity of water, you will cut bleach usage 20 percent over the one gallon at a time method. After treating with chlorine, mix well and allow the water to stand for 30 minutes before using. An eye dropper can be used to measure the dosage.

Bleach that is more than a year old loses approximately half its potency. Adjust the dosage accordingly.

Dry chlorine

Also known as calcium hypochlorite, it is used primarily in swimming pools. Since it is a powder, it has the significant benefit of extended shelf life. Dry chlorine may be stored for up to 10 years with minimal degradation if it is kept dry, cool and in an airtight container.

This is a far better choice for quantity storage than liquid bleach. Dry chlorine is commonly available at swimming pool supply stores as well as many hardware and grocery stores.

For chlorinating water in rain tanks, the recommended dosage is seven grams dry (1/4 ounce by weight) or 40 milliliters (1.35 ounce) per 1000 liters (264 gallons). Let the water stand for 24 hours before drinking. To maintain chlorination, add one gram (.035 ounce) of dry chlorine or 4 ml (.135 ounce) weekly per 1,000 liters.


If no instructions are provided on the bottle, use 12 drops per gallon of water. Increase the dosage if the water is of dubious quality. Mix well and allow the water to stand for 30 minutes before using. Iodine does have an unpleasant aftertaste.

Hydrogen peroxide

This is a suitable disinfectant, as it oxidizes the water. Peroxide degrades even more rapidly than chlorine, and it needs to be kept in a dark bottle that blocks out sunlight. Potency could be an issue if it has been stored for a long period.

Peroxide would potentially have the benefit of breaking down to oxygen and water, but its use is also made more difficult by that tendency.

A common calculation for daily usage is the required dosage in parts per million times the volume treated in gallons divided by 120,000, which is a constant number. This will give you the number of pounds needed for a particular dosage.

Purification tablets

They are either iodine or chlorine based. One or two tablets will purify a quart of water depending on the contamination level and length of time allowed for treated water to stand. Follow instructions on the package. These tablets are among the more convenient and affordable ways to purify water. Not every brand of purification products (especially iodine tablets) will kill giardia.

Stabilized oxygen

People who have used this method generally prefer it to chlorine or iodine. Both treatments have shown some side effects if used for an extended period of time, and iodine and chlorine give water an off taste. Stabilized oxygen doesn't have side effects or add unpleasant flavors to water, and it also offers health benefits. For long-term storage, treat one gallon of chlorinated water by adding 10 drops of stabilized oxygen. Add 20 drops if the water hasn't been chlorinated. Use five to 20 drops per eight-ounce cup of giardia-contaminated water. Stabilized oxygen is the new kid on the block in water purification, so it isn't as widely known as other methods. Among the chlorine dioxide (a form of stabilized oxygen) products on the market are Aerox, Genesis 1000, Dynamo 2, Aerobic 07 and Aquagen.

-- sandi (sandihere@hotmail.com), March 31, 1999.

To Anonymous99:

You don't have to do anything to tap or "city" water - it's already been treated and chlorinated. Placed in a sealed, preferably opaque container and stored in a *cool, dark place*, any residual microbial activity in the water will decrease rapidly.

-- sparks (wireless@home.here), March 31, 1999.


I don't doubt what you're saying, but have you ever had a drink from a glass of water that had been poured the day before? I've done this a couple of times by mistake (forgot to carry the glass to the kitchen). Blechh! Why does it taste that way then?

I've heard that if you boil your water, it's best to pour it back and forth between containers before you drink it, so it won't taste so "flat." Same principle?

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 31, 1999.

I am still confused after reading all about water here . . . If I store water NOW for Y2K -- out of the tap, will is still be good on January 1? Or do I need to do something to it then before drinking it? Thanx


-- WoodstoK`2K (Stockin'Up@Once.now), April 01, 1999.

If you begin storing water now, even if it isn't perfectly potable next January (or later) it can be used for washing. The water you put in storage in November and December will be available for drinking and cooking. Whatever you do, you can't have too much.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), April 01, 1999.

Tom's right.

One of the most overlooked factors is that we need water for a variety of purposes: to wash, to water plants, to drink and cook with, etc.

Water can be stored differently for different purposes.

Water can be obtained from different sources for different purposes.

For example, a child's pool can be placed in your yard, filled and covered. This could be used for non-drinking purposes.

A rain catchment system might be employed to replace your drinking water supply.


Store water now, and rotate it often. Who knows when the next hurricane, breakdown, blizzard or technological breakdown is coming?

That's what I've gleaned from y2k... you never know AND you should always be prepared.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), April 01, 1999.

Let's keep our minds focused on water, folks. Have people started filling their containers yet?

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), June 08, 1999.

We have about 100 2 liter bottles already filled. We also got a 12' pool (rigid sided) and set it up in our basement. It has a pump/filter/cover. We plan on filling it in late fall. It has a 2500 gallon capacity. Had to re-arrange the basement to accommodate this new 'amenity', but it's great peace of mind. If the 'magic wand' gets waved, and water is no problem, we'll haul it outside and use it for it's intended purpose.

Oh, and this is in addition to many 55 gallon water barrels and a pretty good rainwater collection system.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink....

-- esther (swmnpool@moviestar.com), June 08, 1999.

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