Today I plan to cover general water storage. Now, if you’re like most people, the easiest way to do this is to go to Costco or Walmart, grab some gallon jugs or flats of 16oz bottles, and put them in a cool place in your house. I would advocate a mix of these two. The larger jugs can be used for general purpose drinking water while at home; the smaller bottles are portable. One must also consider cost when prepping. Large gallon jugs run from 70-90 cents, while flats of 30 or more bottles may be anywhere from $4 to $7. Keep plenty of both stocked up, but make sure to rotate them, so that you use the older water first; that way you always have the freshest supply. Another alternative is small emergency drinking water packets; these are generally good for several years, contain 4oz or so of water, and are small/portable. I’ve found them for 35 cents. Not necessarily cost effective, but easy to transport if that’s what you’re going for.
For more large scale storage, you may want to consider buying large 5-6 gallon jugs, or 55 gallon blue plastic drums. I would steer away from the older metal jerry cans, they tend to be rather bulky, and rust will be an issue after a while. The modern plastic ones, which run around $40, are much better. Depending on what you’re using the water for (washing or drinking), you may want to get a container with more spouts than just one for pouring. For the 55 gallon drums, you will need a pump system to get the water out. These drums are useful if you have a system in place to catch rainwater. The Instructables website has a great system you can make for this. You can store the water up in these drums, (adding purification agents), pump it out and filter it, and use it for drinking or washing. Ready Care Co has a complete storage system built around these drums for sale, as well as a preserver solution. The chief drawback to using these drums is that they take up a lot of space, so depending on your house, you may have to make do with smaller jugs.
Suppose you are in a situation in which tap water is still available, but it is guessed or known to be contaminated. Should you still make use of it? My answer would be yes, but filter it! There are many types of filters which attach directly to your faucet. You may already have some of these in use in your home; if so, make sure you have a good supply of filters on hand, as you may want to change them more frequently in a disaster situation. Conserve your stored water, and use only when other supplies run out.