Storing Water – Try to Use Good Water Containers

Safe bottled water
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Many people in KwaZulu-Natal have huge challenges with water. Some haven’t had a consistent water supply since the Floods in 2022 – others have intermittent issues, as infrastructure collapses due to lack of maintenance.

This means that storing water has become and issue. People either have to buy water from the shops or from a private person or wait for the municipal water tankers to come to their area.

What Water Container is the Best for Storage?

  • How long does bottled water last?
  • Can you drink water that has been in a jerry can or a drum for two weeks?
  • What water container is the best for storage?

We know that water is essential to life so it is important to understand how to store it so that it remains fresh for as long as possible.

What is a Water Container?

A water bottle is a container that is used to hold water, liquids or other beverages for consumption. The use of a water bottle allows an individual to drink and transport a beverage from one place to another. A water bottle is usually made of plastic, glass, or metal. Some are all the colours of the rainbow and some water containers are clear.

Water containers can be many things – from a lightweight brightly coloured water bottle to a 25 l Jerry can to a drum-like 220 litre container.

Best Way to Store Water

In the USA, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends storing tap water in clean plastic, glass, or enamelled metal containers. They say that once you have filled the container, it should be tightly sealed and stored in a dark, cool location. The water should be rotated out about every six months. It won’t necessarily go “bad,” but you may get some algae on the container and there is a slight risk of bacterial growth after several months of storage.

If the water starts to turn green, use it to water your plants; then clean the container, and refill it with fresh tap water. Similarly, discard the tap water if it develops any other discoloration or has an “off” odour.

Water Containers

Bottled water has a long shelf life. It lasts essentially forever, as long as the seal hasn’t been broken, though it might not taste great a year or two or more post-bottling.

Although water, itself, does not go bad, the plastic bottle it is contained in does “expire,” and will eventually start leaching chemicals into the water. This won’t necessarily render the water toxic, but it might make it taste stale and flat.

Why does Old Water Taste Stale?

After about 12 hours tap water starts to go flat as carbon dioxide in the air starts to mix with the water in the glass, lowering its pH and giving it an off, stale taste. But it’s most-likely safe to drink, even if it doesn’t taste that good.

Points to Remember when Using Water Containers

  • Water does not contaminate on its own. It needs an external resource to spoil bottled water.
  • If you have filled water in a bottle, then its shelf life depends on upon the quality and purity of water. Also, if the water container is kept in direct sunlight and unfavourable conditions, it’s contnets might get unpalatable.
  • In normal conditions, pure water filled in a bottle lasts for 4-8 hours. If it is refrigerated, it can last up to 4-5 days.
  • Bottled water won’t get spoiled if it is left in cold and dark place. If you are keeping the water container in harsh sunlight, make sure you consume the water before 4-5 hours.

Scientists say that pure water never expires. This is true unless it is packed and bottled. Once it is bottled in plastic or any other container, there are chances for it to get contaminated.

Chemical leaching may happen in harsh sunlight. Also, water takes the taste of its container after a period. A good way to increase the shelf life of bottled water is by refrigerating it after use.

Scientifically, cold temperatures are not that favourable for bacteria to grow in water. Also, in lower temperatures, plastic bottles don’t leach.

Is it Safe to Freeze Bottled Water?

Refrigerating bottled water is a great idea to improve its shelf life but freezing it is not.

Freezing bottled water would lead to leaching of chemicals from the plastic bottle when brought to normal temperature. Avoid freezing your bottled water. Instead, add ice inside the bottle and make it chilled instantly.

So if you are planning a camping or trekking trip or just want to stock up at home, make sure you have enough bottled water, safely stored. And use a good quality water container.

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