We all need to have clean water in our homes to drink and cook with. Consuming dirty water can lead to many diseases such as vomiting, diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and many others, some of which can be fatal. To avoid this, it is important to keep your water safely away from all forms of disease-causing contaminants. Below is a guide on how to keep your water safe to drink:
Where do you get your drinking water from?
The source of your drinking water matters a lot. If you get your drinking water from a well or borehole, you need to have it tested by experts to find out what kind of contaminants are in the water, both the good and harmful ones and their concentration levels. Knowing this information will let you know if the water is safe to drink or what needs to be done to make it safe to drink.
Decide how much drinking water you need to store
On average, a person needs 1/2 gallon (2 litres) of water every day for drinking (even though most people don’t drink half that much). You need a constant supply of safe drinking water, so you need to do some quick math and find out how much water you need for your family. This will guide you as you decide on the size of your drinking water storage container.
Select a suitable food grade container
When choosing a container to store your drinking water, only go for food grade containers that have the appropriate markings and labels from regulatory authorities confirming that they are safe to use. Avoid containers made from hazardous plastics such as PVC or polystyrene. Avoid all other containers that previously held anything other than water. You might think milk and fruit juice containers are safe, but they leave a residue in containers that encourage bacteria growth.
Clean your containers thoroughly
Even when brand new, your containers may still have some dirt and if you are like me, you need to be 100% sure they are clean. Wash and rewash them with soap and hot water then rinse till you are satisfied the container is clean and ready to hold your water.
Disinfect water from any unsafe sources
If you get your water from a well or borehole, there is a good chance that it has contaminants. Before drinking such water, it is important to disinfect it which can be quickly done by bringing it to a rolling boil for about a minute. If you can’t boil it, using bleach is the next best option. Use the bleach according to the recommended amounts to ensure all harmful contaminants are expelled.
Tap water can also be unsafe to drink, yet so many people drink it without worries. Even if your tap water is safe to drink, it is always prudent to filter your water at home to provide another line of defence against any contaminants that may have passed through the local utility. You can buy a filter or use the previously mentioned disinfecting methods on your tap water.
Storing your water
Transfer your clean drinking water to your clean container and make sure you don’t touch the inside of the bottle cap to avoid contamination. Seal your container tightly such that nothing, including air, can come in. For more peace of mind, you may label the bottle ‘drinking water’ along with the date you bottled it
Store at a cool, dark place
Heat and light can damage containers, particularly plastic ones. Sunlight also causes mould or algae to grow in clear containers. Make sure there are no chemical products near the drinking water container such as pesticides or gasoline, whose vapours may pass through the container and contaminate the water.
Open one container at a time
If you have more than one container where you have stored drinking water, use one at a time to avoid contaminating the others.
Check on your water supply after a few months
If you bottle water and store it, it is recommended to replace it after every 6 months even if the bottle was never opened. Replace plastic containers if they become cloudy, scratched, scuffed or discoloured.
In order to keep enjoying clean, disease-free drinking water, you must make the necessary steps to store your water safely, most of which I have covered in the article. If you liked the article, share it with your friends and family.