Man filling water tank
Photo: G. Roekeberg/DSB

How to store drinking water

We recommend storing approx. 20 litres of water per person. That is enough for one week. If you follow the advice in this article, the water can be stored for years and still be safe to drink.

Clean bottles or kegs

To ensure the water can be stored as long as possible, you should clean your bottles or kegs with dish soap and water before rinsing thoroughly. Then add two caps of household bleach per 10 litres of water. Let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. 

Use cold water

After cleaning, fill the bottles or kegs completely full with water from the tap. Let the water run first, until it is cold, to make sure you store “fresh” water. Hot water is not recommended for drinking, as hot water releases metals from the pipes. 

Store the water in a cool and dark place

Water should preferably be stored in a cool and dark place with no direct sunlight. Sunlight and high temperatures can slowly break down plastic containers, making the water smell and taste bad. Improper storage conditions could also lead to algae growth. 

Water containers must not be stored in rooms where petrol, pesticides or other, similar substances are also stored. The reason for this is that vapour from such container may penetrate plastic. 

Frost will cause the water to freeze. This could destroy a full bottle, even if the water quality is not necessarily affected. 

Can be stored for years

If the water is stored in clean containers and the water quality is good – which is true for most Norwegian drinking water – the water can be stored for years.Over time, compounds from the plastic container may leak into the water. This will affect the taste, but it will not be dangerous to drink the water. 

See also this interview with Line Angeloff from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, where she explains how to proceed to store drinking water that will keep for years

To ensure good taste, you should replace the water once a year. You could also consider storing water in glass containers. Compared to plastic containers, glass is more dense and it is less likely that smells will penetrate the container. However, a funny taste or smell will not affect your health. 

Go to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health website to read more about drinking water.

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