There is nothing like the threat of a natural disaster to drive home what staples are really important to our lives. It only takes a quick trip up and down the aisles of your favorite grocery store to realize that when bad weather threatens certain necessities become almost impossible to find.

This past Friday and during the day on Saturday grocery stores in the Lafayette area experienced a shopping surge. The majority of those who were shopping all had at least one common item in their carts. That item was water.

The reason there is such a rush on water is because of the threat of power outages. If the power goes out at a municipal water station, that water system may take days to bring back online with water that is verified safe for drinking. Hence, the need to add a three-day supply of water per person to your hurricane preparations.

So, while many of us who live in South Louisiana picked up on extra cases of water because of the change in Hurricane Ida's track most of that water did not have to be used. That begs the answer to this question.

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How Long Can I Safely Store Bottled Water?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, they regulate the bottled water industry too, they do not require a shelf life for bottled water. That means, if stored properly, you should be able to hold on to your bottled water for an indefinite amount of time without any fear of it "going bad".

However, just to be on the safe side there are recommendations that bottled water not be stored for more than two years. The recommendation for storing sparkling or carbonated water is only one year.

What Does Proper Storage Mean?

For a lot of us, space is the reason that we don't keep ample supplies of bottled water around our homes. For those of us that do, the water is often relegated to a garage, carport, utility room, or outside storage shed. While those structures do keep the water safe from the elements, it's the temperature that could be the greatest concern when it comes to protecting the safety of your water.

Bottles of water should not be stored in areas where the temperature exceeds 70 degrees. Oops, that means just about any place in South Louisiana that isn't air-conditioned is not the best choice. Nor should bottled water be stored in a place where it is subject to direct sunlight.

It is also recommended that you don't store your bottles of potable water in the same areas that you store gasoline and other household chemicals, such as pesticides, and paints.

What About the 5-Gallon Jugs?

The same basic storage principles apply to the large jugs as apply to the smaller bottles of water. If stored properly you should be able to use the water indefinitely but more than two years is not recommended. The reason for that two-year limit is that many consumers report that water "takes on a plastic taste" when stored for too long. Although, that water is still given the all-clear as safe to drink.

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Aren't We Supposed to Fill Up Our Bathtubs in a Hurricane?

Yeah, that is suggested but not particularly for potable water. The water in the bathtub is more for toilet flushing than drinking. Your toilet works on gravity so if you have water in the upper tank it will flush out the lower bowl.

Although, I guess if you really cleaned out your tub and had some water purification tablets or tools you could probably survive just fine on bathwater. Of course, no one should be bathing in that water.

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