Water Storage Tips


The human body can survive for weeks without food, but it cannot survive very long without water. The recommended amount of water you should have stored in order to survive a 2 week period if your water supply was cut off is 14 gallons per person.

  • 1 person family: 14 gallons
  • 2 person family: 28 gallons
  • 4 person family: 56 gallons
  • 5 person family: 70 gallons
  • 6 person family (ME!): 86 gallons
  • 10 person family: 140 gallons

This would only provide for your basic survival needs. It is only 1 gallon per person per day. When you think of all the ways in which you use water each day: washing your hands, flushing the toilet, brushing your teeth, cooking, doing dishes, laundry, showers etc, you realize that 1 gallon a day isn’t much at all. If you can, you should store more and/or purchase a water purification system.

Here are a few tips:

  • If storing water outside, make sure to store it in opaque containers (such as the blue 55 gallon drums) so no light can get in.
  • Store water in containers in a variety of sizes. For example, large drums work well unless you have to leave your home. 16.9 oz water bottles work well unless you need a sink full of water to bathe or wash dishes in.
  • If you do store water in large drums, make sure you store a siphon so you can effectively get the water out.
  • If storing water inside, you can use soda, gatorade, or juice bottles etc as long as they aren’t exposed to light.  Do not use milk bottles or refrigerated juice bottles.
  • Make sure all used containers are very well cleaned before storing drinking water in them.
  • Do not store water containers directly on cement.
  • As an extra precaution you can add 1/8 tsp bleach to every gallon of water you store.
  • If you are concerned about the taste of bleach treated water (especially if you have kids), store powdered drink mixes to help mask that taste.
  • If you do not want to treat your water with bleach (I do not), be sure you rotate it every six months, and store a filter.
  • Clearly label all containers “drinking water.”
  • Even if treated with bleach, try to rotate your stored drinking water every 6-18 months.
  • Store a water filter so that if your stored water is contaminated for any reason (or you haven’t been able to rotate it), you will still be able to use it.
  • When storing water for cleaning purposes, it can be stored in old cleaning/laundry/soap bottles (don’t rinse them out) and will be ready to use. Just make sure you mark it as cleaning water so that no one drinks it.
  • Keep all water away from stored gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances.
  • It can be a good idea to store a few containers of water in the freezer to help keep food frozen should the power go out for a period of time.

Some tips for using your water during an emergency:

  • If supplies run low, DO NOT ration your water. Drink what you need today (2 quarts for most people, more if extremely hot, pregnant or nursing) and try to find more tomorrow.
  • Minimize the amount of water you need by reducing activity and staying cool.
  • If you have not stored enough water, you can usually find 30-60 gallons of water in your water heater (as long as public water is still considered safe). Make sure to treat it with bleach (1/8 tsp per gallon) first!
  • You can also use the water in the reservoir tank of your toilets (not the bowl) if treated with bleach first.
  • Canned fruits and vegetable also contain water that you can use to hydrate yourself.

As a supplement to stored water, you can also store water purifiers. These can be taken with you if you need to leave home and can also be used to treat pool water or other public water sources that may have been contaminated.

For more information on water storage and treatment, visit FEMA

 

Signature
Follow Me on Pinterest StumbleUpon Facebook Twitter

It’s Your Turn:

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and encourage you to share your experience and insights in the comments box below.

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

4 × four =

Other’s Insights:

  1. Mariko says:

    I’m a bit confused. You talk a lot about rotating water. Are you talking about unopened sealed bottles from the store?

    • Misty says:

      You should store water in containers in a variety of sizes Mariko. For example, large drums work well unless you have to leave your home. 16.9 oz water bottles work well unless you need a sink full of water to bathe or wash dishes in. And you should rotate them all. THey will all have a shelf life. (-:

  2. Jeff says:

    I have the same question/concern as Estée W. I have a ton of empty, clear, gallon water containers that originally had store bought distilled water in them. I had intentions of re-using them to store tap water. Is it because they are clear and can let in light or because of the plastic or both? What bottles or containers in the gallon size are ideal? Thanks.

    • Misty says:

      Sorry Jeff, I didn’t realize I’d never responded to Estee. The plastic that milk jugs are made of (as well as most gallon water containers you get at the store and sometimes refrigerated OJ comes in the same type of jug…you can’t see through it) disintegrates very quickly and can leak and make your water unsafe to drink. This is especially true if not stored in a cool dark place. In addition, b/c they are slightly textured it is really difficult to ever get all the sugars out of them if they had milk / OJ in them. This can promote growth of lost of things you don’t want in your water. They simply don’t work well for long term storage.

      But most non-refrigerated juice bottles (like those apple juice come in) are fine to use. They are thick and smooth you can clearly see right through them. They typically come in 64 oz sizes, though you can get the same plastic in gallon sizes. You should still keep them in a cool dark place.

  3. Estee W says:

    Can you please explain why we should not use old milk jugs or refrigerated juice bottles to store water? Also, when you are storing water in soda bottles etc, are you storing at room tempature? Just closing the lid by hand or are you sealing it with wax or something first? Thank you! Love all the great info!

    • Misty says:

      Sorry Estee, I somehow totally missed your comment and I apologize for not responding!

      The plastic that milk jugs are made of (as well as most gallon water containers you get at the store and sometimes refrigerated OJ comes in the same type of jug…you can’t see through it) disintegrates very quickly and can leak and make your water unsafe to drink. This is especially true if not stored in a cool dark place. In addition, b/c they are slightly textured it is really difficult to ever get all the sugars out of them if they had milk / OJ in them. This can promote growth of lost of things you don’t want in your water. They simply don’t work well for long term storage.

      But most non-refrigerated juice bottles (like those apple juice come in) are fine to use. They are thick and smooth you can clearly see right through them. They typically come in 64 oz sizes, though you can get the same plastic in gallon sizes. You should still keep them in a cool dark place.

      I don’t seal my bottles at all, but I also rotate through them rather quickly. (-: