Safe Drinking Water in an Emergency

  1. Being Prepared
  2. After the Emergency

Water Coming Out Of a FaucetHow Much Water You Should Store for Emergency Use

  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking
  • One half gallon per person per day food preparation and basic hygiene
  • A 3-day supply of water minimum; two week supply recommended

Additional Considerations

  • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate
  • Children, nursing mothers and ill people need more water
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed
  • A medical emergency might require additional water

How Water Should Be Stored

Commercially Bottled Water

  • Safest and most reliable water supply for emergencies
  • Keep it in its original container
  • Do not open it until you need to use it
  • Observe the expiration date or use by date
  • Store in a cool, dry location

Personally Prepared Containers

Food-Grade Water Storage Containers

  • Clean containers with soap and water and rinse
  • Fill container to the top with tap water
  • Tightly close the container using the original cap
  • Write the date on the outside of the container
  • Store in a cool, dark place
  • Replace the water every six months if not using bottled water

2-Liter Plastic Soft Drink Bottles

  • Thoroughly clean with soap and water and rinse well
  • Sanitize by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon non-scented household chlorine bleach to a quart of water
  • Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle covering all surfaces and then thoroughly rinse with water

More on Water Storage

Do not use plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have held milk or fruit juice. Protein and sugars cannot adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacteria when water is stored in them. Do not use glass containers. They are too heavy and can break.