Almost half of Americans don’t have supplies prepared for an emergency. Think you don’t need them? Think again.

80% of Americans live in areas where a disaster occurred in the last twelve years. Those are good odds that you’ll need emergency supplies one day. And what’s more essential than water?
During a disaster, odds are you won’t have access to clean water. That’s why it’s important you have emergency water storage in your home. Otherwise, you could go thirsty while waiting for help to arrive.

Thankfully, there are plenty of emergency water storage options. This guide will introduce you to the topic of water storage preparation, as well as how and where to store your water.

1. How Much Water Should I Store?

Your water needs depend on two factors. The first is the size of your family. In general, you should prepare one gallon of water per day for each family member.

By this rule, a family of four will need four gallons of water every day. And you might want to add a bit extra in case of pets or medical necessity. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll also have significantly higher water needs.

Four gallons of water isn’t a lot to store.

But that’s just for one day. How many days of water should you prepare? That decision is ultimately up to you.

Government emergency services suggest prepping at least three days of your family’s water needs. That’s twelve gallons for our family of four.

However, three days isn’t an ample supply even for normal emergencies. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, tornados, or other natural disasters, you might want to gather two weeks of water.

That’s a lot of water, but several storage solutions do exist. If you’re interested in storing a large sum of water, start slow. Over time, you can build your supply until it’s at a level you’re comfortable with.

2. How Long Can You Store Water?

Water doesn’t expire like food and beverages. But that doesn’t mean it can’t go bad. Storing water, when done well, can still lead to a contaminated water supply.

And just because it looks safe to drink doesn’t mean it is. Parasites and other contaminants, naked to the human eye, can dwell within your stored water. Drinking infected water can lead to life-threatening illnesses.

For this reason, you should pretend your water has a shelf-life of one year. Once a year has passed, replace the water in your chosen storage vessels. Some people report that they’ve kept drinkable water for years.

And while it’s likely, it’s also dangerous. In case an emergency occurs, you need the peace of mind that your water is clean and pristine. If you store water the correct way, you’ll ensure that your supply will remain in good condition until it’s time to replace.

3. How to Store Water Safely

So how do you store water for long periods of time, anyway? First, you should always store water in food-grade containers. Otherwise, it is likely to be contaminated in short order.

And don’t reuse food-grade containers that have already held food items. No amount of cleaning can ensure you’ve removed all the sugars and chemicals that can later ruin your water.

Once you’ve chosen your water storage containers, add your water. Tap water is fine if that’s your choice. If you’re not using tap water, mix in chlorine before you seal your container. This will reduce the chance of contamination.

4. Types of Emergency Water Storage

There are many water storage containers on the market. Which is right for you? For a basic, short-term supply, bottled water does the job well.

But what about safer, larger water solutions? Camping water containers are a decent choice. These hold several gallons at a time and are usually shaped like gas cans.

However, they still require a decent amount of work on your end. You’ll want to stack these cans as best you can to maximize space in your home.

Have you ever heard about storing water in bathtubs? It’s great in a pinch, but your tub isn’t the cleanest. If you want to use this as an emergency option, purchase a bathtub water container to keep the water clean.

These are basically storage bags that you place in your tub before filling.

As a final suggestion, you can find water barrels that hold dozens of gallons at once. While it can make storage easy, siphoning the water from these can be a bit of a hassle.

Check out this article for more information about water storage considerations and solutions.

5. Emergency Water Treatment

It’s good to have a fallback measure in case something goes awry with your water storage. Maybe your water became contaminated or was lost during the natural disaster. You still have options until the water comes back online.

Boiling water is the most foolproof method for water treatment. However, it does require power, which you aren’t likely to have.

The most convenient option is a chlorine water treatment tablet. These can take several hours to effectively kill all the contaminants and parasites.

However, it’s easy to keep these on-hand and it’s as simple as popping them in and letting them work their magic.

Don’t Leave Anything Up to Chance

The odds are good that one day you’ll encounter a disaster in your area. And when that happens, you’ll be fully prepared to weather the storm. Emergency water storage provides peace of mind at a low cost – and it doesn’t take much work, either.

Remember to calculate how much water you and your family need. Then, it’s as easy as choosing a water storage container, treating the water if necessary, and tucking it away.

Take a look at our blog for more helpful tips about your home and health.