How Much Water You Should Store

Home water storage is an extremely important measure in preparing for environmental disasters, such as floods, hurricanes and earth quakes. In an emergency, one of the first things to clear the shelves in grocery stores is the supply of bottled water. Nothing is more important than having a sufficient supply of clean water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly recommends stocking a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day for food preparation and drinking. This does not take into account the amount needed for basic hygiene, washing dishes, and for your pets. An additional 1 gallon per day is recommended. It is best to stock a minimum supply of 2 weeks worth of water for each family member. The more you can store, the better.


Recommended Container Types

Food-grade plastic, metal, or glass containers are all suitable. I would personally recommend food-grade plastic. When water becomes a precious commodity, you don't want to risk glass storage bottles breaking. Stainless steel containers are fine as long as you aren't treating the water with chlorine, which is corrosive to most metals.


It is best to keep a small variety of sizes. One quart bottles are great for drinking from, 5 gallon sizes are good for transporting water, should you need to move locations, and 55 gallon drums are of tremendous value in emergency situations, and perfect for storing larger amounts of water. It is a good idea to keep at least a couple of 55 gallon drums filled as your main supply.


I like the Shelf Reliance Deluxe BPA Free 55-gallon Barrel System. The barrel is made from high-density polyethylene (food grade/ BPA Free). The barrel comes in blue color to restrict light, which helps to control the growth of bacteria. The high-quality water pump is ideal for accessing and transferring water. The 60 PSI pump also comes with a special adapter and is adjustable for use on all water containers between 5 gallons, up to 55 gallons. The pump can also be used to draw water from other natural water sources like lakes, rivers and streams. Included are two advanced filters which attach to the Water Pump and each yield up to 100 gallons of fresh, clean, drinkable water, enough to fill up the barrel nearly 4 times. The nice thing about this filtering system is that it removes up to 99.99% of bacteria and other contaminants that can build up over time in stored water. Using these filters allows you to store water for an extended period without having to use chemicals to treat the water before drinking.

Tips for storing water

1. Keep drinking water in carefully cleaned, preferably food-grade plastic containers. Clean bottles with warm soapy water and rinse well. Next, sanitize the inside of each bottle with a mixture of 1 quart water and 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach, and be sure to rinse thoroughly with clean water again.

2. Rotate your supplies every 6 months. Prepackaged bottles of water can be kept longer; up to a year.

3. Keep your water containers in a cool dark place. Make sure they are kept away from direct sunlight.

4. If you have a freezer with available space, another option is to freeze plastic jugs of water. Freezing will keep the water clean and will also keep your freezer cooler longer if you should experience a power outage.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about storage systems, an excellent resource that I would highly recommend is Art Ludwig's book, Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use--Includes How to Make Ferrocement Water Tanks. Everything you need to know, all in one place.

Shelf Reliance® Deluxe BPA Free 55-gallon Barrel Water Storage System
Credit: Amazon