No Water, No Problem: How to Store Emergency Water at Home

Your house may be spared structural damage, but the grid is down and your water is out. According to reports, it will take at least a week to restore your water service. How prepared are you for this kind of emergency? Would you have enough water to last you until the water is back on?

Having clean water at our disposal is somehow expected to always be available. Our water is collected, treated, and supplied to our homes, and the only effort that’s left to do is to turn on the tap. It’s easy to take a clean water supply for granted. However, natural disasters, power outages, broken water pipes, and other scenarios that can disrupt or compromise our water supply should be a reminder to always be prepared in case of emergency. In most cases, that involves having enough water for an extended period.

The Importance of Having Stored Water at Home

You can survive for weeks without food, but you can only last three days without water. This proves that having proper water storage for emergencies can make the difference between life and death. Experts suggest having at least a three-day emergency water supply, specifically at least two gallons of water a day for each person: a gallon for drinking and another for basic hygiene. It’s also recommended that you set aside a gallon of water per day for your pets. You can pretty much use anything to store water. But if it’s meant for drinking, it’s essential to use water storage containers that are made with food-grade materials.

Besides hydration, another reason to store water for emergencies is to ensure the sanitation of your home—from doing the laundry to washing the dishes, watering the plants, and cleaning your house. Think of all your appliances that use water to operate. Your washing machine, for example, can benefit from your stored water by filling it up faster in cases of low water pressure.

5 Best Drinking Water Storage Containers to Buy

The easiest and probably the most convenient way to store safe drinking water is to buy bottles of water from the store. These are already properly sealed and portioned for easy consumption. However, the problem is that it may not be the most economical option. Plus, they come in thin clear plastic containers, which means you have to keep them away from light for long-term storage. If you’re using tap water, below are some food-grade containers to consider to secure your emergency water.

1. 5 Gallon Plastic Hedpack with Cap

A gallon for drinking is already a generous amount of water to store for each person a day as studies suggest the average human drinks about just half a day. It means this plastic container is enough to provide a week’s worth of drinking water for one person, with one and a half gallons to spare.

2. WaterBrick Emergency Water and Food Storage Containers

This 3.5-gallon water storage doubles as a food storage container or a place to store almost anything during an emergency. It is sold in packs of eight at a surprisingly affordable price and it comes with handles for easy loading—whether onto a boat or truck.

3. LCI Plastic Water Can 5-Gallon

The LCI military water can is a BPA-free plastic water container that is issued to soldiers worldwide. It stores up to 5 gallons of drinking water, enough for surviving for a few days in the desert. It’s as durable and portable as it looks, and convenient to use too, owing to the screw top closure for easy filling.

4. Coleman Jug With Water Carrier, 5 Gallons

You can’t think of a water container without thinking about this USA brand. This Coleman jug is made with polyethylene, a durable material that is made to last for years. It meets the ideal capacity and toughness for emergency preparedness. It has a spigot for easy water access and a handle for easy carrying.

5. Brio BPA-Free Reusable Plastic Beverage Dispenser

Brio manufactures BPA-free, FDA-approved, food-grade plastic containers to safely store water for drinking. But, what’s interesting is that its containers seal shut to protect your water from contaminants, without compromising their easy dispensing features. They also have easy-grip handles for easy transport.

How to Properly Store Your Water Containers

Using other types of water containers is generally not advised. If you must use other storage solutions, avoid using empty milk and juice containers. These may contain residual milk proteins and fruit sugars that can create a potential hazard by promoting bacterial growth. Discover more ways to properly store your water for the long term.

  • When storing tap water for future use, make sure to use the proper containers. As said above, food-grade plastic containers are preferable.
  • Clean the containers with hot, soapy water then rinse. Afterward, sanitize them using a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Let it stand for two minutes before rinsing them out completely and filling them with potable drinking water.
  • Store your water containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Remember to seal them with the right, tight-fitting lid.
  • Label your containers as ‘drinking water’ and indicate the date when you stored them.
  • Replace your water supply at least every six months to make sure it’s always fresh. Bottled waters have an expiration date, too. So, make sure to check on them every once in a while and replace them when necessary.


Storing clean drinking water is a key part of emergency preparedness, despite being too often overlooked. It’s easy to take our water supply for granted, but you will never know when a disaster may happen. Considering the importance of having safe drinking water and the benefits of storing water at a relatively low cost, there’s hardly a reason why you shouldn’t start storing water today.

Do you have any other water-saving tips to add to the list? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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