How Much Water Should You Have for an Emergency

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How much water should you have for an emergency?

Consider one gallon of water per person in your household per day, the bare minimum of how much water you should have for an emergency. The CDC recommends having enough emergency water to last at least three days, although quantity isn’t all that matters.


Have you ever wondered how much water you should have for an emergency? Ensuring you have safely stored enough water during an emergency can be the difference between life and death. How much you store depends on the size of your household, the environment, and the crisis itself. However, you must also pay attention to how you keep water to ensure it’s usable when disaster strikes.

How much water should you have for an emergency?

This is a great question that shows you’re a thoughtful person who recognizes the risk of disasters. Based on CDC recommendations, you need an emergency water supply of at least one gallon of water per person per day. Stockpile three days’ worth of water at the bare minimum. The CDC recommends two weeks’ worth of water to be safe during an emergency.

However, you could be without fresh water for over a month if disaster strikes. You never know how long you’ll be without freshwater during a disaster, and no two disasters are alike. A realistic goal for 30 days is 60 to 120 gallons per person in your household.

Remember that you don’t just need water to drink. It has many uses, including:

  • Making baby formula
  • Washing hands
  • Cleansing your body
  • Flushing toilets
  • Watering plants
  • Cooking (which may not be possible during an emergency)
  • Hydrating pets
  • Cleaning

You may also need water to extinguish fires, although a fire extinguisher is typically more effective.

Why Water Storage Matters

Not all water is the same. Potable water meets federal requirements that make it safe to drink and cook with. However, you don’t need potable water for other activities, such as flushing the toilet.

The water you purchase from a grocery store, for example, is safe to drink. But if you do not store it correctly, it could become contaminated or develop biofilms, and drinking it may make you sick. Furthermore, water in plastic containers has an expiration date. The water itself cannot go “bad,” but the containers can leech chemicals into the water, making it unsafe to drink.

Stackable water jugs ensure you have enough water without wasting space. Remember to choose durable food-grade materials for drinking water and containers that secure tightly. These emergency water jugs hold five gallons, which means most people can lift them and pour water without wasting any. You can also treat water with Biofilm Defender to keep it potable. If you fill jugs with tap water, replace it every six months.

How to Conserve Water During a Disaster

While you must drink water to remain healthy, you can save your stockpiled water by using wipes for dry showers and hand sanitizer. You can also capture water from cleaning dishes, laundry, or hands (known as gray water) in a bucket to flush the toilet and water plants with leftover cooking water.

See also  Your Best Choice of Small Water Storage Containers for Long term Storage.

Fill a sports bottle and use that to wash your hands instead of a larger container. The smaller stream of water means you’ll use less when washing your hands.

Disposable dishes also save water. Only flush the toilet when it contains solids. Remember, you need to pour 1.6 gallons of water into the bowl to force the toilet to flush.

You can make water safe for drinking by bringing it to a rolling boil for one minute after filtering it through a coffee filter or letting particles settle. Chlorine bleach can disinfect the water following instructions on the container or purification tables based on the active ingredient. Survival straws disinfect small amounts of water for drinking.

How to Make Sure You Have Enough Water for An Emergency

You can do a trial run over three days to determine how much water you need for an emergency. Purchase additional water or measure gallons of tap water to avoid using your stored water. Use water just like you would during an emergency for drinking, washing, cooking, and cleaning while reusing gray water to conserve your supply.

Because you have access to clean water, you can experiment with water usage to determine how much more water an activity uses compared to the alternative. For example, you might wash your hands one day but mostly use sanitizer the next. Note that you should wash your hands after using the bathroom whenever possible.

Practice purifying water to ensure you know how to. Additionally, you can practice rainwater collection or getting water from your water heater if you need it. You may even need to drink urine in desperate times, so collecting it may be crucial.

If you run out and need tap water, measure how much you use and add that much to your collection. Purchase additional storage containers if necessary.

How many liters of water should I store for emergencies?

A gallon is just under 4 liters, so start with 12 liters per person.

How much food and water should I have in case of an emergency?

Along with the gallon of water per person, include around 2,000 calories worth of food per day to ensure proper nutrition during an emergency.

Stockpiling water in anticipation of an emergency protects your family’s health and potentially lives. It’s smart, even if you’re not a prepper. As long as you safely store enough water, replace expired water before disaster strikes, and know how to conserve your water supply, you’ll be much safer during an emergency. Start with three gallons of water for each person in your home at the bare minimum. Add an extra gallon to cover pets, ill or pregnant people, and hot environments, plus chlorine bleach and filters. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please let us know in the comments.

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