Prepper's Guide To Safe Drinking Water Storage

In an emergency situation, your drinking water may be shut off without warning. Having an ample supply of filtered, clean water in your possession will assure that you have enough safe drinking water to last an extended period of time.

Each person needs at least two quarts of water per day to stay hydrated. In addition to drinking water, fresh water must also be stored for cooking and hygiene needs. If the environment is warm, it's best to double the recommended two quarts per person. Children, nursing mothers, and individuals who are ill may require even more.

Overall, store at least one gallon of water per person per day. There should be at least a two-week supply of drinking water properly stored in your home. Remember, water is the most important item in your emergency supply kit. It's even more important than bandaids or food.

 Parched Earth

While a majority of public water systems in the United States comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act, some chemicals remain unregulated by the EPA. These contaminates found in tap water are deemed potentially harmful. Many water treatment facilities contribute to the problem by adding chemicals like chlorine to the water as part of the treatment process. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant, and while it effectively kills microorganisms, it can have toxic effects on the human body.

Tap water can also contain traces of radioactive contaminants, pharmaceutical drugs, hexavalent chromium, heavy metals, and even arsenic.

For your health and protection, it's crucial to purify the water you drink and cook with. Boiling tap water can get rid of the bacteria, but only filtering removes harmful contaminants like chlorine byproducts and heavy metals like lead and aluminum. In fact, boiling water only increases the concentration of heavy metals and other contaminates, as some of the water evaporates.

Emergency Water Storage

Private well water should not be stored, as you cannot guarantee that it's free from microorganisms. To ensure that your water maintains freshness, proper water storage techniques must be used.

Clean water should be stored in cleaned and sanitized food-grade plastic containers. Food-grade plastic containers include any purchased glass or plastic containers that once held food or drinks. New plastic water containers can also be purchased for water storage purposes.

Avoid using used milk jugs, as harmful bacteria can be harbored in dried milk. Whether the containers have been used or are new, they must be cleaned thoroughly before filling them with water.

Clean the Container First

With clean hands, wash the inside and outside of the bottle with hot, soapy water and rinse with plain water. Sanitize the bottles by rinsing them out with a solution consisting of a ratio of a half-teaspoon of household bleach for every pint of water. Finally, rinse once more with plain water. Once cleaned and sanitized, fill the bottles with water.

Your safe drinking water should be stored in a dry, cool area away from heat and direct sunlight. Water can also be frozen in plastic bottles for long periods of time. To ensure freshness, your supply of clean water should be replaced every six months if you are using tap water.

Emergency Water

According to the FDA, bottled water has an indefinite shelf life if it has been produced in accordance with regulations and if it remains unopened.


In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, proper water storage is necessary to keep you and your family healthy and hydrated. The amount of water that the human body loses through perspiration, urine, and water vapor from the lungs is approximately 2.5 liters each day. Fluids are needed by the body to make up for this water loss. As part of your emergency preparedness kit, be sure to store plenty of safe drinking water in prepared containers.

Last, but certainly not least, invest in a Berkey filter. We're obviously biased, but but Berkey is the best way to purify drinking water without access to electricity. For more tips on prepping and other emergencies to prepare for, check out Emergency Preparedness Tips.