Emergency Water Supplies

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Having access to clean water in an emergency is a top priority. The average active person needs to drink at least eight cups (half-gallon) of water on a daily basis. Children, nursing mothers, or those who are ill may require even more. Here are a few tips to properly prepare and store an emergency supply of water for your household.


  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends purchasing bottled water for emergency water supplies
  • If you want to prepare your own water containers, using food-grade storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores is recommended
  • You can also re-use storage containers (two-liter plastic soft drink bottles) as long as they are thoroughly cleaned with dishwashing soap and water
  • Glass containers and plastic jugs or cardboard containers used for juice or milk are not recommended
    • Glass containers are heavy and may break
    • Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed and can lead to bacterial growth and contaminated water

Water Storage

  • Store enough water for 3-5 days. One gallon per person, per day, including pets (3 gallons per person is enough drinking water for 3 days)  
    • Tap Water
      • Ensure water containers are clean and rinsed out completely
      • Use the container's original cover and be sure to not touch the inside of the cap when sealing the container
    • Bottled Water
      • Store in its original container
      • Not recommended for storage if seals have been broken
  • Store all water supplies in a cool, dark place (basement or under the sink)
  • Mark the date of storage on the exterior of both tap and bottled water supplies and replace every 6 months

Be Prepared!

An emergency can happen at anytime and with an emergency water supply, you can be sure that you and your family will have drinking water. Follow the links below from American Red Cross and FEMA for more advice on water storage and also how to treat your household water in the event that your emergency supply runs out.

Food and Water in an Emergency (PDF)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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