Self Sufficiency

8 Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You

We can survive without food for 7 days, but only 3 without water. That’s why, as preppers, we need to know a thing or two about emergency water storage. Not only will we guarantee a fresh stock of clean water, but it will also guarantee your survival after doomsday.



Feature | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You

Having emergency water storage is extremely vital, especially in times of distress. Be prepared with these tips!

What's Your Emergency Water Storage Strategy?


Importance of Drinking Water Storage Containers for Emergencies

One interesting fact about the human body is that it is made up of roughly 70% water. Therefore, it is essential to our physiology to have enough fluid in our body. The human body can live for weeks without food as long as it is well-hydrated. Water is a necessity we can’t afford to lose. Setting up a home emergency water system should be a priority.

There are emergency situations where we have to live without running water. It may be because of unforeseen natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. In the event of a crisis, some people tend to buy bottled water, but there are other feasible alternatives. An emergency or survival water storage is the best workable option and is a life saver. Listed below are tips on how to store and preserve water properly.

Read. Learn. Survive.

This article is courtesy of OutdoorWarrior.Com and shared with permission.

1. Identify Your Containers

Identify Your Containers | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You
You need to choose suitable emergency water storage containers. There are several types of containers you can use such as food-grade water containers, plastic soft drink bottles, glass containers, water storage jugs, and stainless steel tanks if you want to collect rainwater.

You can easily buy water storage containers at Walmart or other stores. Be sure to clean and disinfect containers first before storing water in it. Learn more about water containers for long-term storage here.

2. Water Preservation and Treatment

 Water Preservation and Treatment | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You
There's no need to add anything if you're using tap water or if it is already treated commercially. But if it's from a well or from a public place, you have to make sure it is safe to drink before storing it. You can use chlorine, iodine, and calcium hypochlorite for your emergency water storage treatment. This is a necessary step to avoid falling ill or contracting water-borne diseases.

In emergency situations, becoming sick is highly dangerous. Check out the link for more info in making your water safe in a survival situation.

3. Store Your Water

Store Your Water | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You
It is important to store your water in a cool, dry, and dark place where it won't be exposed to sunlight. UV rays have an effect on containers and chlorine as well. Just make sure the area where you'll store the drinking water containers is clean enough and can easily be accessed during emergencies. Where you keep your water is significant for emergency preparedness.

4. Water Replacement

Water Replacement | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You
It is necessary to replace stored water in after 6 months, especially homemade stored water. This is to avoid any contaminants that can build up inside the water container over a long period of time. Some drinking water contaminants may be harmful if consumed at certain levels. With that said, it's best to replace water stored for a long period of time.

RELATED: 25 Ways to Get Clean Drinking Water in an Emergency

5. Look for Other Water Sources

Look for Other Water Sources | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You
The survival water you're going to store is not only for drinking. There are other uses of water such as bathing and cleaning cookware and kitchen utensils. Of course, we also need to be mindful of our hygiene.

In emergency situations, it is better to use drinking water as sparingly as possible. That's why you should also look for other sources of water like melted ice cubes, water from canned goods, and water from specific trees and plants. You can also collect and store rain in water storage tanks specifically for non-consumption use. Learn more about other water sources here.

6. Water Barrels

Having a couple of 55-gallon barrels for water storage goes a long way. These barrels are made from food-grade plastic which is very tough and dependable. They're UV-resistant so the sun's UV rays won't have any negative effect on the stored water even if the barrels are placed under direct sunlight. Surely, you have some unused corners in the house to place the barrels.

7. Capture Rainwater

Setting up a home emergency water system utilizing rainwater is also another option to try. Rainwater can be used for inexpensive long-term water reserve. You can hook up a diverter to a downspout from the roof and attach a tube going to a rain barrel. Install two of the 55-gallon barrels on each corner of your house. That's approximately 27 days worth of water for your family.

8. Sanitize Your Containers

Sanitize Your Containers | Emergency Water Storage Tips For Preppers Like You

It's imperative you sanitize whatever container you use for storing water. Fill up the 55-gallon barrel with a gallon of water, then add 5 tablespoons of unscented bleach. Roll the barrel on the ground to wash the entire inside surface with bleach water. Pour the bleach water out and you're ready to fill the barrel with clean water. You can do this with other emergency drinking water storage containers you're planning to use.


Watch this video from for more info about emergency water storage :

Living without clean, potable water is absolutely devastating. We might find ourselves trapped in an irreversible death spiral if we fail to have access to drinkable water in times of crisis. Hydration and sanitation are two important factors we need to consider all the time. So as a prepper, we must ALWAYS have a solid emergency water storage plan to survive a catastrophic event. Follow the steps above and start storing water now!

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Do you know other emergency water storage tips? We would like to know about it. Share it with us in the comments section below! 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Vaavia Edwards

    December 4, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    I am wondering why no one ever talks about the 5 gallon water dispenser bottles? I have a water dispenser at the office and in my kitchen at home that has instant hot and cold water. We rotate through 4 bottles for each one. This gives us 20 gallons of water stored at any given time. Seems sensible to me, but I have NEVER in years of reading prepping blogs heard ANYONE mention, suggest, describe or warn about using them. They are common all over the place here. (Texas) Is it just a local thing or is there a reason why this is not a good plan?

    • Reilly Stewart

      December 23, 2016 at 12:37 PM

      The only caution may be the release of polymers from the material used to firm the bottles, but that ceases to be a concern if the water supply is refreshed at regular intervals, even at home (water your garden, refill bottle). If you are concerned about water sterility after any disaster potentially contaminates the faucet water supply, you can back up the 5 gallon bottle storage system with a way to create clean water as hikers and backpackers do. Iodine is best (I’m a microbiologist) but if any water recipients are allergic to Iodine or shellfish you can use clorine instead. Both can be purchased from chemical companies in quantity but your best initial learning process will probably be to buy water treatment kit(s) from REI or another wildeness supply company for the hiking market.

  2. John - Atlanta

    December 7, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    I think the main reason is because they can not be effectively resealed, cleaned, and reused. Plus, they are hard to store because you have to store them neck up, so, it makes them hard to stack unless you build a shelf unit for them.

    Followed by it being an expensive option long term compared to other container and drums options, since you have to rotate water as mentioned in the article. One reason not mentioned is because plastic is porous.

    I keep 10 gallons (2 bottles) ready myself, but, I have concentrated on rain barrels and filters as water options.

    For a family of 5, 20 gallons in hot weather is a 2 day supply (5 people x 2 gallons x 2 days), so, to store a 30 day supply (5x2x30) is 60 (5 gallon) bottles! Or (6) blue 55 gallon drums. I know I would take the drums !

  3. HDMania

    December 19, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    How about buying those 275 gallon square containers with the metal cages and food grade ?..I enclosed mine with plywood to keep the sun off stored under a will need to go to a good plumbing store and buy fittings to bring the 2 1/2 to 3 ” outlet down to maybe 3/4 “

    • Frank

      December 4, 2017 at 8:20 PM

      I have 5 of the 275 water containers stored at my home I put E.D. Goodloe’s Aeorbic Stabilized Oxygen in each one (Takes 2.5 bottles foe each 275 gallon container but gets the water to last 5 years) I covered my containers with Radient Barrier the Foil you put in the attic put 2 4b4 pieces of wood on top which allows water to run off when covered with a tarp.

  4. Patriot Lady

    December 23, 2016 at 12:29 AM

    Is there any filter that will purify the water for drinking if you have the typical composite roofing and you want to catch additional water in 55 gallon drums – if there is a shut off of water lines in a disaster?

    • Tom Peary

      December 4, 2017 at 8:10 PM

      Look into a diverter valve, it takes the first several gallons of nasty runoff and drains it off before the rain barrel. A gravel/sand/charcoal filter for the rest.

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  6. Dave

    December 4, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    I put about an ounce of colloidal silver per gallon in my storage containers to preserve and disinfect it. My sister uses about a quart per week in her hot tub so no stinky chemicals. Once you have a CS generator it’s cheap to make and it’s great stuff for lots of things.

  7. ron martin

    December 4, 2017 at 5:16 PM

    I have 4 15 gallon water barrel’s that I filled 16 months ago . I feel it’s time to change the water . I am going to but an electric aquarium water pumping system that will pump about 20 gallons out in a relative short amount of time. I will then order spring water from a local company in 5 gallon containers . My plan is to then use the aquarium pump to pump the water in the 5 gallon water jug into my 15 gallon plastic cans . I am also impressed with these 3 1/2 gallon jugs . They are a lot easier to change water . I am going to buy 8 and I can place them around my apartment and disguise them as a end table or something else . . .

  8. medic-Jpk900

    December 5, 2017 at 8:57 PM

    What about the collapsible 5 gallon cubes used in camping and for boy scout camping trips.
    At 20 degrees, over night, it’s too much water to freeze. I live in the far northwest mountains of NJ. Every rainstorm we lose power for hours. In a bad snowstorm, we lose power for days. I’m well and septic out here. we have 5 of these VERY inexpensive water cubes. plus many 1 gallon jugs from juice and ice tea bought commercially. Plus bathtub to flush toilets, plus many 5 gallon buckets bought for a couple dollars each. this is toilet flushing water. When you have a well, and power goes out, you have no water. A generator, plus all the containers listed above, got us through 11 days of no power after hurricane/super storm Sandy. Also, with everything being electric, stove/oven, furnace, etc. 2 fireplaces with wood stove inserts, with a minimum of 4 weeks worth of wood, plus all bug out bag/camping equipment, stoves, lanterns, lights, we did OK for 11 days. enough water, and food, and camping stoves, we could have made it a month thank god we didn’t need to. But after 11 days, we did OK, trapped in the house by dozens of downed black walnut trees, with no power, no water. neighbors all banded together to cut downed trees, we also all shared water and food, and the ability to cook, camping stoves, gas grills, fire pits. we made it, and we all had several weeks worth of food and water and heat/fire wood. that’s what it takes. friends/neighbors to band together. Also, we all have firearms, deer, bears, varmints, could have been down, thankfully, we didn’t need to. But we were prepared to. I’ll bet that’s longer than most have had to deal with. but all just suggestions for bad times ahead. cooperation, if not, as many water containers as possible, firearms to get food past the prepped/stored food, wood for heat. with perfect bug out bags, that can also be used at home, 4 season tents, camping equipment is gold. water is the master. save as much as possible, be able to get more.

  9. Bruce Morelan

    December 7, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    For years I lived on a small barge in Kenai Alaska and we only had a 300 gallon water tank and for a family of four it wouldn’t last long. To replenish our water keeping the water tank topped off dad made the roof of the barge into a rain water collector and in Alaska it rained a lot, I remember once we did run out of water but that’s where the 8 gallon battery water jugs came in handy. They are made of glass and came in their own protection cage and could be stacked up to four high and they came with a stopper much like a thermos bottle would have.
    The rain water collector all the water was dumped following a dry spell where dust and leaves would collect on the roof dad would just let the water go into the bay for several hours then he’d turn the valve and the water would first flow thru several layers of screen then into a sand filter then a carbon filter then into the tank, the water always tasted good, was cold for the tank was way down in the bottom of the barge against the bay water and being without electricity for long periods of time we had Beckson twin diaphragm pumps to provide filling the thirty gallon tank located on the roof and everything else was gravity fed. Life was ruff back then and in a heart beat I’d do it again for we lived off the land and even grew our own veggies during the short growing seasons that Alaska has.

  10. Desert fox

    December 10, 2017 at 12:09 AM

    Well, for years, now, I’ve been collecting tap water in one-gallon water bottles I get at the store. I make soaps so i buy a lot of distilled water. I mark the tap water witth a T and put the month. Since my tap water has a lot of minerals, I use a mixture of the distilled (or spring) water and the bottled tap water with the oldest date. Letting the tap water sitting for a while seems to settle some of the minerals in the walls of the bottles. Even my coffee maker lasts a little longer!

    I have water bottles in all my closets, under my bed, and anywhere I can fit one! I’m aware of the shorter life of the gallon bottles but in very many years i’ve only lost three bottles to deterioration! I also use half-gallon juice bottles which are very sturdy. Of course, filters are also a must…haven’t yet had to use them, but are at the ready for when needed.

  11. Joe Kriese

    December 13, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    I have a deep well, and a 1000 gal holding tank, also a spring feed pond. I use a small amount of bleach. Is this adequate?

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