Water Storage

Store Your Water Supplies…

Water storage is extremely critical. When our basic infrastructure (such as the water or sewage pipes) begin to decay, they require more and more maintenance to keep them running. In even the smallest localized emergency, many residents experience what it is like to turn on their faucet only to see a few drops come out. Having water stored away will not only ensure you and your family are well hydrated during a crisis but that they can remain healthy as water is critical to proper sanitation.

How Much Water?

How much water you store in case of an emergency is up to you. It is always smarter to error on the side of too much as opposed to too little. This is especially true when it comes to water. Water is not only used for drinking but washing and cleaning. If the water isn’t running at all you may find yourself using some water for bathing.Keeping yourself clean and your living environment sanitary is incredibly important during a disaster. Otherwise you can find yourself prone to disease and sickness. When you are in the midst of a long term survival situation, the last thing you want to do is find yourself needing urgent modern medical care. Here are some basic rules for determining the amount of water you should store:

Minimum – 1 gallon of water per person, per day: This is widely considered to be the bare minimum for survival. Therefore if you have 50 gallons of water stored away, then you could theoretically survive 50 days. Or for two people, 25 days.

Recommended – 2 gallons of water per person, per day: This is because you need additional water for cleaning and as a means to keep you and your environment sanitary. Also, there may be a day or two where your body requires additional water intake (sickness, additional work, etc). You do not know what kind of situations you’ll be in, so be prepared for any.

Storing Water in Big vs Small Containers

I wont spend too much time on this topic as I think most preppers realize the benefits of doing a little of each. For this section I am considering big containers as being 55 gallons and higher. Small containers are anything less than that and down to your average water bottle size. Here are the pro’s and con’s to both methods:

Large Containers (55 gal +)


  • Storage of many gallons of water in the smallest possible area
  • Containers easy to fill with tap water
  • Generally inexpensive
  • Possible to treat many gallons of water at a time (for storage or disinfection)


  • Extremely difficult to move
  • If container is compromised, many gallons of water can be lost

Small Containers


  • Lighter weight and easy to carry
  • If one container is compromised, relatively little water lost
  • Small empty water containers have many other uses
  • Easy to distribute to others


  • Generally more expensive if the water is purchased
  • Easier to move means easier to steal

Areas You Can Find Water In Your HouseBelieve it or not, there are many areas in and around your house where there is always water available. You just need to know where to look. Here’s some areas to consider looking:

Water Heater – Water heaters store 50 gallons or more of water! Open the bottom drain valve (usually white plastic) to retrieve the water. Be sure you turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater first, failing to do this could cause serious damage to your water heater or even cause a fire. If you have a tankless heater, you are out of luck.

Water Pipes – There is water tied up in the water pipes of your house. Open the faucet at the highest point in your house to assist in the drainage of the pipes, then open the lowest faucet (or garden hose) and collect the water.

Toilet – This sounds gross but is a very good source of 3 to 5 gallons of water. In general the water in the top part of the toilet should be safe to drink. It might be a good idea to disinfect first to be sure it’s safe. Or you can use it for cleaning/washing purposes.

Fish Tanks – The most common fish tanks hold 55 gallons of water! You definitely want to disinfect or purify this water before consuming though. Treat it the same as water you would take from a lake or pond.

Pools/Hot Tubs – These hold an insane amount of water and can be a true blessing in a survival situation. The water in them certainly can be used for cleaning/bathing purposes or for watering your garden. Weather this water is safe for human consumption seems to still be open for debate. If one were completely out of options and going to attempt to drink this water I would filter it through a carbon based filter (to remove chemical contaminants as well as biological). Also, if the pool or spa’s filter isn’t running, the water can go stagnant fairly quickly.

Water Beds – Treat the water from a water bed similarly to how to treat water from a pool. It’s best to use this water for washing purposes only as there is often times chemical additives to this water.

Camper/RV – If you own a camper, RV, or motor home you may want to take a look at the built in fresh water tank. There may be some left over water from your last family vacation! Note: It is always a good idea to keep this water tank full at all times.

Water Storage with an “AquaPod”

I thought this product was worth mentioning as it is a good option for people who don’t have a lot of free space to store large quantities of water. Although I always suggest you have some water on stand by (even if it’s just many small plastic bottles of water), but this is a good addition.

I used to live in an apartment for many years and needless to say, it had very limited storage space. I kept one of these AquaPod’s on stand by just in case. If disaster strikes (or is about to strike), you fill it with tap water from your bathtub faucet. A food grade plastic liner keeps the water fresh and clean to drink. Once filled, you leave the bag in the bathtub and use an included hand pump to pump out water as it is needed. This will hold a minimum of 65 gallons of water for emergency use.

If you can find a large plastic food grade bag that has a small opening which can be easily closed off, you may be able to save the money and make your own AquaPod. Make sure it is large enough to expand to the size of a bathtub. If anyone knows where to find this type of food grade plastic bag please send me an e-mail (see the contact page to e-mail me) or comment below so I can share the knowledge with other preppers.

Go to the Next Step – Storing Tap Water