Emergency Water Storage Basics

Humans can survive only for 3 days without water, making water storage one of the most important parts of your emergency supplies. Just as with your emergency kits, at a minimum you need 72 hours worth of water. As the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake showed us, one week’s worth of water is a better goal to work towards. Then move up to a month’s worth of water.


The recommended amount of water storage is one gallon per person per day. This gallon is meant to include drinking water as well as cooking and cleaning water. As those who have survived a disaster will tell you, one gallon a day is really a minimum. In situations of medical emergencies, nursing mothers, children, or very hot temperatures for example, more water will be needed. There are a few different options available for water storage:

Water jugs or plastic bottles: Water jugs or plastic bottles such as the ones that you buy in the grocery store are the most common form of water storage, but in fact the least desirable. Due to troubles from bacterial growth in pre- used containers, this is the least recommended form of water storage. If you choose this option, your water supply will need to be replaced every 6 months and make sure to follow the cleansing instructions for water containers found at FEMA’s website.

Commercially bottled water: Commercially bottled water has a longer shelf life than water you bottle yourself, about one year. Note the expirations dates on the water containers and set replacement reminders in your calendar based on those dates. Keep the water in the original containers and do not open until you need to use it.

Aqua Literz: Aqua Literz is commercially packaged water with a shelf life of 5 years, the longest available on the market. Aqua Literz is water stored in non-transparent containers in 1-Liter sizes. With a 5 year shelf life, it is an affordable and practical solution for starting your water storage supply. A 4-liter package costs about $12 from Ready Set Go Kits. As with all commercially packaged water purchases, keep the water in the original containers and do not open until you need to use it.

30 gallon storage containers: These U.N. approved 30 gallon water storage containers are available for storing large long-term water supplies. The containers are made of hard, non-transparent plastic and come with a pump for dispensing the water. These containers obtain a 5 year shelf life for the water by including the EPA-approved Water Preserver, a sodium hypochorlite formula that keeps the water free of bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus. A 30 gallon water storage container package runs $110 from Ready Set Go Kits. At a gallon a day, a 30 gallon water barrel will store enough water for 4 people for 7 days.

Whatever water storage solution you choose, make sure to store your water supply in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. Keep your supply away from stored gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or other similar substances.

Don’t have your 72 hour emergency kit yet? Get one at Ready Set Go Kits today.

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