Water Storage-How Much Do You Really Need

Water Storage: How Much Do You Really Need?

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Today, it’s all about water storage, how much do you really need? It may not be a popular opinion, but I’m all for having stored water for emergency water storage. The truth is that you never know when natural disasters or human-made disasters will occur. The American Red Cross states that to be properly prepared we need one gallon per person per day. I get thirsty just typing that statement.

I really struggle when I think of families trying to survive a disaster with only one gallon per person per day. In a pinch, you may be ok for a couple of days, but for a longer period, I think that amount spells trouble. I strongly suggest you have four gallons of water storage per person per day. It’s a good idea to store drinkable water and potable water in case of a major disaster.

Long-Term Water Storage

I decided I needed to update this post based on all the talk about the drought here in the west and the history of floods in the eastern states. Here’s the deal, I can almost bet you we will need to share our water storage with a few neighbors, friends, or family that didn’t store quite enough for their family, besides just trying to get your family through the tough period.

I received a comment from someone from a few years ago in Puerto Rico by the name of Maritza and I have to tell you her comment melted my heart. 

I just have to share it: “Hi I am from Puerto Rico and thanks to your advice I started both a food and water storage that allowed us as a family of 6 to endure Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!!!”

I have never met her, but I admire her tenacity to be prepared for the unexpected. I was answering her comment and the Ellen DeGeneres show was on TV featuring Ricky Martin who is also from Puerto Rico. He was showing the world how much the people living there needed so many items!  What are the odds, I would have that show on at the very minute I was answering Maritza’s comment? If I ever have the chance to go there, I want to hug this amazing woman, Maritza! I want to talk to you about your emergency water supply and how much you really need to store.

Water Storage-How Much Do You Really Need

Water Storage-How Much Do You Really Need

Please Store Water: Emergency Situation

Sometimes I get on the bandwagon, so to speak, about water storage. I feel strongly that I need to share my ideas of how to store water and lots of it. The other day I was looking on the Internet at the single 3.5-gallon blue WaterBricks and it said they are currently unavailable. Please keep checking to see when they are available. Today, they are available, but for how long, I don’t know. It appears the prices have gone up too. The supply chain issues in the global economy are really affecting a lot of people!

I’m assuming maybe people are now aware of how quickly water can’t be purchased in grocery stores once they hear about a pending storm or soon after it has passed by.  WaterBricks and 4 WaterBricks

WaterBricks for Water Storage

I have several of these stored, even some under my guest bedroom queen bed. This gives you an idea of how to store some, and they also stack on each other to help save room.

Read More of My Articles  Safe Drinking Water in Emergency Preparedness

Each WaterBrick holds 3.5 gallons (the larger ones) and they weigh about 27 pounds each when filled with water. If you think about using these, they hold 3.5 gallons which is almost enough water storage for one person for the day. Do you have four people in your family? You need 16 of these for you to have coverage for four days. If you want seven days’ worth of water storage for four people you need 28 WaterBricks.

Please remember to fill your containers with a lead-free hose if you fill them outside with your house faucet. Lead-Free Hose and use Water Preserver so you only have to rotate the water every five years. If you use bleach you need to rotate every six months. One 3.5-gallon WaterBrick unit needs 1/2 teaspoon of Water Preserver for each container.

One major advantage to the Water Bricks is I can lift them without a lot of trouble. I found that 5-gallon containers were too heavy for me to move around easily. The 3.5-gallon units were ok, not that I could move them long-distance if full.

Barrels for Water Storage

I recently saw some 55-gallon water barrels at a store in Hurricane, Utah for just under $40.00. That’s cheaper than I have seen in years. These need a bung to close the cap and a pump to pump the water out when water is needed. BUNG and WATER PUMP

Sometimes you can get some of these barrels at Walmart. You’ll also find them at Emergency Preparedness/Be Prepared, and Amazon. They are expensive online. Typically the bungs and pumps are right next to the barrels. You would use one full container of Water Preserver in each of these units.

Mark and I wondered how difficult it was to use the pump in the barrel. We needed to move one of the barrels since the pallet it was stacked on had broken and needed to be replaced. Mark took off the cap, put it in the pump, and started pumping. To his surprise, the pump acted like a siphon and the water kept running without the pump being activated again. He did have to repeat this a couple more times, but that barrel was empty in about 20 minutes without a lot of pumping action.

Water Storage in Bottles

We can buy cases of water at the grocery store that come in 24 bottles or more to a case. These are fine as long as you rotate them. Please keep them stored out of direct sunlight. You would need to calculate how many ounces are in the brand you buy and decide how many cases your family needs for each day. 

Any clean water stored is better than no water at all. Please remember to buy a little at a time and keep adding to your inventory as budgets and space allow. Before long you will have 30 days or more worth of water.

The small bottles work fine for drinking and cooking, even though you’ll go through them fairly fast. The challenge comes when you need some “personal hygiene” attention, even if it’s just a sponge bath. The other challenge is if it’s time to wash a few pieces of underwear. You’ll go through those cases pretty quickly.

Best Solution: Blue Cans

This product is by far one of the best containers to store water. They will last 50 years and they taste better than any water you’ll taste anywhere. If you live near a distributor you don’t have to pay for the shipping. 

Almost every time I talk about these I get a few remarks about how expensive they are. Yes, they are expensive, but they are worth every penny to me. 

Read More of My Articles  29 Items You Need To Be Prepared For Survival

I have 18 cases stored behind a dresser in my bedroom. I can set and forget them and sleep at night knowing I have water for Mark and me, at least for drinking and cooking when needed. If you’re looking into emergency preparedness, start with water! These blue cans will change the way you look at long-term storage for water.

water storage

Blue Can Water (continued)

I recently took a 24-pack case to a subdivision that asked me to talk about food and water storage. The people were in awe over the BlueCans of water. I don’t sell them, although I would like to buy a pallet and send it here and have a few families split the cost. 

I couldn’t get anyone in my neighborhood to go in on a pallet, but this other subdivision is trying to figure out how many to order. If you live near any of these distributors, you may want to set and forget a few cases, you won’t be sorry, I promise.

I found one place that sells for less than anywhere else: Brownells

If you are just getting started on your food and water storage journey, please start with my book if you haven’t purchased it yet: “Prepare Your Family For Survival” 

If you really want to get serious about water storage there are storage tanks you can buy that hold large quantities of water. The challenge is finding a place to store the tanks and having a way to treat the water (see Water Preserver above). We have a 160-gallon tank in one corner of the garage and a 250-gallon unit in another corner. I really feel prepared with these large tanks full and ready to dispense water when needed, and with the Water Preserver, I only have to empty and refill the tanks every five years.

Both of these tanks have spigots at the bottom so you can empty them, or just draw a few gallons when needed. The only time I emptied and then refilled one of the tanks I just hooked a hose to one of the spigots and drained the water into my flower beds. Remember that long-term water storage doesn’t happen by accident, you have to be intentional about the amount of water you store!

Where else can I store water?

Now, these options aren’t for super long periods of time water storage. However, if you have a warning (like a hurricane warning), you can quickly fill up containers like this for flushing water or for cooking.

  • Liter soda bottles
  • Juice bottles
  • Stainless steel bottles
  • Gallon jugs
  • A hot water tank or water heater
  • Swimming pool (pool water)
  • Reuse water bottles
  • Any type of clean containers that you have are great for storing water in an emergency

Food-grade plastic containers are preferred! Don’t forget that you’ll need water for emergencies that may come your way. Sometimes you only have a few hours to put together last-minute potable water storage and these containers work great for that.

More Water Storage Tips

Final Word

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please get your water storage to the level you feel necessary so you won’t have to stand in line at the store or wait for the government or another group to hand out cases of water.

I’d suggest you try a variety of options outlined above to see which water storage containers work best for you and your family. We are so used to being able just to turn the water faucet on and off. Please think again. Remember that this post is a good starting point for storing water and using water containers. May God bless this world, Linda

Food Storage In A Small Home

Copyright Images: Water Jug AdobeStock_223202040 by arttim

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  1. I live in the desert….storing water in the garage is not really an option…same with food storage…do you have suggestions other than under the bed? And what water do I put into water storage jugs? Tap? Filtered? help!!!! and thanks

    1. Hi Karin, I live in Southern Utah which is in the desert as well. I store water in my garage in high capacity tanks, not the inexpensive barrels, they are stored outside with UV barrel bags on top of 2 by 4’s. I use city tap water with Water Preserver via a lead-free hose. I realize the Blue Cans are expensive but start buying one case a month or when Brownells has free shipping. You will not regret it. Store water in good containers (which will not leak) in closets and cupboards, behind couches, or under the coffee table. This is why I love the Blue Cans, I now have 18 cases stored behind a dresser. I did not buy them all at once. I did buy a 250-gallon tank and it’s stored in my garage on top of 2 by 4’s to keep them off the concrete. I hope this helps. Linda

      1. I am sorry I wrote it wrong. I was told if I taped into my water line coming from my house to his new one I would be breaking the law. I told her I would not touch the meter, and was told no mater how much land I have only one structure is allowed water. . My son and I are going to split the cost to get a well.

  2. I’ve got 600gl in medium to large containers stored outside of smaller stuff like bottled and camelbacks.
    I’m looking at about 10 initial arrivals.
    It’s great to hear feedback like that! Be proud

  3. Great ideas, as usual! I also store water in empty laundry detergent containers. Figure it will be useful for cleaning.

  4. Great topic. Always important to have enough clean water on hand to get through a crisis, but I always try to mention water filtration as well as water storage since there is no way to store enough to get through a long duration event. But there will be events that it isn’t safe to go outside your home/shelter for a period of time, so you need storage to get you through. Especially for those of us with dehydrated and freeze dried food storage….gotta have enough water to rehydrate your food in addition to keeping everyone healthy.

  5. I would very much store water or get a well or something. I live in Oklahoma out in the country I am the last on my mountain who has water.
    My son is building a home on my land went to go find out how much for a water meter I was told IF they accepted is application it would be 1200.00. . I was also told if he tapped into mine I would be breaking the law.
    I was also told the last 3 people who have put in application for Water was denied.
    I did notice 3 big plots of land was sold and worked on then nothing. I ask the water dept if this why. No good answer to that.. I did find out from asking one man who bought land and put application for water was lawyer and there was nothing he could no.
    Just wanted to share because we think as long as water is there we are allowed to have it if put deposit and pay all the fees
    But we are sadly wrong

    1. Hi Renee, wow, this is so interesting. I remember selling real estate and we had to have the titles to the water shares transferred. People rarely wanted to give them up. They sold them for lots of $$$$. Now, on to this water well comment. I love learning new things. So the county is telling you, YOU would be breaking the law? It’s your land, this makes no sense. But I know very little about “well” water. I understand the $1200.00 fee, the government charges for everything. The last 3 people were denied their application. Is it because there is a drought everywhere and the county is protecting those that are there now? Thank you for sharing this great information, you are awesome. Linda

  6. Wow, I can hardly believe the trouble the government gives people for getting a well. In Minnesota we can have a well just about any where we want. We have 2 wells. One for a hand pump and one for the house water, in case we loose power. (We are thinking about solar to power the well as we get older.)We could have gotten by with one well if the first owner had put in a 6” pipe but they didn’t need it. So when we put in a well we did do a 6” just in case we needed it for something else. We only had to go down 70’ for good water. Static water puts it up to 26’ which gives us almost 50’ of water. That should withstand a pretty bad drought. I know in some parts of the country you have to go hundreds of feet down and still not guaranteed good water. We are very fortunate. Minnesota, land of 10,000+ lakes. Some places you only have to hand dig a few feet and get water. I wish you all well and hope you can get a decent supply of water. When I was a kid my dad showed me a stream running through an area in our dirt floor basement just inches below the surface. Pretty cool. Never forgot that. We do have springs near our home but I have yet to find them on our land. It would make a great area for a spring house. I will keep looking. It’s there somewhere.

    1. Hi Mary, oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! You can have wells anywhere in Minnesota! I really enjoyed your thoughts on the 6″ pipe, and some places you can dig deep or shallow. I can almost picture the spring house, boy would that be awesome!! My mom was born in Minnesota, great memories. Linda

  7. Sometimes it’s not a big disaster . . . last Sunday around 9 am our water went off with no warning for most of the day. Evidently there was a leak in the line. I fill used & cleaned 64 oz. juice bottles (which I like because they are heavier and rectangular) with tap water when I use the juice and put it back on the shelf in the garage where the juice was. That gives me some handy water for an event like this that doesn’t require pulling out the water storage that is hard to get to and treated with chlorine. It tasted great, didn’t cost anything, and is rarely very old. The smaller container made it easy to use to pour a drink, wash hands, etc. If we had warning of a big storm, etc. that could take out power then these would be handy to put in the freezer so the frozen bottle would help keep things cood. I was also glad for the habit of showering first thing in the morning so I was fresh & clean.

    1. Hi Kay, I love your comment! We never know when we will lose power. You shower first thing in the morning, great habit! When I see a storm coming I start the wash no matter big or small, I want clean clothes. I really like how you have planned ahead using your heavy juice containers. They are basically free, so why not use them! I love it! Linda

  8. Hi Linda:

    My husband and daughter use a 5 gallon jug of water each week. I prefer the water from our well. Jack has already made a tube like dipper that opens when you put it down in the well to have water fill it up and when it is filled the opening closes. That is how they had water in the house he lived in when he was growing up. They didn’t have running water in the house until after Jack and I married.

  9. I am fortunate that I have a free source to go to in order to fill my containers up with artesian mineral spring water. I started with emptied out 2 Liter soda bottles that were thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, which was 28 total. I knew that 28 would last me a full week since that is what I needed for drinking water, coffee, tea, and cooking. I still do this every week but now I use the gallon-sized juice bottles I get from my cousin (she shops at Sams Club and Costco since she has 3 kids and is single). I still have the 2 Liter soda bottles that I started with plus a few more juice bottles that I keep a month’s supply of that wonderful tasting water as I want to be prepared. I also got my cousin doing the same exact thing and since she has been getting free drinking water from where I get it she has saved money and her kids now love drinking water, but only if it is that artesian mineral spring water.

    I would suggest that everyone should find out if they have any kind of a resource like this that is reasonably close in order to not only utilize it but also help them in their preps rotation. The fact that there is more work into retrieving it makes you appreciate it even more.

    *Disclaimer* I live in the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, but that doesn’t mean that someone living in the desert doesn’t have an available and free resource, it just might not be as close by as it is for me. I feel that all of us preppers are very savvy and capable of thinking outside the box.

    1. Hi Ravenna, I agree, we have to think outside the box! When I lived in the desert in Southern Utah there was an area where anyone could fill their containers with artesian water. People were lined up to fill their jugs. The water was delicious! I know where I live now, there used to be one here in northern Utah. Thanks for the reminder, I need to check that out. Linda

  10. Living in NE GA we do not have garage or attic or basement….just crawl space under the house. I fill every possible glass or plastic container … no milk jugs….with water after washing them out with soap….I leave bleach labels on so I know they may have residue and not to drink and date them. Put the bottles in totes outside but find the tote covers break down really fast out there so plan to move them to crawl space and into a shed in the yard. No good space for big type storage but do have rain barrels to catch water from the car port, house, and shed. What I lack most are more water filters which I must get yet. One may have all the food storage you want but w/o water that dry food will do you little good.

    1. Hi Sandra, well you are doing what you can with what you have. I can’t imagine what the people in OHIO are doing right now. I need to get some rain barrels, great reminder. Linda

  11. Dear Linda: Back when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, (I was a volunteer first responder with Crisis Response International!) The most valuable items we took were: Water filters, blue tarps to stop leaking roofs from ruining people’s furniture/beds (a temporary fix), and the little square cubes with lights in them (Lumin Aid), since there was no electricity! We went up one mountain that was very near where two rivers converged just before a large dam. That whole area was flattened, especially where the rivers flooded near their shorelines. The 2 rivers had flooded so badly that all the houses and restaurants that were located near the shoreline were completely gone! All that was left of the forest that climbed up the sides of the mountain were flattened, dead “toothpicks” for what was once vibrant green and lush with trees. PLUS, there were all kinds of trees, shrubs and pieces of the famous shoreline restaurant that washed away. I remember very well how much people needed water and filters in P.Rico, as well as light in the darkness of night. We frequently also handed out food. Here are the lights we handed out and the water filters we gave away to those in need, that were considered of very good quality: https://www.amazon.com/LuminAID-PackLite-Solar-Inflatable-Waterproof/dp/B0716JV1SG/ref=sr_1_26?keywords=solar+cube&qid=1676565139&sr=8-26 and the water filters were very similar to these (I can no longer locate the original ones we used) https://amzn.to/3IuCSpZ
    The other things that were considered like gold were boxes of bandaids with antibiotic ointment in them, and diapers for little ones… Something more to think about!
    Thanks to you, Linda, for always reminding us of what we still need to work on! We have a 55 gallon drum of tap water saved and always keep many 5 gallon blue bottles for our spring water dispense, but I am certain we still need to get more water, no matter what!

    I hope this helps someone! JESS

    1. Hi Jess, oh yes, your comment will help many people. I remember hearing from people after Hurricane Maria. They had stocked water and food and had more than most of their neighbors. They told me how expensive it was to have items mailed or shipped to them. Just like the items you mentioned like bandaids, etc. We must be prepared. Great comment, Linda

      1. Hey, Linda: I also remember that I personally bought some “baby oatmeal” for an elderly “grandma and her mother”(!) while in San Juan, and they were extremely grateful to receive it! It was still “good food”, just in a more ground up state. Almost any kind of food is useful, as long as it’s not something filled with too many artificial ingredients and gmos, to make people ill.

        I remember that one place at the top of the mountain I mentioned earlier…had a ministry to recovered drug-addicts had no food left except small amts. of flour and sugar plus some flavorings. They created cakes, cut them up in slices and the men went up and down the side of the mountain selling slices to others who were going without! That is how they made money to buy more food and water for those 30+ guys living there on the compound. When we arrived with actual food items and tarps to repair their ministry house with all the bunkbeds, those guys were practically singing, The wife of the founder started to cry to actually have food to feed all those men! THEN, within 1/2 hr. FEMA finally showed up for the first time, and I was able to help translate for the wife & founder. I think we left them some water filters, too, if I remember correctly. Our younger guys fixed up their chicken pen that had taken a beating and also cut down and chopped up a tree that had fallen on a small building out back. NOW THAT was a day of miracles for that drug-recovery home!! Our GOD is an awesome GOD, like when He shows up in such exacting timing to rescue the needy who are praying for help! Sorry, this was not very much about water, but we did give them water filters, too.

    1. HI Marcy, you are so right about that. If you have enough time to fill them. They are inexpensive but I worry about reusing them. But it’s an economical choice for sure. Linda

  12. Hi, Linda. When is water too old? I have 15 gallons of Ozarka bottled water in the large 2.5 gallon jugs with spigots that expired October 2022. We buy these because they come in very sturdy boxes, 2 jugs to a box and can be stacked 2 or 3 boxes high so they take up little floor space. These boxes of water are really hard to find so we tend to not use them unless we have to. Sam’s used to carry them but now the only place I find them is occasionally at Costco. I know we could keep this water to flush toilets but I have very limited storage space and I’d rather use that space for drinking water. What do you think? Are these safe to drink? I’m thinking I need to throw them out or water my plants with them. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kay, here are my thoughts on that water. If my calculations are correct that’s about 37.5 gallons. 15 bottles times 2.5 gallons each. You could water your plants, and save the water in the boxes, hopefully, they do not leak. You can always cook with it (soup boil) after a disaster. I like to do it right the first time. Years ago when I started my water storage journey I invested in $35.00 55-gallon water barrels that need a bung and a pump. They are okay but I have since given them all away. I had four on the side of my house in Southern Utah. I graduated so to speak to two 160-gallon high-capacity tanks, then a 250-gallon high-capacity tank. Yes, they are huge. But they have two spigots. Then WaterBricks, I have lost count and many many cases of BlueCans (the cheapest place to buy them is at Brownell’s). I use a water preserver to change out the water containers that need new water every 5 years. My goal is to have 2000 gallons stored, it’s not a lot but for two people we could stretch it. I have since found some really nice 55-gallon sturdy water container that are similar to my 160-gallon containers. Please remember to always keep your water off the concrete with 2 by 4’s. I hope this helps, Linda

  13. Hi, Linda: I have been looking at water siphons and small hand pumps for 55 gallon water drums (plastic) so we can get to the water we have stored in our basement. I have no idea which pump will work O.K., and I prefer not to buy one that has aluminum touching the water unless absolutely necessary. Do you have any knowledge of which ones are the best? I have read many reviews on Amazon today and looked at Prime Day Deals to no avail. I just cannot tell which one/ones might work well and be worthy of preparing (instead of 2-3 days of use w/out breaking). Please help!

    Thanks so much!!

  14. This just happened to me. My lower chamber on the berkey light cracked at the hole opening. I ordered a new one @ $60. The design for the berkey has changed, the chamber didn’t fit, and that means the extra spigots I have don’t fit==not sure about the extra filters.
    I called to return the chamber and was told to go to post office, pay for shipping, and my refund will be missing 15% for re-shelfing fee.
    Rude wouldn’t cover the attitude I got.
    So, I super glued the crack twice and it seems to hold well.
    I now have a lower chamber I will never use and two spigots that are good only as long as my berkey lives…so much for storing extras.
    I have looked into other options when that glue no longer holds on the berkey I have.

    Buyer beware. This is like ordering a part for a 2020 car and no parts were kept in a warehouse.

    1. Hi JayJay, okay this infuriates me! THIS IS SO WRONG!!! I had something similar happen to me with my favorite NEW Objecto humidifier. I suggest one or both of these ideas. #1 Write review in a kind way with what happened to you on Google to get a replacement. Those work, trust me. #2 If you have FaceBook, post the question will these NEW parts fit my Berkey and that it cracked, etc. I posted something on Facebook once to Sam’s Club because my daughter had tried to contact them to no avail. Well, they got back to me after posting a very nice statement about my daughters house payment will bounce if you do not reimburse the $5000.00 in fraudulent purchases with her Sam’s Club card and her debit card. We need to know if they have changed the design. I’m so sorry to hear but I’m so glad you shared it with us. Linda

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