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Emergency Preparedness

How to Store Water Properly for Emergencies

Typically, an active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Children, nursing mothers and people who are ill will need even more water. In addition to drinking water, additional water is needed for food preparation and hygiene. Follow these tips on how to properly store water to assure that you will have the water you need in case of a disaster or emergency.

  • Store enough water for everyone in your family and pets to last for at least 3 days:
    • One gallon of water, per person, per day is adequate for general drinking purposes.
    • Three gallons of water, per person, per day will give you enough water to drink, cook and for limited personal hygiene.
  • Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.
  • Store water containers in a cool, dark place.
  • If you store tap water, date each container and replace the water at least once every six months.
  • If you store commercially bottled "spring" or "drinking" water, keep the water in its original container and do not re-store a bottle once it has been opened. Date each bottle and replace water at least once a year.
  • If a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use the water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl), but not if you use a toilet tank cleanser. You cannot drink swimming pool or spa water, but you can use water from pools and spas for flushing toilets or washing.