Preparing For An Emergency: How To Store Water Long Term

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By the year 2050, global researchers estimate that over 50% of the world’s population will live in water-stressed communities. Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis can damage municipal water systems, resulting in widespread water contamination.

Storing clean tap water beforehand is a great way to prepare for an emergency. Learn the best way to store water long term for you and your family below!

What type of container is best for storing water long term?

There are 4 basic options for storing clean drinking water safely for long periods of time:

Option A) BPA-free plastic bottles such as a converted milk jug or 2-gallon water bottle used for a dispenser. Do not use plastic containers that previously contained harmful chemicals such as cleaning solutions to store water. Food-grade plastic bottles rated 2, 4, or 5 are your safest solution.

Option B) Glass bottle or container. Glass is the more eco-friendly alternative to plastic, but usually costs more than plastic. You can read these glass water bottle reviews to view some of your options.

Option C) Metal containers such as enameled metal or stainless steel are extremely durable. Use a container with a screw top or airtight seal.

Option D) Fiberglass containers are similar to plastic but even more durable. They can withstand high or low temperatures and are non-corrosive, which makes them a safe way to store water long term.

How much water should I store long term in an emergency?

  • 1 Day = 1 Gallon per person
  • 3 Days = 3 gallons per person
  • 2 wks = 14 gallons per person

These measurements are based on the recommended daily water intake of 2 liters per day for the average adult. 2 liters is equivalent to a ½ gallon of water, which gives you an extra half gallon of security, or an additional 2 liters.

Climate and your level of activity are significant factors in measuring daily water intake. If you live in a Mediterranean-like climate such as California, you may need more than half a liter per day to stay hydrated.

Limiting your activity during an emergency can help reduce the need for water, and keep you hydrated longer.

How long can water be stored safely?

Clean drinking water can be safely stored in BPA-free plastic or glass containers for up to 6 months. A cool, dry, dark place such as a basement or shed is a great place to store water long term.

Is storing bottled water a good idea?

According to FEMA, commercially bottled water is the safest way to store water long term because it’s already packaged and purified. You can purchase bottled water in cases or gallons and store them until the expiration date.

Can I store carbonated water long term?

Drinking carbonated water will actually dehydrate you further, and increase your need for water in an emergency. Commercially-made carbonated water also has an expiration date. Once the seal is broken on the bottle, carbonated water will quickly lose its fizzle.