Large-scale emergencies happen; they can start quickly and can leave millions of people without necessities like water.
So, whether you’re a prepper or not, it’s always good to have a store of emergency water to get you through the worst of it.
In this article, we’ll talk you through how much water you might need, how to choose the right water containers, and how to store your water properly.
Let’s get into it.
Understanding Your Water Needs
How much water do you need for an emergency?
Before you decide on your emergency water storage solution you must understand how much water you’ll need.
In a true emergency, you won’t have much leeway in terms of water usage. Commercially bottled water also often runs out quicker than you can say "Oops".
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you store one gallon of water per day per person. You should always have enough water to cover everyone in your family for at least two weeks.
This is worked out as follows:
0.5 gallons for keeping things clean (washing hands, dishes, and teeth brushing).
0.5 gallons for food preparation and drinking water.
However, there are varying factors that you need to consider for how much water you should store in an emergency.
Factors that may affect your water needs
Age: Older people might need more water to remain hydrated. This is particularly true for hotter climates where dehydration is common.
Climate: If you live in a hot climate, the chances of dehydration can double pretty quickly. If your area is particularly hot you may need to store two gallons of water per person, to be on the safe side.
Health: Dehydration for someone that is already ill is extremely dangerous. You should try to store as much water as possible if you have sickly individuals in your home. They will also be more susceptible to waterborne diseases, so stored decontaminated water is a must.
Pregnancy: If a member of your family is pregnant or breastfeeding, the pressure on their body will be way more than the average person. Breastfeeding mothers may need to double their water intake to remain hydrated and healthy.
Activity level: If members of your family are going out during the day to source food, walking, running, and higher activity levels mean they’ll need more drinking water to compensate for lost energy.
Pets: Animals will also require clean water.
Choosing Water Storage Containers
Types of containers that are suitable for stored water
If you’re in a true emergency, it’s more of a take-what-you-can-get type of situation. But that’s why we recommend having proper water storage containers to avoid having to store water in containers that aren’t up to standard.
Your top option is one of the containers from WaterSupply. We offer multiple sizes of water tanks from 35 gallons to 1500 gallons, depending on your needs.
One of the most popular options is the 1500-gallon water tank. It could last one person 1,500 days or a family of four an entire year if you work on one gallon per person per day. It’s also the perfect option if you’re staying off the grid.
We also offer varying different types of water tanks. For emergency water storage, you should consider the reservoirs and cisterns. But we offer other products including underground water tanks, rainwater tanks, and septic tanks. We’ve got you covered for all your water storage and usage needs, during an emergency or not.
You want to know that your water storage solution is safe, durable, and convenient to use. We’ve taken this all into account while making all our water storage tanks, giving you everything you could need in an emergency water situation.
Factors to consider when choosing a container
There are a few things to look out for when considering your water tank:
Size: This is one of the most important considerations. The space you have available will determine the size of your container. You’ll also need to consider moving the container as the more stored water it holds, the heavier it’s going to be. But you still need containers that hold enough water for your needs.
Durability: You should choose a container that can withstand transport and is weather resistant. Luckily our water supply tanks are made with high-density polyethylene material (HDPE), a food-grade plastic that can survive in the sun for long periods.
Material: As we know plastics carry BPA which can be seriously hazardous to your health. Look for materials like food-grade plastic, high-density polyethylene material, or polycarbonate. All of our water tanks are totally BPA-free.
Airtight: To keep water fresh for as long as possible, the water container must have an airtight lid.
The good news? Storage tanks from WaterSupply are corrosion and UV resistant and are very easy to install.
How to properly clean and sanitize containers before use
Before you add water to your storage container you should clean it thoroughly to ensure you don't contaminate your drinking water supply.
Luckily, the tanks from WaterSupply are sterilized before delivery with a high-temperature molding process, so you don’t have to clean them. However, we understand that some still might want to. Here’s what to do:
Vacuum out any shavings that might have come loose during delivery.
Lay your tank sideways on your driveway or lawn, but be sure not to damage the back fittings.
Take off the lid and spray some water on the inside of the water tank. You can add the water until there's a small pool.
Add ⅓ of a cup of household liquid bleach directly into the tank. You can then swoosh the bleached water through the tank by rolling it or tipping it from side to side. It should coat the entire inside of the tank.
Flip the water tank and let all the liquid drain out.
Fill the empty sanitized container with clean water.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of cleaning the water tank, you can simply add a chlorine tablet to your water storage. This will kill off any unwanted bacteria.
How to Store Water
Proper techniques for safely storing water
Emergency kit water should be no different from any water you would consume daily. Running out of clean potable water is a massive problem because technically a human can only survive for three days without water.
But another thing to keep in mind is whether the water you do have is safe for drinking. You need to ensure you’re getting purified water. Contaminated water can make you seriously sick!
So, it’s best to start storing water before an emergency so that you’ve got what you need and don’t need to worry about the local water supply turning off.
If you run out of bottled water there are a variety of ways to make water from other sources safe for drinking, including chlorine tablets and purification systems.
All water should be stored in a cool dry place to keep it as fresh as possible. While the WaterSupply water tanks can withstand the sun, your water should always be kept cool if possible.
You should also consider rotating your emergency water supply every six months if you can. Empty the water in your garden to ensure you’re not wasting it. Then you can sanitize the tank, and refill it with clean water.
To keep on top of it, it’s best to label your water tanks so you know when they were filled and when you might need to consider a clean and refill.
All WaterSupply tanks are made to withstand a total stack of two tanks, one on top of the other. So, it’s best to go with a larger tank if you need more, rather than multiple tanks on top of one another to avoid a falling hazard.
You’ll also need to consider moving your tanks around if you’re in an emergency. If you’re planning to travel then obviously smaller tanks are more suitable. For example, your water tank might be way over 2,000 lbs when filled, so you won't really be able to transport it.
Best locations for storing water
If you’ve got a smaller space you might be worried about where to store your emergency preparedness water. But don’t panic!
As we mentioned earlier you should ideally have a cool and dry spot. If you don’t have a basement or attic then why not go for the back of a cupboard or underneath your bed?
You can get as creative as you want. Your water storage could even have partial darkness, a few hours of sun a day won’t make a difference to our WaterSupply tanks.
However, things change if you’re worried about your water freezing. While our water tanks are suitable for temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, your water will eventually freeze if the conditions are cold enough for long enough.
So, remember to leave about 10 inches of space to allow for water expansion that won’t damage your water tanks.
How to make water safe to drink
Every emergency water kit should have all the things needed to keep the water clean and drinkable. You never know how long an emergency will last and if your last resort is using dirty water, you want to try to get it as clean as possible.
Here’s how to get your water clean:
Fill your WaterSupply tank with water.
Add unscented regular household liquid bleach (0.75 ml to every 16 cups of water).
Close the tank lid tightly, making sure not to contaminate the water with your hands.
Label your water tank with the date.
Here are some other options for making water safe for consumption:
Boiling water: At least one minute of boiling and make sure it’s cool before pouring it into your storage tanks. This kills viruses, parasites, and bacteria.
Filtration: If you can plan ahead you might be able to install a filtration system where you can filter the water automatically. There are also portable options like a straw filter that can help if you’re on the move and want to clean your water.
UV: A UV water device is also a good option to sanitize water, but if you don’t have electricity, this solution won’t work. If you have a portable UV purifier, just remember to keep the batteries handy.
Distillation: Boil the water as normal, but rather than using the water directly you can collect the condensed steam that is free of contaminants. Distilling water does remove all the healthy minerals, so something to think about.
Why does stored water taste different?
It’s not uncommon for stored water to taste a bit flat, don’t worry. If you’ve properly cleaned your water and the water tank there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Can I store my water tanks on concrete?
Yes, it is completely safe to store your water tanks on a concrete slab.
What is the best way to purify water for storage?
In an emergency, the two easiest purification techniques are the best in our book. These include boiling or using chlorine bleach. Devices needing electricity might leave you high and dry, so it's best to stick with something simple.
My water storage container has a plastic smell, is that normal?
Yes, all plastic does have a smell, but it won't contaminate your water or make it taste different. You can leave the container open for 24 hours to air out, before filling it.
Our Final Thoughts
Being prepared for an emergency can take a lot of the stress out of the situation. You can worry about things that matter like safety and shelter.
We recommend having an emergency water supply to ensure your home is well-prepared for any emergency. It could be a natural disaster or even something like a drought, either way, you can rest assured you’ve got the right equipment to see you through.
Regardless, we’re here to help with all your emergency water supply needs. Chat with one of our friendly agents to see what solution would work best for you.