How to Store Water for Long Term?

There are numerous benefits to water storage. It will stay freshest if it is stored in reusable containers. Glass, stainless steel, and even canning jars are acceptable. Practically every home improvement retailer offers these affordable containers. They are not, however, the best option for long-term storage. You must pick the ideal container for your requirements. Additionally, ensure the container you select is accessible and has legible labeling.


Why Store Water?

Periodically, severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters impact Florida. People may experience days or weeks without running water or electricity in their wake.

Humans can go weeks without food but cannot go more than a few days without water. Normal drinking water supplies can unexpectedly become contaminated after a natural disaster.

Having a personal safe water supply that includes water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene is the best plan of action for an imminent emergency.

Reference: Estimating the costs and health benefits of water and sanitation improvements at global level 

How to Store Water for Long Term?

The water supply could be cut off for weeks due to a natural disaster or another emergency. In this circumstance, storing your supply takes care of your most pressing requirement. Water does not “go bad” in the same way food does, but if it is not purified or stored properly, it can still harbor dangerous microorganisms. The other risk is chemical contamination, which can occur due to particular plastic container types or from chemical vapors penetrating the water container walls.

Canning Jars

It is simple and secure to store fresh water in canning jars for later use. Boiling water before canning ensures that the water is extremely clean. The water should next be processed in a water bath canner. When the water is fit for consumption, keep it in a cool, dark area. It’s crucial to keep canned water in the dark environment.


Glass containers are among the safest ways to keep water. This kind of material is sterile and simple to maintain. The drawbacks of utilizing glass for water storage include the potential for breakage and sunlight intrusion. Glass may also contain impurities from other substances, lowering the water quality. Because glass containers can be fairly heavy, choosing the proper container is crucial.

Jerry Cans

A jerry can is a small, portable container storing water or fuel. Different sizes and materials are available for jerry cans. Although metal jerrycans are superior to plastic ones, they are also more expensive and heavier. Be sure to think about the jerry can’s material, tap, and size before you buy one. Here are some suggestions to aid in selecting the sort of jerrycan to purchase.

The Division of Drinking Water of the Department of Environmental Quality suggests storing 1 gallon of water per person every day for two weeks. This is based on the assumption that each person consumes 2 quarts (or 1/2 gallon) of water per day for drinking and food preparation and an additional 2 quarts (or 1/2 gallons) per person per day for certain, more sporadic applications like hand washing, tooth brushing, and dishwashing. (For two weeks, this equates to 14 gallons per person.)

A typical active individual has to consume 2 quarts (or half a gallon) of water daily. Heat and vigorous exercise can increase that quantity by double. More water may be required by young people, nursing mothers, and those who are ill or injured. People with weak immune systems may want to take additional precautions to reduce their risk in an emergency.

  • You will require an alternative clean water supply for drinking, making food, and personal hygiene if your usual water source becomes unavailable or if you are dubious of its safety to consume.
  • You should have enough clean water in storage to supply 1 to 1.5 gallons per day for each household member. If little children, sick adults, or nursing moms are present, increase the amount of food stocked. Depending on the size of your pet, you should keep anything between a quart and a gallon per day.
  • Water should be kept on hand for at least three days. If you have the room, think about keeping a two-week supply.
  • A four-person household would need to stockpile 4 x 1.5 x 3 = 18 gallons if they needed 1.5 per person per day for three days.

What Containers can be Used to Store Water?

Before a calamity strikes, water should be stored in tightly fitting, food-grade plastic or glass containers that have been completely cleaned. Food-grade plastic containers won’t let dangerous chemicals leach into the food or water they hold. Examples include bottles previously used to store liquids, such as juice bottles or 2-liter soft drink bottles, and bottles designed to carry drinking water. Ensure the container you buy to hold water is marked “food-grade” or “food-safe.”

  • Start by giving each container a thorough inside-and-outside wash with soap and hot water.
  • Then, disinfect containers with a quart of water and one teaspoon of non-scented home bleach solution. Make sure the bleach solution touches the container’s internal surfaces by tightly sealing it and giving it a good shake. Pour the solution out after 30 seconds of letting the container settle.
  • Finally, give everything a good rinse in clean water.
  • Milk containers can be difficult to clean, so avoid using them. In a milk container, bacteria can multiply quickly and contaminate the water stored within. Nevertheless, more care should be taken when sanitizing these containers if there isn’t an alternative.
  • Because bleach containers are not composed of food-grade plastic, they should not be used to store drinking water. There might be catastrophic repercussions if the water intended for drinking was accidentally used for washing.

When is Disinfection of Water Necessary?

  • You can assume that the water is safe to drink if it is from a public source and no “boil water notice” has been issued.
  • Do not use your water for drinking, cooking, creating ice (if you have power), or brushing your teeth if there is even a remote chance that it has been contaminated. Do not use it to take a bath if you have any open wounds or cuts.
  • There are situations when the presence of water can raise suspicions. Water is probably tainted if it seems muddy or tastes or smells bad. Use water from a different, clean source; do not drink it.

How can I Preserve Water for Drinking?

Decide which choice best fits your household.

Method A:

You can keep water in sanitized milk jugs or clean soda bottles with screw-on tops if it is obtained from a public water source or has undergone disinfection. The steps are listed below.

Wash plastic milk or soda bottles in warm, soapy water until completely clean. Utilize jars with screw-on lids. Put one teaspoon of home liquid bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite or higher) in one quart of water to sanitize the container. Place this solution in the container, and after two minutes, remove it. Pour the cleaning agent from the bottle. Use potable (drinkable) water to rinse the container.

Directly fill bottles or jugs from the faucet. Each container should have a tight cap with the words “Drinking Water” and the date stored written on it.

Keep sealed containers in a cool, dry, and dark environment.

If the water kept for six months has not been used, dump it out of the containers and follow procedures 1 through 3 again.

Method B:

Buy bottled water from a store if your current water source is contaminated or you don’t want to prepare your water for storage. Local grocery stores and cheap shops sell bottled water. Purchase bottles of water that are gallons or greater in capacity. To learn more about choosing high-quality bottled water, go to the Bottled Water brochure.

For Contaminated Water Only

Before using, water from a contaminated source needs to be cleaned up or disinfected. Following is a discussion of two water purification techniques. If there are any visible particles in the contaminated water, let them sink to the bottom first. Then, before disinfecting, strain the water through clean cloths or layers of paper towels. The water cannot be disinfected unless particles are removed by filtration first.

Boiling Method

A good approach to purifying water is to boil it. For one to three minutes, bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water has cooled, put clean containers in them using Method A’s instructions. (Adding oxygen back into boiled water before consuming it will improve the flavor. Pour the water many times back and forth between two clean containers to replenish the oxygen.)

Liquid Bleach Method

A substance (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) found in common household liquid bleach can disinfect water. Use only unscented, color-safe splashes or bleaches without additional cleansers.

Use 5.25% sodium hypochlorite-containing ordinary liquid bleach. Add 16 drops (or approximately 14 teaspoons) for every gallon of water.

Before use, the treated water needs to be carefully mixed and left to stand for 30 minutes. The water ought to smell faintly of bleach. If not, repeat the dose and allow the water to stand for 15 minutes before using. Fill in new containers, then store them according to Method A’s instructions.

The recommendations in this document are the most straightforward choices that may be found in most areas.

How Much Emergency Water to Store?

  • For drinking and sanitation, store at least 1 gallon of water per person every day for three days.
  • If you can, try to prepare enough food for two weeks.
  • Consider keeping additional water for hot areas, expecting mothers, and sick people.
  • Watch the water you purchase at the store’s expiration date.
  • Every six months, replace non-store-bought water.
  • Keep a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach on hand for general cleaning and sanitizing and water disinfection, if necessary (the label should specify it contains 5% to 9% sodium hypochlorite).


If properly preserved in food-grade containers that are stored in a dark, cool area, potable drinking water can be kept for an extended period. Every six to twelve months, chemical treatments (such as home bleach or iodine) can be employed to maintain the water potable.

Establish the period for storage before storing water. A family of four can survive on three days’ worth of food. Keep a two-week supply in storage if you have the space. Remember that a household of four will use 1.5 gallons of water or 18 gallons per day. So, if you have adequate room, bringing three days’ worth of water is preferable.