How much water should I store for emergencies?
The CDC suggests that you store 1 gallon of water per person per day for emergencies. 1/2 a gallon for drinking, 1/4 a gallon for cooking, and 1/4 a gallon for washing. This adds up to be about 30 gallons of water storage per adult per month and a whopping 360 gallons of water storage per adult per year.
Keep in mind that this water storage calculator is a minimum recommendation only. If you are being highly active or in hot climates, 1 gallon of drinking water per person, per day, would be better. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests that in an emergency situation, you should drink at least two quarts (half a gallon) of water a day and more if you’re pregnant or in hotter climates. They do suggest storing at least 1 gallon per person, per day, for drinking, hygiene, and food preparation, etc. I personally feel like the more drinking water that you can have on hand the better off you and your family will be.
When storing water it is important to remember to routinely sanitize/disinfect your water storage using bleach. See how much bleach is needed to sanitize your water storage below.
Check out our article How do you store large amounts of water? Long-Term Water Storage
Try Our Water Storage Calculator
Fill in how many adults and children, the amount of storage supply (from 2 weeks to 1 year), and check if you want to include water for drinking, cooking, or washing. The water storage calculator will do the rest!
It may be impractical for you to store enough water at your home so we suggest keeping several portable and home water filters to provide enough drinking water for your family in any circumstance. To know exactly which filter is right for you check out our article Selecting an Emergency Water Filter: Best Survival Filters.
Try using our Food Storage Calculator to see how much food storage your family needs.
Recent reports indicate that most people would not have access to clean water if they encountered an emergency. I couldn’t stand watching my family go hungry or thirsty so I consider it a necessity to have storage of water and food in case of an emergency or natural disaster.
According to the American Red Cross (See page 24), for emergencies, you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. You will also need water for cooking (food preparation) and washing or hygiene.
How much water should you store for 1 month or two weeks?
|Water Uses||1 Month of Water for 1 Person||Two Weeks of Water for 1 Person|
|Drinking-Water||16 gallons||7 – 8 gallons|
|Cooking (food preparation) Water||8 gallons||4 gallons|
|Washing (hygiene) Water||8 gallons||4 gallons|
Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can.
If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
What is the minimum amount of water per day to survive?
The absolute minimum requirement of drinking water for the “average” person should be 2 quarts per person per day. For more Active people (especially if they are sweating a lot) it should be upwards of 1 gallon per person per day. Remember to take into account the average temperature and climate conditions. The minimum water for drinking, cooking, and washing is 1 gallon of water per person per day.
According to ready.gov, you should take the following into account:
- Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
- A medical emergency might require additional water.
- If you live in a warm-weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
Sanitizing Water Storage
When storing water it is important to remember sanitizing that water storage. A good way to sanitize your water storage is by using bleach.
How much bleach is needed to sanitize a water storage tank?
The table below shows how much bleach is needed to purify/disinfect 1,000 gallons, 300 gallons, 275 gallons, 55 gallons, and 1 gallon of water. Do not use bleach that has fresheners or scents.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) add 1/8 teaspoon (8-10 drops or about 0.75 milliliters) of household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of clear water.
The CDC also suggests adding 1/4 teaspoon (16 drops or 1.5 milliliters) of household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of cloudy water.
*Treating water with household bleach containing 5.25-8.25 percent chlorine
|Water Amount||1,000 Gallons||300 Gallons||275 Gallons||55 Gallons||1 Gallon|
|Bleach to Clear Water||2 & 1/2 cups||3/4 cup||2/3 cup||2 Tablespoons & 1 teaspoon||8 Drops|
|Bleach to Cloudy Water||5 cups||1 & 1/2 cups||1 & 1/3 cups||5|
* Be careful! Don’t let children get their hands on the bleach. drinking fully concentrated bleach can kill you.
Water Storage Alternative – Water Purification Devices
It might not be practical for your family to store enough water for multiple months for each family member so a good water purification device is strongly advised. Personally I love water purifiers because it is much easier than storing gallons upon gallons of water, however having at least 2 weeks of water storage is necessary even with a good water purifier.