How to Survive in the City, the Suburbs, and the Countryside Following A Catastrophic Disaster.

Water Storage Containers - Preparing Your Home for Disaster

Water Storage Containers and Tanks for Drinking and Washing Following Catastrophic Disaster

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What can a single person or small family do to store water for surviving an extended emergency?

Emergency water storage containers are an essential to preparing your house for long term survival. These specially approved "food-grade" water containers will be used to store water for many weeks and months. The purpose of water storage containers is to supply water for drinking, bathing, and washing dishes and clothing.

In the event of a disaster, you should have water storage containers that will supply drinking water for your family for a number of weeks, and store for a number of months. These range from 5 gallon jugs to 55 gallon barrels, and up to 500 gallons for the some of the bigger ones available.

How Much Water Should Your Store for a Disaster?

According to, a website offering information on water storage containers, a family of four needs approximately 500-600 gallons of water per month, to cover drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene.

I suggest that you store more water than you think you need, to last a lot longer than you think you're going to need water.

In other words, store as much water as possible, and become very familiar with techniques to keep water fresh, as long as possible. Every six months, or so, empty the water you're storing and replace with fresh water. Use a hose approved for drinking water, as commonly sold to RV owners and farmers.

What FEMA Suggests For Water Storage

"If you are preparing your own containers of water, it is recommended you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage. Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dish washing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Follow directions below on filling the container with water.

If you choose to use your own storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles -- not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers, because they can break and are heavy."

Water Storage Containers come in Many Sizes for Long Term Storage

Plastic containers in 1 gallon and 5 gallon sizes are commonly found in supermarkets, as well as home improvement stores.

There are also larger containers that come 30 gallon or 55 gallon drums; we suggest you have at least one that's this size.

If you have more than two people in your family, we recommend a water container in the 250 gallon to 500 gallon range. These water containers are specialty items and not found in most stores. There are many businesses that sell them online however. We've included a few links to some of these websites. You are specifically looking for water container that can store potable drinking water.

While we recommend unused plastic garbage cans to store water for washing and bathing purposes, do not use these for storing drinking water, as chemicals in the garbage cans are reported to contaminate the water.

There are many companies that offer water storage containers in many different sizes. Obviously the more you spend on a container will likely mean a larger container, that's easier to use.

Where to Find Large Water Storage Containers

Custom Plastic Tanks for Storing Water - This website offers a large number of storage tanks for drinking water.

55 Gallon Plastic Water Barrels - These plastic water barrels are made of (HDPE) High Density polyethylene Plastic. HDPE is the material approved by the FDA for water and food product storage.

Emergency water storage containers


FEMA suggestions for Disaster Supplies

Emergency Water Storage

Next Section: Food Supplies for Long Term Storage and Surviving Catastrophic Disaster
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