Introduction to Water Storage for Preppers

Emergencies and survival scenarios demand resourcefulness and foresight but how do preppers store water?

One of the most crucial resources to plan for is water, as it’s essential for our bodies to function properly.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various methods and strategies preppers use to store water safely and effectively, ensuring a dependable supply when it’s needed most.

Key Elements Takeaway:

  1. Storing water is a vital aspect of preparedness, as clean, potable water is necessary for hydration, sanitation, and food preparation.

  2. Preppers should store at least one gallon of water per person per day, with a minimum of a two-week supply, to meet basic needs during an emergency or disaster.

  3. Water storage options include commercially available water containers, such as BPA-free plastic barrels, water bricks, or food-grade storage containers, as well as repurposed containers like soda bottles or food-grade drums.

  4. It’s crucial to treat stored water to ensure it remains safe for consumption. Methods for water treatment include boiling, chemical treatment (such as using bleach), and filtration systems.

  5. Rotate and replenish water supplies regularly to maintain freshness and quality, and store water in a cool, dark place to minimize the growth of algae or bacteria.

  6. Preppers should also consider alternative water sources, such as rainwater harvesting or well systems, to supplement their stored water supplies in case of a prolonged emergency.

The Importance of Water Storage in Emergencies

Clean drinking water can become a scarce commodity during emergencies.

Natural disasters, power outages, and other unexpected events can disrupt water supplies, jeopardizing access to portable water.

Storing water in advance provides a reliable backup, ensuring you and your family can remain hydrated and healthy in times of crisis.

Types of Water Storage Containers

Plastic Containers

Food-grade plastic containers are a popular choice for water storage, ranging from smaller water bottles to large 55-gallon drums.

Opt for BPA-free plastic specifically designed for long-term water storage to avoid potential health risks.

Glass Containers

Glass containers, such as Mason jars and carboys, offer a non-reactive, easy-to-clean, and durable option for water storage.

However, they’re heavier and more susceptible to breakage compared to plastic containers.

Metal Containers

Stainless steel containers provide a lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant alternative for water storage.

Avoid using containers made of galvanized steel or aluminum, as they can leach harmful substances.

Portable Water Storage Solutions

Portable water storage solutions like water bladders, collapsible water containers, and hydration packs are ideal for emergency evacuations.

Their lightweight design makes transporting water hassle-free.

Best Practices for Storing Water

Properly Cleaning and Sanitizing Containers

Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing your containers is crucial to prevent bacterial growth and other contaminants.

Use a mild bleach solution to sanitize the containers, and rinse them well before filling with water.

Storing Water in Optimal Conditions

To maintain water quality and prevent contamination, store your water in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and chemicals.

Rotating Water Supplies

Rotating your stored water supply every six months ensures freshness.

This involves using the stored water and replacing it with a fresh supply.

Long-Term Water Storage Methods

Water Preservatives

Water preservatives, such as chlorine dioxide or water stabilizers, can prolong the shelf life of stored water.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage.

Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing water in heavy-duty plastic bags or pouches protects it from contamination and extends its shelf life.

Ensure the bags are puncture-resistant and specifically designed for long-term water storage.


Boiling water before storage eliminates bacteria and other microorganisms, thereby increasing its shelf life.

Boil the water for at least one minute, let it cool, and transfer it to a sanitized container for storage.

Alternative Water Sources for Preppers

Rainwater Harvesting

Collecting and storing rainwater is an eco-friendly and cost-effective method to supplement your water supply.

Install a rainwater collection system using gutters, downspouts, and barrels or storage tanks.


A well can provide a consistent source of groundwater.

If feasible, consider drilling a well on your property or locate a nearby well for use during emergencies.

Natural Bodies of Water

Rivers, lakes, and ponds near your residence can serve as alternative water sources.

However, it’s essential to have a reliable water purification method, such as filtration or boiling, to render the water safe for consumption.

Water Purification Techniques

A variety of water purification methods are necessary for using alternative water sources.

Invest in water filters, purification tablets, or portable water purifiers to treat water from various sources.

Emergency Water Rationing Strategies

During a crisis, ration your water supply carefully.

Establish a daily water consumption plan based on your family’s needs, including drinking, cooking, and hygiene.

Monitor your water usage and adjust your rationing plan as needed to conserve resources.

Creating a Comprehensive Water Storage Plan

To develop a comprehensive water storage plan, consider the following steps:

  1. Determine your family’s daily water needs.
  2. Calculate the amount of water to store based on the desired number of days of self-sufficiency.
  3. Choose suitable water storage containers and methods.
  4. Identify alternative water sources and purification techniques.
  5. Develop a water rationing strategy for emergencies.
  6. Regularly inspect and maintain your water storage system.

The Importance of Being Prepared

Storing water is a critical aspect of prepping for emergencies.

By following best practices, utilizing various storage methods, and establishing a comprehensive water storage plan, you can ensure your family’s safety and well-being during times of crisis.

Adapting Water Storage Plans to Various Scenarios

Different emergency situations may require unique water storage strategies.

Customize your water storage plan to accommodate potential scenarios, such as natural disasters, long-term power outages, or pandemics.

Earthquakes and Floods

In the event of earthquakes or floods, water sources may become contaminated or inaccessible.

Store water in multiple locations throughout your home to ensure you have access to clean water in different areas.

Power Outages

Extended power outages can disrupt water treatment facilities, compromising the quality of tap water.

Keep an ample supply of stored water and invest in alternative energy sources, like solar panels, to power water purification devices.


During pandemics, it’s crucial to maintain a reliable water supply to support hygiene practices and prevent the spread of disease.

Ensure your water storage plan accounts for additional water requirements for sanitation purposes.

Innovative Water Storage Solutions for Preppers

Technology has introduced innovative water storage solutions that can complement traditional methods.

Consider incorporating these modern options into your water storage plan:

Atmospheric Water Generators

Atmospheric water generators extract moisture from the air and convert it into potable water.

These devices can supplement your water supply during emergencies, particularly in humid environments.

Solar Stills

Solar stills use the sun’s energy to purify water through evaporation and condensation.

They can be used to treat water from various sources, such as rainwater, groundwater, or even seawater.

Portable Desalination Devices

Portable desalination devices can convert seawater into fresh drinking water.

If you live near a coast, these devices can provide an invaluable alternative water source during emergencies.

Educating Family Members on Water Storage and Usage

It’s essential to involve your entire family in your water storage plan.

Educate them on the importance of water storage, the proper use of stored water, and water conservation practices during emergencies.

By fostering a shared understanding, your family can work together to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being during times of crisis.

Final Thoughts: The Value of Preparedness

Effective water storage is a cornerstone of preparedness, providing security and peace of mind during emergencies.

By combining traditional storage methods with innovative solutions and adapting your water storage plan to various scenarios, you can ensure that you and your family have access to life-sustaining water when it’s needed most.


Here are some frequently asked questions on how to preppers store water.

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Q: How much water should I store for emergencies?

A: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day, with a minimum of a 14-day supply for each family member.

Q: How long can I store water?

A: If stored properly, water can last for six months to a year. Rotate your water supply every six months to ensure freshness.

Q: Can I store tap water for emergencies?

A: Yes, you can store tap water if it’s from a treated municipal water supply. Ensure the containers are clean and sanitized before filling them with water.

Q: Do I need to treat stored water before drinking it?

A: If the water has been stored in clean, sanitized containers and was safe to drink when stored, there’s usually no need to treat it before consumption. However, if you’re unsure about the water’s quality, use a water purification method before drinking.

Q: Can I use water from a swimming pool for drinking?

A: Pool water is not recommended for drinking due to the chemicals used to treat it. However, it can be used for hygiene purposes, such as flushing toilets or washing clothes.

Q: What are the best containers for long-term water storage?

A: Food-grade plastic containers, glass containers, and stainless steel containers are all suitable for long-term water storage. Choose the type of container that best suits your needs and storage space.

Q: How can I ensure the safety of my stored water?

A: Regularly inspect your water storage containers for leaks, cracks, or other damage. Keep your water storage area clean and free of pests. Rotate your water supply every six months to maintain freshness.

Q: Can I store water in my basement or garage?

A: While you can store water in a basement or garage, ensure that the area is cool, dark, and free of chemicals or contaminants that could affect water quality.

Q: What should I do if my stored water has an odd taste or smell?

A: If your stored water has an unusual taste or odor, it may be contaminated or have absorbed odors from its surroundings. Try filtering or purifying the water before drinking. If you’re unsure about its safety, discard it and replace it with fresh water.

Q: How can I make my stored water last longer?

A: To extend the shelf life of stored water, consider using water preservatives, vacuum sealing, or boiling. Store the water in optimal conditions and rotate your supply regularly to maintain freshness.

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