How Much Emergency Water Do You Need

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*This article includes a free printable about emergency water!

how much emergency water do you need

Having emergency water on hand is crucial for emergency preparedness. You never know when you could face a disaster or unexpectedly lose access to your water supply. Water is your most vital need.

You can survive weeks without food but only a few days without water.

Emergency Water Needs

emergency water for survival

When it comes to water storage, you must be aware of how much water your family will need. As a general guideline, each person will require at least one gallon of water daily. This water is for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. It is important to remember that this recommendation is the bare minimum; it’s always a good idea to store more water if you can.

Two weeks of emergency water is the recommendation. To meet the water needs of one individual for two weeks (one gallon per person per day), you will need to store 14 gallons of water. You will need to store 56 gallons of water for a family of four.

NOTE: Remember to factor in the water needs of your pets! Speak with your veterinarian to learn how much water your pets/animals need daily.

how much water do dogs need

Start Stocking Up Now

If your budget allows, start by stocking up on a three-day water supply for your family. If you have a family of four, a three-day water supply would be twelve gallons. There are also specific types of containers you can wash out and fill with tap water to add to your water supply; we will discuss those options in this article.

I want to remind you that you do not have to go out and stock up on your water all at once. I highly recommend storing a two-week water supply for your family, but it is essential to remember that something is always better than nothing.

If you are starting your food storage and emergency preparedness journey, start by stocking up on bottled water, don’t wait on this; buy a package of bottled water or a gallon jug THIS week. Emergency water is essential!

Basic Emergency Water Storage Options:

-Commercially Packaged Water:

I recommend buying water bottles and gallons from the store! Water bottles are safe to drink for up to two years. Buying commercially packaged water is the easiest way to start stocking up on water.

-Two-liter Soda Bottles/Gallon Water Jugs:

Reusing plastic soda bottles and gallon water jugs is a great, affordable water storage option. There are specific guidelines for safely storing tap water in containers. You can read all of the guidelines

*Tap water stored in plastic jugs must be rotated much more frequently than commercially packaged water.

-Five Gallon Jugs:

Five-gallon jugs are an excellent option for storing a more significant amount of water. You can purchase these jugs from grocery stores, Walmart, Amazon, etc. You can also refill your five-gallon jugs for an affordable price in many places.

*Follow all sanitation guidelines for cleaning and refilling your jugs.

Check out these stackable Five-gallon water storage containers! These would be an excellent option for stacking water in the back of closets, etc. If you want to stack your emergency water, buy containers designed to stack on top of each other.


Do NOT store your water in milk jugs. It is challenging to clean a milk jug properly, and you run the risk of bacteria growing and water contamination.

Do NOT store your water in plastic containers used to store toxic chemicals, i.e., bleach/pesticides/etc.

ONLY store your water in FDA-approved, food-grade water storage containers.

You can check out various types of water storage containers, water purification tablets, water filters, etc on my Amazon Store!

Emergency Water Storage Tips:

-Store your water in a cool/dark location
-Keep your containers away from direct sunlight
-Label your containers as drinking water
-Write the storage date on the container
-Keep water away from any toxic substances

I have created a free printable with information about -Emergency Water- for you; you can download it HERE!

I would love to hear your input!

I hope you found this article helpful. Thank you for visiting my site; I am so happy to have you here! My goal for this website is to help people consistently work on their food storage and emergency preparedness goals.

I love when I get to hear back from you. I would love to chat! If you have any resources you are looking for regarding food storage or emergency preparedness, please contact me.

You can find me on Instagram @foodstoragemama. On the gram, I share simple recipes, grocery budgeting tips, ideas for stockpiling your food storage, and more.

You can also follow along on the Modern Food Storage Mama Facebook page!


Meet Brittany


I’m a mom of 5 and know through first-hand experience how having food security can make a world of difference. Now I’m on a mission to help others get prepared for any emergency.


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