How exactly to store fresh water safely, in case of an emergency

Water (Pixabay/Pexels stock image)

Clean water is essential to a person’s health and well-being. In case of a natural disaster or other emergency, the normal water supply can be cut off, leaving someone with no drinking water and nothing with which to clean up.

That’s why it’s recommended that people keep a supply of fresh, potable water on hand.

Why store any at all?

There are several reasons to keep a supply of fresh water on hand. If a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado should strike, the power and water supply may be cut off. While crews work hard to get the power and water working again, it can take days, or even weeks, to get everything back to normal. Supplies of bottled water at the store will be scarce and it might be difficult to find a good water source. By planning ahead, however, you can stay hydrated and clean for the duration.

How much should you store?

Some experts say people should store at least one gallon a day per person for three days at a minimum.

Other experts say to plan for at least two weeks without water, just to be safe. Of course, this is just a minimum requirement and allows for a half gallon for drinking and a half gallon for hygiene for each person. The needs of every group or family varies (for example, pregnant or nursing mothers would require more), and those who live in hot, dry areas may require more water, as well. It depends on where you live, what natural disasters you face, and how much you’d like to keep.

What’s the best way to store it?

The best way to store water is to purchase a supply of bottled water from a local grocery store. However, regular tap water can be stored in clean glass or plastic bottles. Milk jugs, juice jugs, and other containers are suitable as long as they have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Some people choose to do both, by stocking up on bottled water and filling their own containers as needed.

How long can water be stored?

In theory, fresh, clean water can be stored for an infinite amount of time in proper containers.

What makes a proper container?

For starters, a good water container should be opaque rather than clear -- otherwise, it will allow sunlight to penetrate the water, which can lead to algae growth and contamination.

Plan ahead and rest easy.

No one wants to think about living through a natural disaster or other emergency. By being prepared, people can save themselves. A well-prepared family won’t have to wait in line for water or take up resources others need. Instead, the well-prepared family will be self-sufficient and able to cope better than most.