How to Store Water Properly

According to a 2012 poll of US adults, 53 percent do not have a minimum 3 day supply of non-perishable food or water. That is a scary number of unprepared families. Survival during a crisis will be very difficult without food and more importantly water. After about 3 days without water, your brain will begin to shrink and organs will start to shut down.

Cape Town, South Africa has been hit by a massive drought recently. There is a very real threat of running out of clean drinking water completely. A 2014 survey found that 1 in 4 of the world's 500 largest cities face growing stress on their water supply. It is estimated that by 2030 the global demand for fresh water will outpace supply by 40 percent.

Storing water will ensure your family has access to clean drinking water during an emergency. Water doesn't have a real expiration date, however, if stored incorrectly it can become toxic. Water should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a basement or windowless pantry. Sunlight and heat create the ideal conditions for bacteria and algae to grow.  Heating plastic containers will leach chemicals into the water faster.


  • Only store water in food grade containers.
  • Plastic for water storage should be BPA free. BPA will leach into the water supply over time.
  • Glass containers can be used to store water, only if they haven't previously stored something else.
  • Stainless steel containers won't leach any chemicals into the water. Do not put tap water treated with chlorine in a stainless steel container.  The chlorine will erode the metal over time.
  • Water blatters allow you to quickly line a bathtub and fill it during an emergency. Bathtubs aren't sterile and they are open to contamination. A water blatter keeps the water sealed and clean. They can't store up to 100 gallons.


  • Do not store water in anything other than food grade containers.
  • Do not store water in a container that has previously housed oils or chemicals.
  • Avoid washed out milk jug and juice or soda bottles for long terms water storage.
  • Don't store water in cardboard containers. Boxed water won't last long.
  • Do not store water in metal containers (except stainless steel). The container will break down and rust over time.
  • Do not store water in containers that can't be sealed. Open water is easy to contaminate.
  • Avoid sunlight and direct heat when storing water.
  • Avoid any containers that may have been contaminated.

Store water in a variety of containers sizes. This will make carrying water during an evacuation easier. Water should be rotated once a year even if stored in the best conditions.