Water Storage Tips
To Assist In Emergency Preparedness
The Water Quality
& Health Council offers important tips for storing water to help families
and individuals prepare for emergency situations. In addition to ensuring
safe water during periods of elevated terrorist alerts, home water storage
is an important measure in preparing for natural disasters, such as floods,
hurricanes and ice storms.
While many individuals
rush to purchase bottled or distilled water during times of crises, another
viable option for securing a supply of safe water is the storage of tap
water for future use. Following are easy-to-implement guidelines to ensure
that tap water remains potable while in storage:
least one gallon of water per person, per day in a cool, dark place.
individual must drink at least two quarts of water every day. Children,
nursing mothers, the elderly and people in warmer climates need
more. Additional water should be reserved for personal hygiene and
food preparation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security encourages
individuals to store enough water to last a minimum of three days
- bearing in mind that water is needed for drinking as well as for
personal hygiene. Water should be collected on days when it appears
free of sediment or color. On certain days, particularly after a
hard rain or heavy snowmelt, some tap water may have a brownish
color and contain sediment.
containers for water storage; disinfect before use.
plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are ideal. Other
options include fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never
use a container that has previously held toxic substances. Containers
for water should be rinsed with a diluted chlorine bleach solution
(one part bleach to ten parts water) before use.
treat water with a chlorine bleach solution prior to storage to
prevent buildup of harmful bacteria or pathogens. Replace water
every six months.
If your water
is treated commercially by a water utility, it is not necessary
to treat water before storing it. If you have a well or public water
that has not been treated, disinfect the water prior to storage
using liquid household bleach containing 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite.
Do not use scented or color-safe bleaches or bleaches containing
soaps. The American Red Cross and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management
Agency recommend the following procedure for treating water for
- Add six
drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented bleach per gallon of water.
- Stir and
let stand for 30 minutes.
- If the water
does not taste and smell of chlorine after 30 minutes, add another
dose of 1/8 teaspoon and let stand another 15 minutes.
- Seal the
containers and label with contents and date of preparation.
additional sources of water.
to stored water, other sources include melted ice cubes, water drained
from the water heater faucet (if the water heater has not been damaged),
water dipped from the flush tanks (not the bowls) of home toilets,
and liquids from canned goods such as fruit and vegetable juices.
Unsafe water sources include radiators, hot water boilers, waterbeds,
and swimming pools and spas.
These tips are based
on information provided by emergency preparedness experts from the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management
Agency and the American Red Cross.
For more information,