Water By the Numbers: How Much Should You Have on Hand?

In a crisis, clean water isn't just a convenience — it's a lifeline. Having water on hand for drinking, cooking & cleaning is critical.

But how much do you need? And how much should you store for your family? I did some digging & here's what I found.

Overall, FEMA recommends half a gallon of drinking water per person per day. But that number goes up if you're in a hot climate. Children, nursing mothers, and sick people will require even more.

But that's just for drinking. You'll also need about a half gallon for cleaning, and another half gallon for preparing food. Again, this is per person.

So if you're a family of 4, that's 2 gallons for drinking, 2 gallons for cleaning & 2 gallons for preparing food for a total of 6 gallons per day.

Of course, there's no perfect "1-size-fits-all" number. Maybe your family uses more water. Maybe you have neighbors you'll want to take care of. Maybe you're worried some of your water will leak. In these cases, I lean towards 1 simple rule. It's better to have too much than too little. But this should give you a rough outline of how much water you'll need on hand.

Now, this usually leads to a lot of questions. I don't have time to go into detail on every one today, but I'll try to answer a few briefly:

How do I store that much water? You can get reusable water bricks and stack them in their garage. You can also filter the amount of water you need for the day so you don't have to store large amounts of water at 1 time. Both are good options.

How can I keep all that water clean in an emergency? Gravity-powered filters are the easiest answer. They work in power outages, and usually last a while.

How long can I store water? Purified water stored correctly can last up to 6 months. After that, you'll want to rotate in fresh, cleaned water.

Water is one of, if not the most, important things you'll need in any emergency. And having the right amount on hand after a disaster can be critical in keeping your family safe & hydrated.


  • Michael J Justice - September 17, 2023

    I have searched online and you have the best supplies for a emergency, From Bulk 25 year shelf life food to , generators ! I’m glad I stumbled across your company 🇺🇸

  • Cheryl - September 17, 2023

    This is a concern of mine what to store water in. That it can hold more than a gallon or so. Any suggestions ?? Thanks

  • Susan - September 14, 2023

    This has been a concern of mine for awhile. Thank you.

  • Lena - September 14, 2023

    Thank you

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