How Much Water Should I Store?

You can last for weeks without food, but you can´t survive without drinking water. Without a good source of clean, drinkable water, you simply won´t survive very long. In the event of an emergency, water can be interrupted for days or even weeks. Storing an adequate supply can help.

Store at least one gallon per person per day. Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can. - FEMA
Water Storage
Normal Water Usage

The average person uses around 70 gallons of water per day. This includes bathing, washing clothes and dishes, using faucets, flushing the toilet, and other uses. Let's take a look at the required amount of water stored per day per person per FEMA against the normal water needs of the average person and a family of four. You can see why it's critical to store as much as you can. Ultimately, you will need to build a long-term water storage as well.

Average Person

Because the average person uses around 70 gallons of water daily, this adds up to 980 gallons in a 2 week period of time.


1-gallon stored vs. 70-gallons usual usage

2 Weeks

14-gallons stored vs. 980 gallons usual usage

Family of Four

With a family of four, the math quadruples. And perhaps even more if you have children and more loads of laundry are necessary.


4-gallon stored vs. 280-gallons usual usage

2 Weeks

56-gallons stored vs. 3,920-gallons usual usage

Water Storage
Short-Term Water Storage
To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water. ~FEMA

Commercially bottled water

Store bought, ready to drink water, is best for short-term storage. Commercially bottled water is available everywhere. Some brands may be better than others so do your homework before you buy.

Popular sizes include:

  • 1 to 5 Gallon - home delivery
  • 1 Gallon - usually the best value
  • 1 Liter - strong plastic
  • 23.7 oz - strong plastic
  • 16.9 oz - single serving

Make your short-term water last longer

For best results

  • Store bottled water in the original sealed container.
  • Don't open a bottle until you need to use it.
  • Rotate through and replace each bottle after use.
  • Use the oldest first and place the new in back.
  • Do this & you will always keep your desired stored amount on hand: one gallon - per person - per day.
Bottled Water Storage

Storing bottled water in an extremely hot garage isn’t safe as heat can cause BPA and other chemicals to leach into the water. If you can store it inside, that’s better. If not, frequent rotation will help. Never store bottled water in a hot car. Always keep water containers elevated off the ground and away from direct sun and excessive light. Cover if necessary.