Amount Needed
You need a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day per person for drinking and food preparation - a total of 14 gallons per person for a 2-week period. Additionally, another half gallon per person per day for bathing, brushing teeth and dishwashing will be needed.

A family of 4 would require a minimum of 56 gallons of water, and preferably 84 gallons for a 2-week period.

Source of Water
Do not overlook the water supply in the hot water tank and the toilet tank (be sure to shut off the incoming water valve in case the local water supply is not safe).

Store water reserves in thoroughly washed, clean containers. Plastic containers with tight-fitting caps are best. Glass jugs may be used but plastic has the advantage of being shatterproof and lightweight. Metal containers tend to give water an unpleasant taste.

Shelf Life
Clean water stored in clean containers with tight-fitting lids will remain palatable for an indefinite period. If using purchased water, follow expiration dates or rotate water every 6 months. Check the containers occasionally for leaks or cloudiness. If the water starts to look or taste bad, change it. If you have any doubts about the safety of the water to be stored, purify it before you store it.

How to Purify Water

  • The safest method of purifying water is to boil it vigorously for 1 to 3 minutes. To improve the taste of the water after boiling, pour the water from one container to another several times.
  • You can also purify water by adding any household bleach solution that contains 5.25 percent of sodium hypochlorite (most common bleach solutions contain this amount). Add the bleach solution to the water in a clean container. Mix thoroughly by stirring or shaking. Let stand for 30 minutes. The following table shows the proper amount of 5.25 percent solution to add to water.

Water Purification Recipes

Amount of Water
Amount of Solution to Add To:
  Clear Water
Cloudy Water
1 quart - (1/4 gallon)
2 drops
4 drops
1 gallon
8 drops
16 drops
5 gallons
1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
  • You can use ordinary 2 percent tincture of iodine, which you may have in your medicine Cabinet, to purify small quantities of water. Add 3 drops of tincture of iodine to each quart of clear water or six drops to each quart of cloudy water, and stir thoroughly.
  • You can safely use water purification tablets that release chlorine or iodine to purify water. They are inexpensive and available at most sporting goods stores and some drugstores. Or buy a manual pump style water filtration unit from a sporting goods store.