Top 8 Ways Your Family Can Store & Collect Water for Emergencies

Water is a vital resource that we often take for granted in our daily lives. Being able to turn on a faucet to access water without any other effort is truly a gift.

However, during emergencies such as natural disasters, power outages, or other unforeseen circumstances, access to clean water can become uncertain.

That’s why it is crucial to have a plan in place to store and collect water for emergencies.

Keep in mind, during a crisis, if you’re on city water, it will still continue to run even after the power goes out. However, depending on the length of the emergency, it won’t flow forever.

Let’s explore the top eight ways your family can ensure a sufficient water supply during times of crisis:

  1. Water Storage Containers: Investing in water storage containers is an excellent way to start your emergency water supply. You can store them indoors or you can look into an outdoor above-ground or buried cistern to keep the water filled. Look for containers made specifically for water storage, such as food-grade plastic or heavy-duty containers. Aim for a minimum of 2 gallons of water per person, per day. Store these containers in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. You should also sanitize the water when you put it into the container. Rotate every 6 months to a year.
  2. Bathtub Water Storage: In the event of a water shortage, your bathtub can become a valuable resource. Clean and sanitize it thoroughly, then use a bathtub water storage bag or a large plastic liner to hold water. Fill it with water and cover it securely. This additional supply can be used for hygiene purposes, such as flushing toilets or basic cleaning needs. You can also fill any and all other containers; bowls, cups, used water bottles, zip-lock bags, etc. Anything that can hold water!
  3. Rainwater Harvesting: Take advantage of rainfall by setting up a rainwater harvesting system. Install rain barrels, 5-gallon buckets, trash cans or cisterns to collect and store rainwater. Remember to filter and purify the harvested water before consumption. Rainwater is ideal for non-potable uses like gardening or cleaning, but with proper filtration, it can also be used for drinking in emergencies. You don’t have to connect it to your roof, you can have an open container that is covered with landscape fabric to keep debris and bugs out.
  4. Well Water: If your property has a well, it can be an excellent source of water during emergencies. Ensure that your well is in good working condition and have a backup hand pump or generator in case of power failure. I also recommend that anyone who has a well, also has a cistern in which water can be pumped into for everyday use or emergency use. The cistern can be above or below ground, but it’s just an extra source of water and can be accessed at any time. Regularly test the well water quality to ensure its safety for consumption. If you’re like me and you have high iron in your well, you’ll need to have extra filtration options that work without electricity like reverse osmosis or distillation or have alternative energy sources that can sustain your current filtration setup.
  5. Water Filters: Invest in water filters or purifiers designed for emergencies, ones that don’t take electricity are preferred. It could be the camping style filters, filter and boiling, distillation, reverse osmosis, tablets, bleach, UV, or any other type of filtration and purification.
  6. Bottled Water: While it may seem obvious, having an emergency supply of commercially bottled water is a must. Keep an adequate stock of sealed water bottles with long shelf lives. Most bottled water can last 1-3 years if stored properly. Keep it out of direct sunlight, keep it in a dark, cool place. We like to store ours in closets, cover them with blankets or store in plastic storage bins. If your storage area is above 80 degrees F, rotate the water every 6-12 months. In general, rotating it naturally is the best way to go with bottled water. You can rotate by drinking it, giving it to your plants or animals or using it to cook or clean with. Bags and cans of water are also good choices.
  7. Freeze Water: While it’s true that your freezer will go out if the electricity goes out, if you have a generator, you can keep your freezer running. Alternatively, by filling your freezer with bottles or zip-lock bags of water, you are ensuring that the contents stay colder for longer, as well as generally making your freezer more efficient on a daily basis. You can take the water bottles out at any time, thaw them in warm water and use them as you normally would. Frozen water really has no expiration as far as I’m aware as it’s frozen!
  8. Community Water Sources: In certain emergencies, community water sources such as swimming pools, lakes, or rivers might be the only available option. However, exercise caution and treat the water appropriately before consumption. Use water purification tablets, portable filters, or boiling methods to eliminate potential contaminants and ensure its safety. You’ll want to keep your own safety in mind with this option as you’d be hauling water and bringing it home, others less prepared may notice you. Just something to keep in mind.

Preparing for emergencies means being proactive about ensuring a sufficient water supply. Remember to regularly inspect and maintain your water storage systems and keep an eye on expiration dates for stored water.

Proper storage, filtration, and rotation are keys to success with food or water. Prioritize your family’s safety and well-being by taking these steps to secure a reliable water source during times of crisis.

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Morgan is the founder of Rogue Preparedness. She has been a prepper for over a decade. She's a wife, mother of two daughters and is homesteading off grid. She teaches people how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

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