By Cordell Vail


At our emergency preparedness fair on 10th Oct 2015 someone asked me how much water to store for their animals. I had never thought of that. So I did some research. Here are some links and general information for you on that subject:

Animals in general
(see chart on this web page)

About 1 cup

5 to 10 gallons

½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

Men 13 cups  Women 9 cups (Mayo Clinic)

Here is a picture of the water barrels that PEP-C is selling.  They are $35 each if you buy them one at a time and $27.50 if you get on the list to buy them with a group where 20 or more are purchased by the group.  Barrels are used.  They had food grade syrup in them so they just have to be washed out.  You pay for them when you pick them up.
Here are the details if you want to buy one.

From our June 2012 Wauna EP newsletter:
Here is a water purification idea that you can make for about $15:
Water Purification With 5 Gallon Buckets
If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, just send an email to:

Here are is a wonderful slide presentation by Lana Nelson of Bigfork Ward - Kalispell, Montana Stake
Water Storage Facts Made Simple

Here are some other web pages on water storage:

Unique Water Filter System For Emergency Water Storage:

Questions I like to know the answers to related to Emergency Water Storage:

Can drinking bottled water from the plastic container cause cancer (especially if left in a hot car)?
(Answer provided by Pat Allen..... Thanks Pat)
False. In the United States, plastic water bottles are regulated by the FDA as "food contact substances" and held to the same safety standards as food additives.

Do you need to put bleach in the water you store?
Every source I have read says that if you are using tap water the chlorination in the water
is all you need to store the water if you rotate it every 6 months.

If you add bleach, how much should you add?

If you are storing non-tap water, The American Red Cross recommends
that you add 16 drops of bleach (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of water

Regular Chlorine Bleach 5-6% Sodium Hypochlorite
1 quarts/liters 4 drops
2 quarts/liters 8 drops
1 gallon / 4 liters 16 drops / 1/4 teaspoon
5 gallons 1 1/2 teaspoon
7 gallons 2 teaspoon
15 gallons 4 teaspoons
55 gallons 1/4 cup

How long will water keep without rotating it?
The Red Cross also recommends that you change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.

How much water should we store?
The Department of Homeland Security recommends that you store at least one
gallon of water per person, per day and keep a three-day supply of water on hand.
The American Red Cross also recommends one gallon of water per person per day, but with
a two-week supply for every person in your household. For a family of four, that's 56 gallons of water.
Source: Walnut Creek, CA Water District Emergency Water Storage Site

Can you store water in 50 gallon barrels?
We have 15 - 50 Gallon barrels of water stored behind our house. I dump them once a year. Makes great water for our burned up lawn in the summer and we have enough water to share with the neighbors if we have a disaster. But they are very heavy and if we ever had to use them, I would build a rack to roll them up on one at a time to dispense the water. We have a spigot that fits the barrel. That should give us enough for washing clothes and sanitary needs too.

Where can I purchase 50 gallon water barrels locally?
The best source we know of is our local PEP-C organization in Tacoma, WA. You can see the water storage barrels they have available at their web page:

There are other local stores that sell them but most of them are charging 2 or 3 times what PEP-C is charging. Shop around first.

What is the best size water storage container?
That depends on how much room you have, where you are going to store the water,
and how far you have to take it to dump it out very 6 months. For many people
a 5 gallon container is the easist to handle. You can buy this one
on for $9.99 (5 gallon and 1 gallon containers are available in stores everywhere.)

Can you store water in plastic gallon milk cartons?
Many people say the plastic is so thin germs can get in. That is nor more true than of any
plastic jug and you should not put any of your water storage near any chemicals. I have
never read that the plastic on a milk carton would let chemicals or germs in more then
any other plastic. Obviously the thicker the plastic the more it resists outside elements.
The main reason the FDA says you should not use milk cartons to store water in
is because it is very hard to get all of the milk out of the pores in the plastic even with washing,
and that can cause bacteria to spread into the water. Also milk cartons are bio-degradable
and will not last. They are also very thin and will rupture quite easily.

Are soda pop 2 liter plastic bottles good for water storage?
Pop bottles or heave plastic juice bottles are much better for water storage. They
will last longer, they wont rupture as easy, and they are easy to store in small
places like a closet or under your bed if you don't have much room. If you lay
them on their side be sure the lid is on tight and it is best to at least put them
in a plastic bag so if they leak the water will be contained.
According to my research on plastic pop bottles or thick plastic juice bottles they are not biodegradable.
If you have any other information on them, please email it to us so we can include it here.
Here is one example web page:
2 liter pop bottle non-biodegradable

If I live in an apartment how can I store water?
If you live in an apartment or have limited storage space in your home, you can put
water bottles under your bed. Best to put them in a plastic container that slides under
the bed, so if one of them leaks it wont get your carpet wet.

Here are some links I really like by Government or University type Emergency Water Storage Web Pages:
(there are so many of these kinds of pages on the Internet it would be impossible to list them all)
American Red Cross Emergency Water Storage Fact Sheet
American Red Cross Emergency Water Storage Web Site
NOAA Drought Information Web site
Utah State Emergency Water Storage Web Site
DeAnza College Emergency Water Storage Facts
Contra Costa Water District, Emergency Preparedness Water Storage Plan

Commercial Emergency Water Storage Supplies:
There are 100's of commercial water storage sites on the Internet if you want
to buy supplies like water storage containers. Just use your Internet search engine
to find them.

Here is just one of them that has a very clever idea for catching rain water:


21 Jun 2007


About storing water in milk jugs: the reason for not doing that
is that about 25 years ago, dairies switched to a biodegradable jug (I
was informed upon investigation into the below-described events). They
eventually start decomposing and then, naturally, they leak.

I learned this the hard way, at the time having my fruit room floor
completely lined three deep with jugs of water. Started wondering why
the floor was wet; cleaned up the water, but next day it was wet again.
And then it got worse, and worse still. Lined up the kids assembly-line
style and passed all the jugs upstairs and outside, lined them up on the
patio, watched them for a couple of days, and found that about a third of them
were leaking. Within a week of being outside, another third started leaking.

In my provident living classes I recommend that milk jugs be used only
for short-term water storage, like keeping some in the freezer (if you've
got room), both for freezer efficiency and for taking on road trips and
camping. I've gone to the barrels outside, and 3- to 5-gallon containers
in the basement.

Also, I learned this winter when a water line froze that runs through
the crawl space, so I had to shut off the house lines completely, all the
outside water was also frozen so none of that storage could be used.
Also the 5-gallon containers in the garage froze. So it was only the
smaller containers in the basement that were usable. Good lesson for me. And
since I'm stake FS specialist, I get lots of opportunities to share the
lessons *I* have learned--LOL! I think that's one reason the Lord
sends me so many learning experiences!

Also (more practical experience with water storage), as a teenager I
spent two years in Tripoli, Libya (as an Air Force brat). The Air Force
required us to treat our drinking water with one TABLESPOON of bleach
per gallon. You place it in the gallons at night; by morning the chlorine
has dissipated, and it's drinkable. We all survived! (With no Tripoli
Trots--LOL). The rule now is, add bleach until you can SMELL the
chlorine in the water; then you know you've added more chlorine molecules than
there are bacteria molecules. Let it set until the chlorine dissipates
(you can no longer smell it), and then it's safe to drink. One might
need to do some type of filtering, such as the method of running a towel
from an upper bucket of dirty water to a lower catch bucket (I can never
remember what this is called--not osmosis), in order to remove the
particulate matter if the water source is especially yucky, but these
two methods combined use materials commonly available to us and will take
care of basically any situation we're likely to face in the U.S.

--Kathie Shepherd
Stansbury Park, Utah


More good things to come!!!!!!!

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Last Updted 19 Nov 2016