Creating and Storing an Emergency Water Supply - CDC Emergency Partners

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March 13, 2018

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CDC's Emergency Partners newsletter provides updates, resources, and useful tips to subscribers interested in emergency preparedness and CDC's emergency responses.

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Create and Store an Emergency Water Supply


tops of bottled water


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH-)related emergency preparedness and outbreak response has become one of the most significant and crucial public health issues in recent history. Emergencies can include natural disasters (for example, hurricanes, floods, and droughts), man-made disasters (for example, chemical spills into waterways), and outbreaks (for example, infections linked to water exposure after a disaster). Creating an emergency water supply for you and your family is an essential part of emergency preparations.

  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. You should consider storing more water than this for hot climates, for pregnant women, and for persons who are sick.
  • Store at least a 3-day supply of water for each person and each pet. Try to store a 2-week supply, if possible.
  • Observe the expiration date for store-bought water. Replace non-store bought water every 6 months.
  • Store a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach (label should say it contains between 5-6% and 8.25% of sodium hypochlorite) to disinfect your water, if necessary, and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing. Check CDC's website for specific directions on how to disinfect water with unscented household liquid chlorine bleach.

    Make Water Safe in an Emergency


    pot of boiling water


    In emergency situations, listen to local officials to find out if your water is safe. If it is not, use bottled water if possible; bottled water is the safest choice for drinking and all other uses. If bottled water is not available, water contaminated with germs can often can be made safe to drink by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering. Water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals will not be made safe by boiling or disinfection. Use bottled water or a different source of water if you know or suspect that your water might be contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals.



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