Few people acknowledge that water is a finite resource. But even though we think that water is a resource we will always have access to, there is no guarantee in this respect whatsoever. Natural disasters may occur without notice, not to mention that human-made conflicts could also lead to a water shortage issue. This is why you might consider looking for the best water storage containers. Water is a valuable resource, and we cannot live without it, as it supports life.
With that in mind, what is the purpose of a water storage container? Would it really be helpful in the event of a water shortage? What should you consider when shopping for such a product? These are some of the questions we’ll tackle in our comprehensive guide. We will also introduce you to the water storage container reviews, to make the decision-making process easier for you.
How Much Water Do I Need to Store?
An essential consideration when planning to store water for emergencies is deciding on the right quantity of water. There are several considerations about water worth noting in this respect. For example, the EPA recommends one gallon of water per person. A half-gallon would be designated for drinking, whereas half a gallon for cooking and washing. In the case of a natural disaster or national emergency, the authorities recommend having sufficient water for a two-week time.
On that note, one person should store 14 gallons of water. Essentially, depending on the size of your family, you might need to store a considerable amount of water. On a day-to-day basis, though, we consume 70 gallons of water per person. But it makes sense that, in the event of a disaster or emergency, water must be conserved and used sensibly.
Apart from the amount of water you should store depending on the size of your family, there’s another important consideration. That would be relocation – is that necessary in your case or not? If the answer is positive, then you should account for the weight of the container once it is filled with water. While a 55-gallon barrel weighs roughly 23 lbs. when it’s empty, when filled with water, it might weigh up to 484 lbs.
With that in mind, you should consider essential aspects such as accessibility and location. This is why some people choose to purchase several smaller reservoirs or containers due to portability reasons. More specifically, a 5-gallon container might weigh up to 45 lbs. when filled with water.
Most Important Water Storage Container Features
When shopping for a water storage container, durability is an essential consideration, as you want the water to be properly preserved. This is why you should consider the construction of the item.
This is just as important. Most reservoirs are made from food-grade plastic, which is durable, lightweight, cheap, and easy to move around. It’s important though for the container to be made from BPA-free plastic.
Even if the container you purchase is the best one on the marketplace if you cannot seal it perfectly, the water will get contaminated. This is why you should factor in the quality of the closing system.
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Storage Container
At first, you might think that the concept of storing water for emergencies is simple. But since water is an indispensable good that supports life, you should ensure that your source of water is free of contaminants and clean. Prior to purchasing a reservoir, there are several questions you should ask yourself.
Water storage just for one or for the entire family?
Depending on the answer to this question, this will impact the amount of water you will actually store. If you’re considering storing sufficient water for your entire family, then opting for a larger, 55-gallon barrel might be the right alternative for you. In this way, you’ll have enough water if anything unexpected were to happen. As for larger families, evidently, the amount of water should be greater. It’s just as important to get a water pump in order to access the water from the reservoir or barrel.
Ease of Transportation
If you need to relocate quickly in the event of an emergency, ease of maneuverability and transportability is paramount. For instance, let’s say that there’s a wildfire. In this case, a 5-7-gallon water tank might be your best option. You should always choose something that best suits your needs. And if added weight might complicate your situation, be sensible about it when shopping for containers.
Why am I storing water?
For one thing, although it is true that water doesn’t come with an expiration date, the environment in which it is stored will inevitably impact its quality and properties. This is why it might be advisable to replace your emergency water on a yearly basis if it hasn’t been used. As a rule of thumb, always consider the specifics of an emergency-like situation and prepare for that accordingly.
Best Water Storage Containers Comparison Chart
iSpring T32M Pre-Pressurized Water Storage Tank
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Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
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LCI Plastic Water Can, Desert Sand, 5-gallon by LCI
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55 Gallon Water Preserver Concentrate
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DATREX Emergency Water Pouch for Disaster or Survival
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WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container
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Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
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Best Water Storage Container Reviews – Top-Picks
1. iSpring T32M Pre-Pressurized Water Storage Tank
The iSpring T32M, with a capacity of 3,2 gallons, is not the biggest water storage container, but it’s a reliable one and can fit under your sink. And depending on the size of the space, this water tank can work perfectly in a vertical and a horizontal position.
What is great about this product is that the metal body has a special surface that prevents it from rust. It’s sturdy metal but won’t contaminate your water. You won’t feel a metallic aftertaste in your water, which is fantastic but unfortunately cannot be said of many products.
It works with reverse osmosis systems. So if you’re looking for smaller, residential water storage and have an RO system already installed in your home, you might want to consider this product as it is well-priced for what it does and its size.
It comes pressurized to 5-7 PSI. Additionally, you can change to a 3/8-inch quick connect fitting before you purchase the tank if you wish to connect to such a tube. Just call the customer service team.
- Tested and approved to meet NSF/ANSI Standard.
- The unit arrives pre-pressurized at your door.
- No need to purge this tank. Just fill it up the first time, drain it and it will be ready to use.
- The shut-off valve isn’t pre-installed. You need to be careful when screwing it, to not break the valve since it is made out of plastic.
2. Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
These 5-gallon stackables might be a good option for you if you want a durable water container for emergency storage, boating, camping, road trips, and the list may go on. The purpose of these containers is to facilitate ease of maneuverability and transportation. This is why you will find the built-in handle very useful.
The main concern you might have when purchasing a water storage container could be the manufacturing material. And this makes sense since you plan on storing potable water. The good thing is that the material used is non-toxic, food-grade plastic.
This is a water container that can withstand heavy-duty use, as the plastic is more durable in comparison with others.
Something worth noting would be that you shouldn’t store a plastic container on cement flooring directly. That’s basically because the lye in the cement, over the course of time, is likely to leach into the plastic. In other words, that will result in the contamination of the water, although it can take some time.
- It’s a convenient solution
- Easy to stack and store
- Well-made and sturdy
- The caps are prone to leak, which can be quite inconvenient.
3. LCI Plastic Water Can, Desert Sand, 5-gallon by LCI
Moving on, this is a military water can. Its original purpose is to preserve the initial quality of drinking water. One of the reasons why you might consider investing in one is because it is a good alternative for unexpected scenarios and emergencies.
Thanks to the screw top closure, you’ll find that filling the can is rather easy. As for pouring the water, you do that through a small capped opening. There is also a venting cap that facilitates easy pouring. Since the cans come with handles, this allows you to easily maneuver them, even in the dark.
Another good thing worth mentioning would be that the water, once stored in the can, doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste. This means you can enjoy good-tasting, potable water even in the event of a water shortage. All in all, this is a good product for the purpose it was designated.
- BPA free water can
- It comes with a handle, which facilitates easy pouring and handling
- There is a venting cap that comes in handy
- It accommodates only 5 gallons of water, which can be an inconvenience to some buyers.
4. 55 Gallon Water Preserver Concentrate
If you’re getting ready for emergency scenarios, then you should definitely consider purchasing a suitable water preserver concentrate. This is just as important as getting an adequate water storage container. In this way, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy potable water.
This particular product ensures that your water is safely stored for five years in a row. You might use it for tap or bottled water.
Most importantly, this kills and deters the re-growth of harmful bacteria. Over the course of time, the likelihood of potable water becoming undrinkable is considerable. There are serious health issues that could emerge, including dysentery, typhoid, and the list could go on.
On the other hand, a slight inconvenience might be that there is a hint of chlorine taste in the water once you treat it. Nevertheless, there are no changes whatsoever in terms of consistency and texture.
- Preserves the quality of your drinking water
- Deters the growth of bacteria
- Eliminates the possibility of threatening diseases
- It causes a slight chlorine-like aftertaste
5. DATREX Emergency Water Pouch for Disaster or Survival
This is another product that belongs to the list of items you should invest in if you want to be prepared for national emergencies or anything of the kind.
The good thing is that these water pouches offer safe, potable drinking water. Of course, the packaging is PBA free. It is also worth noting that the water has been filtered, and it addresses the FDA specifications.
Concurrently, another reassuring aspect is that the water remains safe to use even when stored in harsh environments. The taste of the water remains intact. It doesn’t have the slightest taste of plastic.
On a different note, some customers that ordered these water pouches noted that some of the pouches they received leaked. Even so, this didn’t happen to most people, so those were isolated scenarios.
- It keeps the water fresh and potable for five years.
- It can be stored in harsh environments
- The taste of the water isn’t jeopardized
- The packaging could be improved, as some clients got leaking pouches
6. WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container
Now, we’d like to introduce you to a water containment system. More specifically, this can be used for storing up to 100 gallons of fresh, potable drinking water in a standard bathtub. This can be lifesaving in the case of a life-threatening situation. This can be an excellent option if you don’t have the space for storing a large container in your house.
If you’re looking for a temporary water storage solution, this might be it. This system will keep the water fresh for up to 16 weeks. Nonetheless, the source of your water will also play a part in the equation.
Using this is fairly easy. What you have to do is lay the liner in the bathtub. Afterward, you should link the fill stock to the faucet. There is an included siphon pump that facilitates an easy system of dispensing water.
- Made from durable, FDA compliant plastic
- Easy to use
- Offers a versatile solution that most people could turn to
- It is a pricey alternative in comparison to other options.
7. Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
And our next recommendation for a water storage container would be this sturdy water tank. The quality of the item is guaranteed since the plastic is thick and durable. It is a good alternative if you’re looking for a viable option for bulk drinking water storage.
Moving on to the shape and the size of the container, it ensures ample capacity. This is worth considering when it comes to practicality. When empty, the container is relatively lightweight, meaning that you won’t encounter a lot of challenges when moving it around.
In addition to that, storing it shouldn’t pose any risks, as the likelihood of rusting is diminished. With that in mind, if you have limited storage space for keeping such a reservoir in your house, yet you still want to have access to water in the case of emergencies, this might be a good option.
- Versatile container
- Sturdy and functional design
- Leaking could be an issue, as noted by former customers.
- Cleaning the inside of the container can be challenging since the opening is quite narrow.
8. Emergency Essentials Water Barrel
This would be our first recommendation for a reliable water storage container. Why is that? For one thing, the capacity of this barrel is 55 gallons. This means that you get enough water for cooking, drinking as well as basic sanitation for a small family. In other words, in the case of an emergency, you’ll have access to water for roughly fourteen days.
Note that the barrel doesn’t come with a lid. Instead, it features two bungholes with screw caps. In addition, the barrel comes accompanied by a list of instructions. There’s a slightly off-putting smell the first time you open the barrel. But that easily goes away if you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
As for the cleaning procedure, it is easy. You have to rinse it, add some bleach, and allow it to do its job. Then, you re-rinse it and that’s about it. The barrel is well-made and durable, meaning that it can stand the test of time.
- Durable, sturdy construction
- Provides sufficient water for 14 days for a family of 4
- Easy to fill and empty
- At first, the barrel has an unpleasant odor. With proper cleaning, though, it goes away.
- Difficult to move.
9. 15 Gallon Emergency Water Storage Barrel
This is another product that might be worthy of your attention. Firstly, it is made from durable, BPA free, heavy-duty plastic. Concurrently, the material is food grade, which means that it aims at preventing the growth of bacteria.
As for the capacity of this barrel, it is not as large as the capacity of our first recommendation. That would make it suitable for one person only.
But the main advantage of this model would be that it is portable. Therefore, in the case of emergency prepping, you won’t find it challenging to transport it from one place to another. We could say that it provides sufficient water for up to two weeks for a person.
Being so easy to manage, it might be a good idea to get several smaller barrels, instead of one large one. But this is entirely up to you, depending on what would work best for your circumstances.
- Durable construction
- Material that inhibits the growth of bacteria
- Easy to move and manage
- Small capacity – provides enough water for a person only
10. RomoTech Vertical Polyethylene Reservoir
In case you prefer investing in a water reservoir that offers sufficient water for an extended timeframe, this could be a good alternative. Its capacity is 550 gallons. Due to its durable, sturdy construction, it is approved not only for storing water. But it is also used for dispensing or storing chemicals.
Thanks to the large fill cap and drain, you’ll find that emptying and filling the reservoir isn’t really difficult. As for the material used, it is heavy-duty, UV-protected, medium-density polyethylene. Another nice characteristic would be that the material is translucent. There are also helpful molded graduation marks that indicate the level of the liquid.
Evidently, due to its high capacity, moving this around when it’s full isn’t the easiest of tasks. This is why this might not be the right to buy unless you have the possibility to move it.
- The large fill cap and drain makes filling and emptying easy
- Made from high-quality, UV-protected polyethylene
- Useful molded-in channels for saddle straps
- Moving and managing the reservoir when filled with water could be challenging.
11. 250 Gallon Rain Harvest Collection Tank, Red Brick
Moving on to another water storage container with a high capacity, this one boasts a 250-gallon capacity. This is a different kind, though, as it is made for gathering rainwater. Unfortunately, rainwater is a valuable resource we don’t usually take advantage of.
To that end, as opposed to using potable water for flushing toilets or providing water supply for livestock (specifically in rural areas), a collection tank is a worthwhile investment in the event of water shortage.
This product is also made from non-toxic plastic – namely polyethylene, meaning that you don’t have to worry about this. Concurrently, the material is approved by the FDA, featuring zero BPA.
On a different note, this particular model is designed to collect rain. Therefore, it comes with all the fittings you need in this respect. There is an additional stainless-steel strainer whose purpose is to keep out debris such as leaves or sticks. It is also designed to keep mosquitoes or pests away.
- A good alternative if you want to take advantage of rainwater
- Sturdy construction
- Made from non-toxic plastic
- For house consumption, a proper filtration system is necessary.
12. 260 Gallon Emergency Water Storage Tank
The capacity of this water storage tank – of 260 gallons – could make it an appealing option for large households. The good thing is that, regardless of its high capacity, it can easily fit through the majority of door frames. The weight of the tank is 70 pounds, and it takes up some space.
However, even if you don’t have a basement for storing the tank, it can be stored outdoors, since it is stable. The one problem could be that of freezing. But that will depend on the area in which you live. Note that the maximum temperature that such a tank can cope with is approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a different note, the storage tank is very well-made and durable. This means it is a one-time investment. Before filling out the tank with freshwater, rinsing it is really easy, ensuring that the quality of the water is excellent.
- The tank comes with the necessary chemicals that provide potable drinking water for a minimum of five years.
- It fits in tight spots
- Due to its size, finding a suitable spot for storing it might be a challenge.
13. Norwesco 45223 35 Gallon Horizontal Water Tank
This is an excellent multi-purpose water tank. That is to say, it can be used for various purposes: emergencies, unexpected water shortage, camping, irrigation, and the list can go on. In addition to that, you can get the size that best meets your needs.
Most importantly, the manufacturing technology and materials used meet the FDA specifications. This is normally of major interest when storing water.
Since there are two grooves in the tank, you’ll find it relatively easy to tie it down or attach it. However, since the tank doesn’t come with any fittings, you’ll need to purchase what you need separately. More specifically, this doesn’t come with a cap.
Something worth noting would be that since this is sturdy and well made, you won’t have to worry about leaking or anything of the kind.
- Sturdy construction
- It works as designed
- You will need to purchase additional fittings.
Water Purification Methods You Could Use
If you aren’t that knowledgeable about the topic of survival or prepping for emergency scenarios, you might not know a lot about various water purification methods. But the truth is that there are several options. Technology has certainly come a long way and this is distinguishable in all domains – this included. And while some of the methods are newer, others are as old as time – for instance, boiling water. But let’s have a closer look at the most popular methods, shall we?
Water Purification Tablets and Drops
When it comes to purifying large amounts of water, then one of the most efficient ways of doing that is by purchasing water purification tablets or drops. This could be a practical alternative to some people, which is why it’s worth considering.
Depending on the type of product you have purchased, you have to follow different steps in order to ensure that the water is safe for consumption. Usually, there are comprehensive instructions on the packaging of the product, which indicates the number of drops or tablets you should include for the best results.
On a different note, after adding the tablets or the drops, there is a waiting period. Usually, after that waiting period, which can be up to 60 minutes, the water should be safe for consumption. Nevertheless, if you intend to purify the water for long-term storage, in the event of an emergency or disaster, you should simply add the drops or tablets, seal the container and store it adequately.
Generally speaking, water purification drops and tablets include chlorine, iodine, or chlorine dioxide. Each chemical has different properties in terms of taste and efficiency.
While it is true that boiling the water might not be as efficient as utilizing tablets or drops, it is still worth considering. Boiling will kill viruses, bacteria, and parasites. As for the unpleasant taste of boiled water, usually, this goes away if you let the water sit for a while.
This is considered one of the most efficient methods of purifying water. That’s because it successfully removes viruses, bacteria, parasites, chemicals, and heavy metals. Nonetheless, it is a relatively slow process, which is the main inconvenient element.
But what does this process actually entail? Basically, it gathers condensation from the boiling process. Once condensed, the vapor is freed from all the impurities that were originally present inside the water. There are countertop water distillers you can choose from, although a DIY water distiller might be used as well.
Water filters are also highly effective in this respect. What do they do? Essentially, a water filter quickly eliminates parasites, microbes, traces of heavy metals, and so on. But this will ultimately depend on the type of water filter. For instance, portable water filters aren’t as efficient as whole-house water filters. When it comes to electric tankless water heaters, it is important to include a sediment filter. Usually, this optimizes the efficacy and durability of the heater.
Depending on the amount of sediment present in your source of water, you might need to change the filter more or less often. Concurrently, if you are worried about filtering out bacteria as well, then experts advise investing in an absolute filter.
Water Storage Preparation: Key Considerations
We’ve already mentioned that the safest material for storing water for an extended timeframe is polyethylene-based, food-grade plastic. This should be the first thing you check prior to filling out a reservoir or a container.
It’s also essential to eliminate the likelihood of contaminating the water via contact with the outside environment or with skin. It’s also advisable to utilize translucent or opaque reservoirs in favor of transparent ones, which are contraindicated.
Potential Water Sources
It is true that you can collect your water from various sources, including rainwater. Still, you should carefully assess the quality of the source prior to using the water. For instance, when it comes to city tap water, this is usually treated accordingly with chlorine. To that end, you don’t have to worry about further disinfecting it, as this will mean increasing the acceptable levels of chlorine and other disinfecting chemicals.
On the other hand, if you use water from a stream or a lake, you should adequately treat it prior to storing it away. Here is a list of potential water sources worth considering:
- Melted ice cubes
- Water from pools (recommended for hygiene, not for cooking or drinking)
- Water from the water heater tank
- Natural springs
- Streams and ponds
How to Clean Water Storage Containers: Important Guidelines
After reading our reviews, you might have concluded that the containers should be adequately prepped prior to filling them with potable water. And this makes sense. The same goes for filling out containers or reservoirs with juice, milk, chemicals, or other substances. Here are the steps you should follow while cleaning and preparing personal water storage containers:
- Firstly, you have to thoroughly wash and rinse the reservoir. You might notice a slightly off-putting smell after opening the reservoir for the first time. But that’s normal and it will go away.
- Secondly, you should proceed with creating a bleach cleaning solution. Add a teaspoon of unscented liquid bleach for each quart/liter of water.
- Thirdly, you should pour the mix into the reservoir and close it accordingly. Go ahead and shake well until you know for sure that all the inside of the barrel is adequately coated in the cleansing solution.
- Allow it to sit for roughly 30 seconds, then pour the mixture out.
- You should leave the reservoir to air dry.
- Once you have completed all these steps, you can pour clean water into the container and seal it accordingly with a lid.
How NOT to Store Water?
There are numerous misconceptions when it comes to water storage. One of these would be that if the water is clear, that means it is portable and safe for consumption. But the truth is that some of the most harmful contaminants are colorless. Therefore, if the water is clear, that’s no guarantee that it is free from parasites.
Another important aspect worth noting would be that there’s no actual expiration date for water. While that’s true, after the water has been sitting around for a while it might not taste the same. This doesn’t have to do with the water, but with the packaging. That is to say, you cannot depend on a container forever, as it won’t keep the water stored in perfect conditions for an extended timeframe.
So, as already mentioned, you should never store water in a container that isn’t advertised as a food-grade water storage container. There are plenty of buckets or barrels you can purchase – that’s for sure. They might be more affordable and may look the same as the more expensive alternatives, so you might feel tempted to choose them.
However, you should NOT store water in such containers unless they have been created for this purpose. The material of the container is of utmost importance for your health and general wellbeing. More specifically, there are several types of plastics on the market. 1, 2, 4, and 7 are advertised as being safe for the manufacturing of food-grade containers. You can see this number by looking at the bottom of the container. This number is usually in a triangular recycling symbol.
Another important piece of information you’ll find by looking at the bottom of the container is whether the container is safe for a freeze or not. You’ll also determine whether the container can be stored in a pantry or not.
- You should NOT store water in a container that stored a different liquid beforehand. Some of the barrels and containers included in the review section can be used for holding chemicals and other substances, for instance. If the reservoir has been previously used for a different purpose, this would make it unsafe for storing potable water for an extended timeframe. Even after washing that reservoir several times, that still wouldn’t make it a safe alternative for you. It is difficult, if not impossible, to completely remove traces of chemicals, sugar, bacteria, so on and so forth.
- You should NOT keep water in cardboard containers either. Although this may seem like common sense, some people have resorted to this alternative, and it is not safe. The reason why you should avoid doing this is that cardboard isn’t a long-term, safe solution.
- You should NOT keep potable water in metallic containers unless they are made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is the only type of metallic container that doesn’t corrode. In the case of corrosion, the water is prone to go bad really fast. By all means, you should avoid consuming rusted water.
- You should NOT store water in a container that cannot be sealed. While there may be some exceptions to this, the ground rule is that this would expose your water to contamination. Particles may enter the water and jeopardize their quality.
- You should NOT store water in a container that presents the slightest likelihood of contamination. If you have a source of doubt whatsoever, you should simply choose a different type of reservoir and that’s it.
- You should NOT keep the water reservoir in direct sunlight or heat. The ideal scenario would be having a temperature-controlled, shaded room such as a pantry – preferably windowless, a basement, an underground cellar, and so on. This is important especially in the case of long-term water storage, as temperature changes will imminently affect the quality of the water.
- Does stored water have a funny taste?
Once water is stored for a significant timeframe, even if it is potable, it will have a funny taste. That has to do with the fact that, over the course of time, water loses the oxygen particles in it – meaning that it goes flat. But you shouldn’t be too concerned about this unless it tastes acrid, swampy or really odd. In this scenario, if it tastes nothing like water, you shouldn’t drink it.
- Should I also have a filtration or purification system at hand?
Perhaps you plan on storing enough water for fourteen days. In this case, should you also consider investing in an appropriate filtration or purification system? The thing is that even if your basement is fully stocked with adequately purified water, you should still have access to a method of purifying water.
Emergencies, by definition, are unpredictable. This is why you should be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you have an appropriate, capable filtration or purification system, this means that you can extend your survival to days or weeks.
- Do I still need to replace my water storage containers if they haven’t been used?
Let’s say that you followed all the safety guidelines for adequate water storage. In this case, should you still worry that the water must be replaced? This is a necessity, as there’s no way you can entirely keep out microscopic bugs. As a rule of thumb, you should replace your water supplies yearly. And while you might not necessarily contact a deadly illness if you consume that water, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In the event of a survival situation, your priority should be having access to safe, potable water.
This doesn’t mean you should waste the water. Simply reuse it for a different purpose when you replace it.
The truth is that water storage is a topic you shouldn’t overlook, as unpredictable scenarios are bound to happen – and being prepared for whatever may come will make a world of difference. With that in mind, the best water storage containers can really save your life, granted that you’d chosen yours based on your needs and specifications. Hopefully, our comprehensive guide and our water storage container reviews have served their purpose, easing the prepping process for you.
The authorities recommend storing water for at least two-week time. As for the average person, one requires roughly one gallon of water per day. By factoring in these key considerations, you will maximize the safety of your family. Thanks for reading this far and stay safe!