Water is essential to our well-being, we all need it, and we can’t survive without it. Experts agree we can only go a couple of days without water before becoming dehydrated.   Yet, many of us don’t have enough water stored to support ourselves, our families and our pets when facing disaster.

Teaching a Virtual Earthquake Preparedness Workshop for a business downtown Vancouver, I asked the 35 participants how much water they would need to store to ensure they are prepared for an earthquake or disaster. The amount of water they thought they should store was all over the place. Very few people knew the correct answer.

What about you – Do you know how much water to store so you, your family and your pets are prepared for a disaster?

I am hoping you said 4 Litres or 1 Gallon of water per person per day.

Daily Uses of Water

Girl brushing her teeth

4 Litres or 1 Gallon is a lot of water to  go through in a day but think about how you use water daily:

These are just a few of the ways we use water every day.  I am sure you have a few more water uses that didn’t make it on the list.

Depending on where you live and your situation, you may need to store extra water if:

Pets Need Water Too!

When determining how much water you and your family need, don’t forget your pets – like us, they need water to survive! dog drinking water

Experts agree a dog requires 1 oz of water for each pound of their body weight – doing the calculations that works out to a 10-pound dog needing 10 oz of water a day.  An adult cat requires 5 to 10 fluid ounces of water per day.  These amounts are a general rule of thumb.  If you have concerns about how much water your pet will require, I suggest you check with your vet.

You can also check out this Blog Post by Dr. Sarah Wooten for a great article on how much water a dog or cat needs.

Make sure to include your pet’s water requirements in your Disaster Supplies.

How Much Water Do I Need to Store?

I wish I had a crystal ball and could predict how long you and your family would be without tap water, but you guessed it – I don’t have a crystal ball.  There are so many different answers to this; you will need to make your own decision based on your unique situation and requirements.

72 hours has also been the number tossed around when it comes to Disaster Preparedness, but look at recent disasters, and 72 hours is often not long enough.  Hard-core preppers say anywhere from 2 weeks to a month and, in some cases, even longer.

The Easiest Way to Source Water

I believe the 2 easiest ways to store water are to purchase bottled water or if you have good tap water – use your tap water.  With your water safely stored away before a disaster strikes, you will eliminate the challenge of trying to source water for your family and pets.

The Bonus – if you do it now – there will be one less thing to worry about when facing a disaster.

lady buying water with a mask

1. Purchase Bottled Water:  Calculate how much water you, your family and your pets will need.  Go to your favourite Grocery Store and purchase a mixture of large water containers for use at home and smaller bottles to take with you should you need to evacuate quickly.

2.  Use Tap Water:  If you have good drinking water from your tap, use water-safe containers to store your water. Avoid using milk and fruit juice containers as they can leave a residue that can be difficult to remove and over time may cause bacterial growth.

Where do I Store my Water?

Your next step is to ensure your water is properly stored, ideally in a cool dark place.  Do not store in a hot place or in direct sunlight as over time, this can cause algae or mould to grow in your water containers.  Re-consider using glass containers as they may fall and break in an earthquake, and you could lose your water supply.  For a simple step-by-step guide to storing drinking water, visit this wikiHow site.

The biggest complaint I hear from city dwellers living in small apartments is I don’t have the room to store extra water – I hardly have enough room for me.

I have a solution for you – read on.  In the back of my kitchen cupboards, I found three personal-sized water bottles, and the idea hit me. What if you filled up your empty water bottles sitting in your cupboard with water and stored them in your fridge instead.  When you are heading out, take your water bottle with you if needed, and when you return home, refill the bottle and put it back in the fridge.  This will guarantee you will have a limited amount of water available.   It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction- you still should have 4 Litres or 1 gallon of water per person per day, along with water for your pets.

Your Challenge

I challenge you this week – make sure you have enough water safely stored away for you, your family, and pets to help you better survive whatever disaster comes your way.   Do it now because when the disaster strikes it will be too late.


Sign up for a Free 45-minute Disaster Preparedness Workshop to help you, your family and pets get prepared!  The next Workshop is on Feb 11/21 or Feb 25/21

Don’t be Panicked – Be Prepared!

Stay Safe

Jackie Kloosterboer