Top 11 Best Water Supplies for an Emergency

It’s a subject most people don’t like to think about. That is why so many put it off until it is too late. However, creating an emergency plan, especially an emergency water supply plan, is of utmost importance to ride out any disaster and keep you and your loved ones safe. 

Why You Need an Emergency Water Supply Plan

As vital as water is to all of life, people tend to overlook this crucial element when planning for an emergency. In survival, it is imperative to remember the rule of 3:

  • You can survive for 3 weeks without food

  • You can survive for 3 days without water

  • You can survive for 3 minutes without air

As you can see, while food is certainly important, water is even more vital for a number of reasons.


Keep at least 1 gallon per day per person to stay adequately hydrated. Children, elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and sick people will require more than this. You also need to take into consideration your activity levels as well as weather conditions. 

Your body is made up of about 60% water, so when an emergency happens, you’ll want to keep it well hydrated in order to perform the necessary tasks involved with surviving. Furthermore, don’t forget your pets. Just like you, they also need sufficient water.


While 1 gallon of water is recommended for each person, this is the absolute minimum and you will most likely use this amount alone for drinking. Remember that you also need it for bathing, brushing your teeth, and possibly for that call of nature. You want to keep yourself clean, not just for your benefit, but also for others around you!

Health and Well-being

Once you become dehydrated, your body starts to send certain signals of distress. These symptoms include sluggishness, dizziness, and headache, not to mention feelings of thirst. If you feel thirsty, your body is already 20% dehydrated. If you experience any of the symptoms described above, make sure you consume water immediately.

Types of Water Supplies for an Emergency

Home Water Storage

For home water storage, you need to consider that the typical household uses up to a hundred gallons of water daily. In addition to drinking it, you bathe, cook, wash dishes, and flush the toilet a few times a day. 

A good rule of thumb for storing long-term water at home is to allow a minimum of 1 to 2 gallons per individual per day. You also need to factor in how long you may need that water whether it’s for 5 days, 5 weeks, or even possibly several months.

Emergency Home Water Storage
Emergency Home Water Storage – Be Prepared for the Storm

One of the most convenient means is simply to store large packages of bottled water or reuse 2-liter soda bottles and fill them. To keep water cool, you could consider a Corkcicle bottle, but as it doesn’t hold much, you would pour from your emergency water source into this.

Additionally, if you know that a disaster is coming your way, filling up your bathtubs using a waterBOB container is also a wonderful method to make sure you have a huge quantity of water for cleaning as well as flushing toilets. 

55-gallon drinking water drums with a roller and pump are also available. Their blue color aids in keeping out the sun’s UV rays so water stays fresh.

Rainfall barrels are another terrific method to store water because you can utilize it for watering a garden or for your pets to consume. Also, in case your other drinking water supply becomes depleted, you can filter this water for drinking.

When storing your water, make sure to label your containers. You don’t want to mix up your drinking water with water for cleaning and bathing. 

For more in depth information, read our Ultimate Guide for Emergency Home Water Storage.

Home Water Filters

Groundwater or freshly accumulated rainwater is ideal for home filtration. However, if you do have to use standing surface water, stay clear of water with debris and bad odors. Additional filtering and sterilization methods are as follows:

  • Filtering – Diffuse water with mechanical or gravity-driven filtration. You can use a Big Berkey 99.999% filter; however, you don’t need to be fancy with this. You can even run water through a clean T-shirt or handkerchief, preferably cotton, to remove debris.

  • Boiling/Pasteurization – Boil water vigorously for 3 minutes to eliminate bacteria and other dangerous microorganisms. Double this time for every 5000 feet of altitude and/or if the water is contaminated.

  • Chemical sanitation – Chlorine and iodine are utilized to sanitize water. If using chlorine bleach, add 8 drops of traditional bleach per gallon of clear water, combine, and let stand 20 minutes. You should still detect a faint bleach odor.

Portable Water Storage

For portable drinking water storage you can take on the go, you can use recycled 2-liter bottles, camelbak bag, or collapsible water containers. These containers are ideal if you and your family are stranded outdoors.

Portable Water Filters

For mobile filtering systems, check out the LifeStraw, or the Katadyn pocket microfilter. It’s recommended to keep one per car as well as a number of spares.

Other alternatives for emergency purification consist of:

  • Lifestraw – With this straw-type filter, you can drink water directly from a lake or stream.

  • Katadyn TRK Drip Gravidyn 99.999% – This container has a spigot you can fill with water and the force of gravity draws the water through the filtration system.

  • Platypus GravityWorks Filter – Fill and hang the reservoir with dirty water while gravity pulls the water through the filter.

Top 11 Best Water Supplies for an Emergency

To help you adequately prepare for any and all situations with the best emergency water supply system whether at home or outdoors, take a look at the following list of the top 11 supplies for any circumstance.

WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container

The waterBOB is a water containment device that stores up to 100 gallons of clean drinking water in your bathtub in case of an emergency. It keeps water fresh for up to 16 weeks depending on the water origin.

It is user-friendly for both storing and using water for your day-to-day requirements. A siphon pump is provided to conveniently dispense the water into pitchers or jugs.

Assembled out of durable, food-grade plastic that is FDA certified for food storage space, the waterBOB contains no BPA (bisphenol A) chemicals.

There were some concerns and disappointments about the fill tube and siphon design causing leakages. Nevertheless, this water storage container saw many people through some major hurricanes in recent years.

WaterBOB Bathtub Storage Emergency Drinking Water Container, Comes with Hand Pump, Disaster and Hurricane Survival, BPA-Free (100 Gallon) (1 Pack)
  • COLLECT WATER IN YOUR BATHTUB: The waterBOB is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub to prepare for an emergency and survive. Don’t wait in line to buy expensive bottled water or worry about keeping large barrels or tanks. Collect water in the large container that you already have—your bathtub!
  • PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES: Never be without water in an emergency. During a hurricane or tropical storm, water main breaks and storm surges can interrupt or even contaminate your water supply. This is when the waterBOB comes in handy as a temporary water storage system. Don’t be caught unprepared for an emergency. The waterBOB is an essential for your emergency preparedness kit. Feel safer by purchasing a waterBOB today!
  • KEEPS WATER CLEAN FOR DRINKING: Water stored in an open bathtub with dirt, soap film, and exposure to debris will spoil and become useless. WaterBOB lets you negate these health risks and make your bathtub a clean and fresh water storage container that helps keep water fresh for up to 16 weeks. Help keep your water clean for drinking, cooking, washing, and flushing.

API Kirk Containers 6 Gallon Oversized Samson Stackers, Blue

The square design of these containers prevents them from toppling over on bumpy SUV rides. Plus the quality of these jugs and the seals surpass many other 6-gallon plastic jugs with the same price tag or even higher.

The only drawback to this top quality product is that there needs to be a short set of instructions on how to set up the spigot and take the lids on and off efficiently. That said, this is an ideal water storage option for home or travel.

6 Gallon Oversized Samson Stackers, Blue, 4 Pack (24 Gallons), Emergency Water Storage Kit - New! - Boxed! Includes Bonus Spigot
  • Portable
  • Stackable // Water NOT included
  • BPA free Food-grade Plastic; Plastic resin USA sourced

WaterStorageCube BPA Free Collapsible Water Container with Spigot

This storage container is eco-friendly and made out of safe high-grade plastic with no BPA or plastic smell. 

You can use this container in temperatures from -4 F to 127 F and it will stay flexible without losing shape. It is very easy to fill, dry, drain, and reuse. You can take it on all outdoor adventures.

You can safely store all the water your family requires in case of an emergency or natural disaster. It’s also great as water for a vehicle emergency and can be transported easily.

Although there were some reports about the spigot leaking, you get a good product for an affordable price. The manufacturer offers a satisfaction guarantee for 30 days and you can send the item back for a refund or replacement if not satisfied. It’s a good idea to test out the container as soon as you receive it.

WaterStorageCube BPA-Free Collapsible Water Container with Spigot, Food-Grade Camping Water Storage Carrier Jug for Outdoors Hiking Hurricane Emergency, Foldable Portable Water Canteen (1.3 Gallon)
  • FOOD-GRADE ODORLESS GREAT TASTE: PE plastic made with highest quality USA raw material. Environmentally friendly non-toxic, No BPA PVC or DEHP, No plastic PVC odor and water taste will not be affected, Transparent.
  • LIGHT, COMPACT, PORTABLE AND REUSABLE Foldable space saving design store away easily. Remains soft and flexible even when cold yet retains shape and is easy to fill, dry, drain and reuse. Soft molded handles make holding and transport easy. Perfect for outdoor activities like camping, RV, hunting, hiking, backpacking, fishing, picnics, BBQs, sports, festivals, parties and beach.
  • WORRY-FREE AND LEAK-PROOF Custom made lid and spigot with gasketless design means no leaks or parts to replace. Good spigot water-flow. Thicker lid to withstand heavy pressure. Easy on/off spigot with controllable flow. Our premium collapsible container is 1-piece design with no seams to leak or handles to break. Durable and dependable.

Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens

If you have a Survivor Filter, you can easily attach the canteens to it and extract clean water.

The Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens are 33 ounces (1 liter) per unit and enable you to conveniently fill from any freshwater resource. 

The BPA free materials make these canteens eco-friendly, refillable, and reusable. They are a cinch to clean and include a push-pull cap to shield the mouthpiece from debris and damage. 

When filled, it stands upright as a water bottle and is very easy to carry. In addition, it saves space since you can roll it up, fold, or flatten it.

The nozzle and mouthpiece can be prone to breakage and leaks. However, the manufacturer stands by this product with a lifetime guarantee. If you don’t absolutely love the canteens, you can send them back for a 100% refund.

Survivor Filter 1L Clear Collapsible Water Bottles - Travel, Hiking, Foldable, BPA-Free - 2 x 33oz
  • Collapsible Water Bottles - The ideal portable water bottle. Each canteen in this 2 pack can attach to any portable water filter with a 28 mm thread. Each holds 33oz (1L) of water, and is leak proof.
  • Hiking Water Bottle - With built-in handles and sturdy carabiners, these canteens can clip on to most backpacks and make staying hydrated easy. Fill up when needed, or roll them and tuck them away.
  • BPA Free Flexible Water Bottle - Each lightweight water bottle is durable and made for outdoor environments. Comes with a mouthpiece cover to protect it from dirt and damage. Easy to clean.

S.O.S. Emergency Water 5-year Shelf Life

This product consists of 62 sachets of 125 ml purified emergency water ready for prompt usage. These packets are compact as well as light-weight.

Because they have a 5-year shelf life, you minimize the potential wastage of these space-saving sachets. 

These durable packets are measurable and easy to use. Therefore, they make a great addition to your survival kit and are certified by the US and Canadian Coast Guard.

The sachets are only half a cup each and the source of the water is not specified. That said, the water is safe to drink and great for compact storage.

S.O.S. Emergency Water 5 year shelf life - 62 Individual 4.22 Oz Packets (With Tips)
  • Compact and light: 62-125 ml sachets of emergency purified water for immediate use; lightweight and extremely compact.
  • 5 year shelf life: loss potential minimized due to individual sachets and ideal for storage with a 5 years shelf life
  • Easy to use: simple to dispense from a measured sachet; superior packaging materials for optimum durability in your survival kit

AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder (60 Gallon)

This is especially great for RV camping and boasts a material that is thinner and lighter weight than virtually any other rubber bladder but deceptively tough. They include a sample for you to test and see for yourself.

The bladder is extremely safe, BPA-free, heavy-duty, and light. The internal lining is 100% Food-Grade TPU (Polyurethane) and the External Shell is Tough Nylon. 

Bear in mind, these tanks are manufactured and warrantied for a stationary environment so if you’re planning to use it another way, please make certain to secure it snugly and keep it from sharp objects.

Water Storage Tank - Bladder - Bag - AQUATANK2 Stores Water For Your Emergency Water Supply - It Is a Light-Weight and Portable Water Container, Food-Grade Material, no BPAs (60 Gallon)
  • THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD FOR THE RV OWNER" Sick and tired of stretching hoses while you're out boondocking? Don't go dry camping without bringing an AQUATANK-2. It will change the way you enjoy your RV experience! Keep in mind, these tanks are made and warrantied for a static environment so if you're going to use it some other way, please make sure to secure it tightly and keep it away from sharp objects.
  • DECEPTIVELY TOUGH!" Our AQUATANK-2 systems have state-of-the-art material that is thinner and lighter than any rubber bladder but much stronger than you would imagine. Test the sample provided and see exactly what we mean; just try to poke it, stretch it, or rip it and you'll see what we mean. It's Tough Stuff!
  • NO WEIRD TASTE" BPA's are not good... they can interfere with your natural hormone functions and they make your water taste just plain weird. Say no to Bisphenol A and Phthalates and invest in the safest, toughest, and lightest bladder on the market! The AQUATANK-2's inner lining is 100% Food-Grade TPU (Polyurethane) and the Outer Shell is Durable Nylon.

Eagle 1656MBBG Straight-Sided Drum, 55 gallons, Blue

This tough, lightweight 55-gallon drum is designed of blue high-density polyethylene which protects from UV rays. It is also weather and chemical resistant. You can use this drum for smaller bottles, cans, and 5-gallon jugs. 

There were a few complaints about the quality of the gasket and that the drums don’t have any measurement markers on the side. However, many consumers found these containers safe, airtight, and well worth the money. 

Eagle 55 Gallon Straight-Sided Barrel Drum with Metal Band and Plastic Lid with Bungs, Blue, 1656MBBG
  • Straight-sided drums are traditional style with horizontal ribs and similar top and bottom diameter dimensions.
  • Constructed of blue blow-molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with UV inhibitors, is durable and lightweight, weather and chemical resistant White Bung Lid with metal lever-lock band closure UN/DOT rated for solids Made in the USA
  • For use with smaller non-damaged bottles, cans, carboys and 5-gallon pails of non-leaking hazardous material

Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks

If you are a hiker, backpacker, traveler, and/or mountain biker, this is a must-have for your portable drinking water needs.

The airtight SlideLock slides both ways to open the reservoir quickly and close it firmly. It holds 3 liters and weighs 6.5 ounces. 

The bite valve and mouthpiece make it a little difficult to suck the water out and some people had trouble cleaning the drinking tube. Nonetheless, this is one of the best portable reservoirs you can find with a manufacturer limited lifetime warranty.

Platypus Big Zip EVO Taste-Free Water Reservoir/Hydration Bladder, 3-Liter
  • Premium taste-free, leak-proof reservoir with fast flow rate offers hydration on the go for hikers, backpackers, travelers and mountain bikers
  • Secure SlideLock slides both ways to open reservoir easily and close it securely; handy pincher grip allows for easy one-handed filling
  • The high mount quick-disconnect offers fast, easy access without having to dig down into a pack to attach or detach the drink tube

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw filter’s microfiltration membrane layer eliminates 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.999% of waterborne parasites. It also removes the tiniest microplastics found in the environment (down to 1 micron).

Plan to use this filter for a long time – the microbiological filter can produce 1,000 gallons of safe, pure drinking water with correct usage and upkeep.

Before using the LifeStraw, you will need to soak it first. Also, some consumers reported difficulty sucking the water through. That said, many others have been very happy using it with some of the dirtiest water.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 1 Pack, Blue
  • Removes Bacteria & Parasites: The Microfiltration Membrane Removes 99.999999% Of Waterborne Bacteria (Including E. Coli And Salmonella), And 99.999% Of Waterborne Parasites (Including Giardia And Cryptosporidium)
  • Removes Microplastics: Removes The Smallest Microplastics Found In The Environment (Down To 1 Micron), And Reduces Turbidity Down To 0.2 Microns
  • Rigorous Testing: All Claims Are Verified With Laboratories Using Standard Testing Protocols Set By The Us Epa, Nsf, Astm For Water Purifiers

Aquatabs AQT100 Water Purification Tablets

Trusted for over 20 years, these tablets are perfect for use in all emergency situations and have been used to treat over 3 billion gallons of water per year.

There is no odd taste and it is fast acting; ready to drink 30 minutes after you mix it. You get consistently great tasting water every time. 

The individual blister packets do not have instructions on them, so you will need to keep the main package on hand. While they have a 5-year shelf life, keep in mind this is from the date of manufacture, not purchase. 

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Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

This amazing portable system eliminates 99.99999% of all bacteria, including cholera, e.coli, and salmonella; as well as 99.9999% of all protozoa.

The filter is rated up to 100,000 gallons and is suitable for outdoor activity, hiking, camping, scouting, international and domestic travel, and emergency readiness.

It’ also very versatile with disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or you can use the straw to drink straight from the water source.

With the mini filters, there are some reported issues with the quality of the gasket between the filter and bag. However, these are some of the safest systems available, filtering water down to 0.1 microns.

Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue
  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic international travel, and emergency preparedness
  • High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard 28 mm disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source

Go Berkey Portable Water Filter Kit

This sleek, stainless steel Go Berkey includes a BPA-free sports bottle which is perfect for long hikes or extended workouts. You also get a Go Berkey water filter to powerfully clean polluted water.

It has a 1-quart storage capability and generates up to 1 gallon of filtered drinking water per hour. 

You do need to prime the filter for water to flow efficiently through the filter which is time-consuming. For this reason, it likely works best for 1- or 2-person households. Nevertheless, it does a great job.

Go Berkey Water Filter Kit with 1 Qt. Berkey Gravity Fed Water Filter System, Berkey Sport Bottle and Black Berkey Primer
  • A PERSONAL WATER FILTRATION SOLUTION FOR ON THE GO- The 1-quart Go Berkey Water Filter System provides clean, refreshing water for on the go, at home and everyday use. The Go Berkey System is constructed of AISI 304 stainless steel and has a 1-quart storage capacity. It measures 14" tall with a 4" diameter when in use. When not in use, upper chamber nests in lower chamber and measures just 10" high with a 4" diameter when stored.
  • COMPACT DESIGN, WITH SAME CONTAMINANT REDUCTION PERFORMANCE AS LARGER BERKEY SYSTEMS- The system's Black Berkey Element addresses over 200+ typical contaminants that could be present in drinking water sources. Black Berkey Elements have been tested by accredited third-party labs that have reported that the elements remove or reduce over 200+ typical contaminants found in drinking water.
  • READY TO GO- The Go Berkey Water Filter is the smallest gravity-fed water filter system available (requires time for assembly and filtration), and is perfect for use in a dorm room, the office, hotels and more. Plus, it’s a great addition for your bug-out bag or travel gear, or keep it in your vehicle so it's easily available whenever and wherever you need it.

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

This high-quality filter features dual pumping modes and is excellent for backpacking. Particles in your water are eliminated and the activated carbon minimizes chemicals.

It generates up to two quarts per minute in the faster flow mode and one quart per minute in longer life mode.

This filter will take up more space in your backpack than other portable filters and takes more time to clean after a trip. This makes it ideal for larger groups rather than 1 or 2 people. 

Optimal Preparation

Now that your water is taken care of, you next need to make sure you have sufficient non-perishable food as well as any medical supplies and medications. You can never be too prepared. The more steps you take now, the more peace of mind you will have to face any and every situation.


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