How to Store Water Long Term – Informational Guide

Are you able to name the single most important emergency supply, the one that, if not prepped, could result in the quickest and most serious consequences for you and your family?

The answer is, of course, WATER

Water availability is one of the biggest issues in an emergency, so you need to have water prepped in order to be fully prepared for an intense situation.

Our Favorite Options for Long Term Water Storage




Blue 55 Gallon Water Storage Tank by WaterPrepared

Best Overall

AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder


Emergency Zone Long Term Water Storage System

Best for the Money

How to Store Water Long Term

As mentioned above, water storage is not really something you want to mess around with in an emergency situation. But how do you know the best way to store enough water to keep you and your family alive when things get intense? Below are some of the most common options for water storage.

For Pure Water Sources Recycled Bottles

This option is the best if you are looking to save money, or if you are looking to save the planet by repurposing bottles that have already been used. If you have access to a pure water supply (as most people do via their household sinks), this is a great option for you.

Make sure to purify the bottles/jugs you will be using beforehand (more instructions on that in the “People Also Ask” section below). Then, simply fill the amount of water you will need and store in a cool, dark place.

For Maximum Convenience Water Bottles

If you want to prep for an emergency quickly (i.e., weather forecasters are predicting a storm is coming in the next twelve hours and you are not already prepared), store bought water bottles are your best solution. These are not ideal for the environmentally conscious, but they are absolutely guaranteed to be pure and not need treatment, and they can easily be bought in large quantities. They can take up a decent amount of storage space, so they should really only be used as a last minute solution.

High Capacity Storage Containers

Let’s say you want to be prepared no matter what, and you are the kind of person who likes to overshoot the recommended storage requirements, because you can just never be too safe. You will best reach peace of mind with a high capacity water storage container such as the products we will be reviewing below. These containers take up a minimal amount of space and can typically store water safely for up to five full years without risk of contamination.  

People Also Ask

Since water contamination can be one of the biggest issues in an emergency, we have compiled a list of additional questions to help ensure your water storage system is airtight (pun intended!):

How Long Can Drinking Water Be Stored?

It depends on the source of your water. As we have discussed above, contamination can be a big issue for water storage – if any part of your water is exposed to a potential contaminant, your whole water supply is lost and you basically have to start over from zero.

If the water in your storage system was water you bought specifically for that purpose, or water from bottles you bought at a store, it is likely good to last for up to five years without becoming contaminated.

On the other hand, if you simply filled up a water tank from a faucet or your outdoor garden hose, you need to rotate that water out on a yearly basis to ensure it remains clean.

How Do You Treat Water For Storage?

Before you even address the issue of treating your water, you definitely need to treat your water container. Clean your intended container with dishwashing soap, and then sanitize afterwards with a solution of one quart of water to a teaspoon of odorless liquid chlorine bleach (available in any grocery store).

Then, to sanitize your water itself, you can boil it for at least one full minute. You can also treat your water with bleach, which may seem counterintuitive given bleach’s poisonous properties. But if you put sixteen drops of bleach in each gallon of water, you will have clean, drinkable water after thirty minutes.

How Much Water Should I Store?

This answer really depends on how many people/animals you intend to be living off of your water supply, and for how long you need it to be able to last.

The United States Federal Government recommends that every household have enough emergency supplies, including clean drinking water, to get them through seventy two hours, the typical response time for federal authorities to reach everyone in an emergency. 

A good rule of thumb is that you will need one gallon of water per person per day, so three gallons of water for every person you want to keep safe.

Quick Take | Best Long Term Water Storage Options

Before diving into our review of the how to store water long term, here is a quick take of our top 3 picks:

Our Favorite Water Storage Solutions

If you do choose to go the high capacity storage container route, here are your best options:


  • Made of heavy duty plastic.
  • Valve is made of high quality brass.
  • WaterPrepared provides good customer service.
  • Durable, will last a long time and not have any leaks.
  • Lid can be removed by hand and will not require a wrench


  • Not designed to be stacked more than two high.
  • Not translucent enough to see the interior water level.
  • No way to connect two different tanks when they are stacked on top of each other.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers say that this product has worked out so excellently for them, they buy more than one in order to have more on hand. Plus, the containers are stackable, so having more than one will not cause any sort of increased storage issue since they can simply sit right on top of each other.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like the many high quality design details included on this tank, including the UV protectant infused into the plastic in order to prevent damage from direct sunlight exposure, and the flat sides that make the tank narrower and allow it to be placed right up against a wall for storage.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want to store water for emergency situations, but you do not want a storage system that will take up a ton of space, this is the ideal product for you. Those who live in apartments or areas without garages will appreciate this model.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Although there is sun and heat protection measures with this tank, there is no way to prevent the water from freezing if temperatures drop below a certain level.

Bottom Line

The Blue 55 Gallon Water Storage Tank by WaterPrepared is our all around best choice for most amazing product option. Be mindful of storing it in lower temperatures, though.


  • Extremely tough and durable.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
  • Can be easily repaired if it does rupture.
  • Comes with a free disaster prep e-book.
  • Odorless, will not give stored water any sort of tangible taste or smell.


  • Does not come with any sort of repair kit.
  • Process of filling and emptying can be pretty messy.
  • Has a tendency to move around if it is not secured adequately.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are extremely impressed with the storage options for this bladder. It is lightweight, whether empty or full. It will not take up very much space and is flexible, even when filled. When it is completely drained, it can fold up to about the size of a paper bag, so you can easily tuck it under the front seat of your car or even inside a kitchen drawer as opposed to a huge plastic tank that takes up the same amount of space whether empty or full.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We appreciated that, unlike many other water bladder product options, this bladder does not give your stored water any sort of chemical, plastic taste. It is also completely odorless, so your hands will not smell funky after filling it.

Who Will Use This Most

People who are interested in a water storage option that can easily be thrown into the bed of a truck alongside other bug out items will greatly appreciate this product. If you want a model that can easily be transported and then even more easily stored, this is the product for you.

What Could Be Improved and Why

It is advertised as being able to hold sixty gallons of water, but multiple users report that it can’t hold more than forty five gallons at the maximum.

Bottom Line

The AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder is the best water storage option if you are looking for something flexible that can be folded down. Keep in mind it can’t store the amount it claims to be able to, though.


  • Strong and durable.
  • Stack well on top of each other.
  • Will keep water safe and clean for five years.
  • Comes with five boxes and six bags and spigots.
  • Comes with Aquamira purifying water drops containing chlorine dioxide and phosphoric acid.


  • Should not be stored in any sort of extreme weather conditions.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers appreciate the ease of operation with this system. It comes with an attachment compatible with indoor plumbing systems, so you will not have to rely on your outdoor garden hose to fill them up, and the boxes themselves are quick and easy to assemble.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We were completely blown away at the price of this storage system as compared to its quality. You would think that, at a certain price point, functionality would begin to be compromised, but that could not be farther from the truth with this product.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are most interested in storing water in a method that keeps it safe and clean for a maximum period of time in case of any sort of emergency, this is the storage solution for you. Thanks to the included purifying drops and five year guarantee, you will not be able to find a system that works better than this.

​What Could Be Improved and Why

Because of the sealing system around the spigots, these bags/boxes are unable to be used more than once. You will need to buy another system once the five years have elapsed.

Bottom Line

The Emergency Zone Long Term Water Storage System is a top notch model that is pretty much ideal for doomsday prepping with water storage. Keep in mind that after five years, though, the water is no longer guaranteed and will need to be replaced.

Perks of Having Water on Standby

When it comes to water storage, you really do not want to compromise on quality in order to save a few bucks. Here are the reasons you need to invest in a top quality water storage solution:

Contamination Risk

Quality water storage containers are specifically designed to minimize the risk of contamination for extended periods of time. Once your water is contaminated, it becomes essentially useless, so make sure you choose a high quality container.


What if you do not happen to have garage space? What if your water storage solution needs to fit into a hall closet? High quality containers are stackable or can be folded down when not in use to ensure that you can always have them on hand, no matter what your space constraints.

Ease of Filling

Many people never prep a water storage solution because they just do not want to deal with the hassle of filling up tanks. But, a high quality container will have spigots and attachments to make the process of filling as easy and accessible as possible.


Water preparation and storage is an absolute must for any family that wants to be fully prepared in the event of a disaster situation. Our water storage solutions offer some of the best ways to guarantee peace of mind and the ability to stay safe and healthy, no matter what happens. 

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