During an average day, each of us uses approximately 150 gallons of water1—nearly 55,000 gallons per year! Storing that amount of water is not possible for the average household but we should store enough for our family’s subsistence needs (drinking water only) and/or maintenance needs (drinking, food preparation, basic hygiene, etc) for a two week period.
Each person needs to drink a minimum of 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) of water per day. More is better but less will create physical stress and possible ill effects. This amount does not allow for hygiene needs. If you live in a hot or dry environment and/or if you are physically active, greater water intake is required. Additionally, children, nursing mothers, and sick people usually need to drink more than 2 quarts per day.1
The standard is to store 1 gallon of water per person per day to cover drinking and food preparation. To determine how much water storage you need for your family, multiply the number of gallons/person times the number of persons in your household:
72-hour kit 3 gallons / person X ______ people = _____________ gallons
2 weeks drinking only 14 gallons / person X ______ = _____________ gallons
2 weeks maintenance 28 gallons / person X ______ = _____________ gallons
(includes minimal hygiene)
IMPORTANT: if the food you include in your Emergency Kits is largely dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods, you will need to store more water than the minimums listed above.
1 Making the Best of Basics Family Preparedness Handbook, James Talmadge Stevens, 1996