Preparedness Fundamentals

Water Sources

Water Sources 1855

If an earthquake, flood, winter storm or other disaster occurs in your community, you might not have access to clean water for days, weeks or even months. Take some time now to store emergency water, filtration and purification supplies, and learn several filtration and purification methods.


You and your family can survive for many days without food, but only a short time without water. Following certain emergencies, there may be significant damage to regional and local water supply systems, and even wells. Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. Store a minimum of 2 weeks worth of water for each family member and household pet. One gallonper person and pet per day is recommended for drinking, cooking and minimal washing. Consider what you may need for dishes, laundry, and even cleaning wounds! (Remember, larger animals require much more water!) Write the date on the water storage containers and rotate every six months if you don’t plan on purifying the water before use.

Outdoor Water Sources

If you need to seek water outside your home, there are several sources. Be sure to filter and purify the water before drinking it.

  • Rainwater
  • Ponds and lakes
  • Natural springs
  • Streams and rivers

Indoor Water Sources
Don’t forget your ice cubes!

Toilet Tank (not the bowl) - contains clean water which can be used directly from tank. Do not use this water if you have added any chemical treatments (cleaners) to the tank.

Hot Water Heater - Be sure electricity/gas are turned off. Open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

Never drink or cook with water from a waterbed, pool or spa! They contain an algicide that can make you very sick.

Purification & Filtration

All sources of water, including well water, should be treated after an earthquake until water can be tested by a local water lab. You will need to ensure that your water is safe to drink by filtering and purifying. Please visit or for more information.

Water Storage

Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. If using recycled plastic containers, soft drink bottles are best. You can also purchase food grade plastic buckets or drums. Rotate water every six months unless you plan to purify water upon use.

Never ration water! Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow.

TIP: After a flood or earthquake have your well inspected and disinfected by a well or pump contractor.

TIP: During an earthquake, underground pipes and storage containers, as well as the aquifer can be damaged. Listen to your local public health authorities for guidance on using your water, as it may become contaminated.

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