Water & Food – Prepping Enough For At Least A Month

Level 2 Prepping & Preparedness by my own definition is being prepared for at least 1 month of disruption. 1-3 months, even better.

This requires storing 1+ month of food for every member of the household and it requires a more significant (than Level 1) amount of water storage at home and preferably access to a nearby water source for further needs.

The hypothetical circumstances surrounding the need for 1 month of supplies are pretty severe. Most all ordinary emergency / disruptions last far less in time. However there remains a likelihood that things could ‘go bad’ for that long, depending…

Water For 1+ Month

Water for drinking: 0.5 gallon per day per person.
The typical plastic bottled water contains about 16-ounces (2-cups). So about 4 per day, or 28 for 1-week. A typical case of bottled water has 24 bottles, so just call it a case per person for 1-week. So for 1 month, that’s 4 cases per person.

Water for other stuff: Since we’re in level 2 prepping, a 1 month supply of water for other needs is pretty intense. You may be very surprised to discover The Average Gallons Of Water People Consume Each Day.

It’s the water for ‘other stuff’ that presents a challenge.

– Flushing the toilet
– Water for food preparation and cooking needs
– Washing dishes / utensils
– Keeping yourself clean

That said, a 1 month disruption may or may not involve the water/sewer infrastructure. I would prepare as though it breaks down and you’re on your own.

I would suggest that you consider keeping at least one 55 gallon drum filled with water (e.g. in your basement or garage). This will be a holding tank as you resupply your water needs from external sources (river, stream, pond, neighbors pool, etc..).

You will need at least one manageable water jug container for transport.
Scepter Water Can (5-Gallon)

Water Filter!
A high quality drinking water filter is an absolute must have. In fact I highly recommend for Level 2 prepping and preparedness to acquire a quality countertop water filter. And you know which one I’m going to recommend… one of the Berkey water filter systems.

Berkey Water Filter System! (THE Best)

Food For 1+ Month

Acquiring food for 1 month of disruption is not as hard as some may think. It’s simply a matter of opening the wallet and buying more groceries to store on your shelves. The difference being the type of groceries:

What food to buy and store for 1 month?

– Obviously it can’t be fresh foods (it will spoil).
– Do not buy freezer food (assume the power is out).

Important! Calories!

Very generally, we need about 2,000 calories per day. So when you’re stocking up, regardless of where or what, keep in mind your caloric requirements.

That said, we all have a sense of how much food will last ‘how long’. So simply go out and buy what you need.

Tip: Variety! (is the spice of life)

There are also other options available to you. You might consider purchasing professionally packed emergency survival food designed to supply for 1 month.

Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply
(their amzn storefront)

Tip: Browse our articles in the Survival Food & Kitchen Category

It’s better to have too much than not enough!
Don’t short change yourself. For every member of the household, be sure that you have enough food. In fact if you have more than enough you’re actually saving money in the long run! Why? Because food prices NEVER go down.

[ Read: Prepping Level 1–4 Series Overview ]


  1. I’ve come to the conclusion that dehydrated & freeze dried is the way to go. Should the power go out for an extended period of time I keep enough pickling salt and Morton’s Quick Cure on hand and with all the food-safe containers we’ve got I’d salt everything in the freezer from meats to vegetables.

    1. I’ve actually gone in the opposite direction for short term food. Bottles or cans only. The reason being that I live in a desert and water is a commodity. Bottles and cans come with their own water.

      1. Good point, I left that out but that is a big part of our supply also. Lots of home canning of meat, vegetables, pickles.

      2. Lauren – We believe that water could be in short supply here too, so we also keep lots of commercially canned foods, both for the water and the salt content. That’s also why we only grow a container garden. We can’t grow a large garden without plenty of water, and the drought just a few years ago showed us just how quickly we could run out of lake water. We got very close to the tap going dry before the rain came back. We kept our container garden going by catching what little rain that fell. Public water usage probably increased during the drought, causing more stress on the lake levels. Pickups suddenly had tanks and barrels in them and all sorts of trailers and wagons filled the roads hauling water to livestock. Garden water during certain hours was allowed during the water rationing, but it took a lot more hose water to keep a garden going without the rain. A couple of added benefits to having canned food is the “open & eat” with less cooking needed, and also being able to run a “cold camp” with little fuel usage if any.

        CD in Oklahoma

        1. CD

          You are right about container gardening. It saves a lot of water. Also it saves wear and tear on your back. Much easier to plant, weed, and harvest if the “ground” is 10-12 inches off the ground.
          Actually with the mulch there are no weeds to pull!

          The other thing that saves water and extends our short growing season is plastic mulch. I bought a sheet of green mulch 4′ X 50′ last year it was unbelievable how much water it saved and how many more melons, squash, and cukes I got. I had some containers that didn’t have mulch that I used as as controls. Huge difference.

          This year I bought a sheet of red mulch for my tomatoes. I think you can also use it for peppers.

          The plastic cuts to size easily. You could probably re-use it , but because it is cheap, I probably won’t. I have green mulch left over for this year. You can buy red, green, brown, black, silver, etc. from Burpee or Territorial Seed and other suppliers.

  2. I use over 100 gallons of water PER DAY in winter. I waste a lot of water, such as showering & washing clothes almost every day, washing dishes after every meal, running water until it gets hot. flushing the toilet every time I use it. I could reduce that a lot, but in summer I would need a lot more water for my garden since I live in a semi-arid location.

    Ways to reduce water use:
    1. Rain barrel to collect water for watering garden. I have two 50 gallon ones.
    2. Tarps and trash cans or other containers for collecting more rain water for the garden or perhaps for water for pets, washing clothes, etc.
    3. Melting snow.
    4. Reusing water. i.e. use wash water to flush the toilet; use left-over cooking (water such as water used to cook vegetables or pasta) to dilute condensed soups or to water the garden;
    5. Everyone should have a good supply of stored foods that contain water, such as canned fruit, canned vegetables, fruit & vegetable juices, canned soups, soft drinks, boxed broth, meal replacement drinks, etc. Also, all larders should contain lots of foods that don’t require water to prepare.

    Note; if your food stores lack variety, you will probably use less because lack of variety dulls the appetite. As someone noted a few days ago on this site, If you are prepping for a large group, you will find more food is consumed and/or wasted and you will need more food. I think that if there is a limited supply of food and, especially if some of the people are not in the immediate family, everyone will eat more to make sure they get their fair share. If there are just one or two people, they will be more likely to ration.

    1. Added parentheses for clarity, then put one in the wrong spot reducing clarity. Oh well.

  3. Don’t forget pets, diapers for any babies, and if necessary medications that your family uses regularly. Babies will also need more water than is listed because their diet is almost entirely liquid.

  4. Since we are on the subject of water, I would like to ask if anyone has a good source for 1 gallon size containers for water. I refuse to store the grocery store gallons of water after several leaked. We really need to replace our 5 gallon containers. It now takes two people to lift and pour when it is full. I thought of the 2 gallon, but in 10 more years we may struggle with those as well, so we have decided to slowly convert to all 1 gallon.

    1. Personally I use Vinegar gallon jugs myself. Very tough and so far in the last4+ years no leaks. That and the cap is lidded so you have to try real hard to lose that cap. I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning and such.

      1. Thanks NH Michael, I never thought of those. Of course I only go through about 1 gallon a year, so it’s going to take me a while to even get one.

        1. Peanut, go to SKS Bottling and Packaging. There are many options there. Probably there are other sites as well. More of a wholesale/sell to public site.

      2. NH Michael – FYI be heads-up on some of the vinegar 1-gallon plastic jug lids disintegrating. I keep a few jugs around for use for rust removal on old sewing machine parts, and the lids on mine shatter regularly with the first touch.

        CD in Oklahoma

        1. Goodness CD what do you DO to them to shatter them? I have some I cut the bottoms out for use in the garden for plant protection that are 5 years old and as of this afternoon the sun and weather has no problems…..

        2. NH Michael – Nothing bad that I know of. They’re the cheap store brand for just soaking parts, and while the bottles themselves are very durable, the flip-open lids get brittle as all get-out for some reason.

          CD in Oklahoma

        3. CD I buy Wal-Mart Great Value Vinegar and again no issues with the bottles or lids. Curious as my garden jugs are exposed to weather from snow and ice -20 to sun and rain at 90’s+ with out issues.

          Yes folks I could probably write a book titled “The Wal-Mart Prepper” :-)

    2. I have a deal with a local Juice stand. I receive their heavy plastic juice concentrate jugs. They come in half and gallon size. Helps lower their waste disposable bill.

    3. Peanut Gallery;
      You might also check out the local Bakeries. that get a LOT of stuff in 1 through 5 gallon pales, all food grade with lids. Usually for free, all you need to do is clean them out and there ya go.

      FYI, do NOT try the Pickle Buckets, I have tried literally everything short of C-4, you CAN NOT get the pickle smell out, I do not care what U-Tube says……

        1. Anon;
          Ohhh I use them all the time, mostly in the Garden and shop….
          And free is always good, right? hehehe

      1. Pickle smelldoes come out eventually… I got a few…i washed them.. out with very hot Dawn water, rinsed them out got out all soap.. let them dry…then took , took a half box of baking soda and rubbed down entire inner surface and dampened it so it would stick and make a thick slurry.. left it overnight,(outside)..then next day washed it out after scrubbing it own with same baking soda… rinsed with clear hot water…. then… left outside in sunshine in open air …think it was 2-3 days… still had a faint smell….used for hot soapy water a few times the used for other things for a month or so… finally smell was gone… but not easy and is not time sensitive.. not a lot of work involved but time…

    4. The big kitty litter jugs would work some will hold gallon, some 2 gallon… also I re use all juice containers that are gallon. I do bleach the with strong bleach solution over half full and second half of cleaning turns them bottom side upwards in the sink to set at least 30 min… I also use milk jugs they seem a little thicker… but we rarely buy gallons of milk./juice. We also have a neighbor who saves me 3+ liter cola bottles…
      Vinegar, I use for weed killer heated and used half and half with boiling water… in addition to lots of cleaning and using it in washer in final rinse… to often and lessen static…But, even with heavy use 4-6 gallons a year does not get me where i need to be either, but every gallon jug helps. I also get plain bleach in gallons, or as close to it as possible… and fill those…

    5. @Peanut Gallery
      Not cheap but you can get 1/2 gallon Mason jars and the lids are provided if you buy new in the case of 6. A case will be 3 gallons. And if you have the place to store, why not start looking for used canning quart jars? Four quarts = 1 gallon and easy to manage.

      Other options would be to look through some of the food aisles at Walmarts, Costco, etc — look on the bottom shelf for items like pickles because many are packed in glass jars.

    6. Peanut Gallery,
      Two-liter bottles are about half a gallon, and they’ll store water for years and years without leaking. Even if you don’t drink soda, you can probably get the bottles from your church youth group, after a Boy Scout lock-in, or from your neighbors. They don’t stack as well as some water containers, perhaps, but I find plenty of places to put them.

    7. PG, I reuse Ocean Spray cran apple juice jugs. I think they are made out of styrien plastic, they are strong and they have a handle.

    8. We reuse our 1 gal white vinegar bottles for water storage and have not had a leak in over 5 years of storage. We also resume Clorox bottles. Both are clearly marked so there are no mistakes and things are stored in groups.

  5. We have 7 cases of bottled water, 25 2 litter soda bottles, 1 55 gal. barrel and 2 30 gal. barrels of water stored. We also have 2 30 gal. barrels on the gutters to collect rain. We also have a water bed that can be drained. The river is less than a mile from our house. We would have to boil all of this to make it potable but I think we are in good shape for water. We have shelves all the way around the walls in our extra bed room that are stocked with shelf stable and home canned food. If it is only me and DW we could make it the better part of a year. If the kids and grand kids come it would last maybe 3-4 months. We also have two deep freezers full that would have to be canned or dried if the power goes out.

    1. Car Guy,
      You mentioned river water as a possible water scource . What goes in upstream flows downstream . What is upstream from you ? Perhaps a Berkley gravity filter system instead of boiling water and using fuel to boil with.

      1. Those things are expensive. I will have to save up and convince DW to make the purchase. Also I hate doing business on the internet I would like to find a local dealer.

        1. Try youtube/ how to filter water. Soda bottles, charcoal, gravel, and cotton balls. Easy peasy and inexpensive. Berkey also has a Light unit that is clear that is only 239.00. I just changed out my 2 year old filters. Of course the dirtier the water, they would not last as long.

        2. Just a heads up folks.

          That soda bottle system has been tested by some lab geeks and while it Reduces contamination a fair bit it is not anywhere as good as a real filter.

          Is your family worth 180 dollars to prevent cholera? Mine is….. Now if an emergency repo by Gov.com takes away your Berkley then a reduction in hazard is a good start. Now if you want to go homemade AND Effective look up Biofilters. That is built around a 40 gallon barrel and combines a slow sand filter with biofiltering much like Mother Nature does to filter rainwater into your well.

          YouTube is useful but be aware not everything is Gospel.

        3. I do know how to make charcoal water filters and keep extra charcoal on hand and know how to make charcoal if need be. I just live on a very tight budget. It sucks to be poor.

        4. car guy, you have learned to be resourceful in ways others have not yet, you are ahead more than you know…
          Best to you :)

        5. NH
          Thanks for the tip on bio filters. Looks like I need to do some research. DW is going to kill me if I start another project.

        6. Car Guy,
          My wife is the one that keeps adding to my project list.
          I shudder when she says …
          “Honey, I have been thinking. ..”
          That phrase always leads to the expenditure of time and capital on my end. The curse of being an engineer some times!!
          “You can make that. Right Honey?”
          Then I say something stupid like ” yeah,probably …” LOL

        7. We use “JUST WATER” system , Have been using it daily for over a year, , cost is less than 75$ with buckets, can be cleaned every month or 6 weeks. with filtered water and soft cloth…. and used.. for many gallons….one place to get the best of theirs that takes even medicines and fracking chemicals out… is thru the NRA. I have no connection with either company, in order to profit from them…

    2. Be careful of hte water in the waterbed…could be highly toxic, depending on additives and OR mold if none added… would be water for flushing the potty if you have another bed to sleep on. Boiling can increase toxic materials would need a distillation to use … think …. pressure pot/canner and tubing… clean container to catch condensed…

  6. Thanks for starting up the Prepping and Preparedness levels again, I do believe they are good for the community.

    As it is said, “Water Water everywhere, and not a drop to drink”,

    The stats for people dying from “Bad Water” world wide is astounding. “around 5,000 children dying every day because they drink dirty water” (theguardian.com). Now add to that the probability of the water system “going bad VERY QUICKLY” in the US “if/when”, the Country will be in a world of hurt quickly if the infrastructure is down for a month.

    If you do not have a good/great water filter, why not? Sure $180 bucks for a Berkey is NOT cheap, BUT ever have Dysentery or Cholera? that $180 becomes REAL cheap. I could never imagine watching the wife, children, or parent die because of “bad water”.

    Storing Water is extremely easy, find empty water safe containers and fill em. Once every 6 months drop in a few drops of Chlorine and poof, your set got go. Please read the many articles here on MSB for how to store water.

    1 gallon per person per day, plus 2-3 gallons for cleaning, so far a month, honestly a 55-gallon drum would save your life, probably a LOT less if things get really bad. BTW, that 1 gallon a day will INCLUDE the ‘wet’ food you eat, so now your down to what a couple of 500ml bottles a day? So 2 cases of bottled water per person for a month???? Bottled Water goes on sale for 2 cases for $5 all the time here, what ya waiting for? That’s $5 for a month of clean drinking water……. Come-On-Man, get it done

    Food, God I eat a lot HAHAHAHA, having 3 days of food in the house as FEMA suggest, is a start, but here is a suggestion for all those that think having food is nuts, go a week without anything to eat, I’m betting you’ll change your mind very FAST!!!! Now imaging watching your kids go without, and the wife how about the parents?
    Some say it’s the Man’s responsibility for put food on the table, I do not agree, it IS the entire household’s responsibility to do so, EVERYONE should be involved in the decision to prepare for the worse and pray for the best.

    Last thing; “store what you eat, Eat what you store” and “if you use one, buy two” you will be surprised how fast you will end up with a months of life saving food.

    Nobody ever said this Preparing stuff was easy, but take an hour a day, research, read, experiment, make a plan, try things, do a “Lights Out” for a weekend, find out what you would really do “if/when”. Please do NOT let your children be one of the 5000 children stated above just because you did not believe it “could happen”.

    1. I let the new prepper friends use my contacts, to get better deals in bulk. Kroger, Bargain Basement, Costco, ect. Also I have contacts with Bean warehouse and Grain brokers, Raw honey, fruit, wholesale by the 100 #. Saves them a considerable amount of money. Helps to know everybody.!!

      1. Well hey Stand……….now you know us !!! Your New Friends !!!

  7. A super easy and cheap thing to stock up on is food grade 5 gallon buckets with lids (there are several different kinds of lids) you can catch water (in lesser amounts of course), store indoors, and transport water…when you hear a storm/tornado watch etc… or something even more serious fill them up with potable water (as much as you can safely carry, water is heavy), put on the lid, and mark as such with a date….rotate every so often too…this might be helpful for those who have smaller living accommodations…
    Peace all :)

  8. Our 1,000 water tank is the best ‘back up’ supply system that we have. I’d really love to dig a surface well just to have it at the ready. Maybe when the hubby retires I can somehow convince him ….but w/ our shale soil, it would be a really hard sell.

    1. Modern Throwback….
      mmm Maybe you can “discover” a treasure map, with X marks the spot ….

    2. Modern Throwback
      We have shale oil in this area, and our well started out at 100 feet. We had to take it down to 250 since the original location was drilled & hope for the best
      (no consultant/dowser). Years before we purchased the place.

      When you are ready for locating that site let Ken know. Will assist you on that find which you are looking for as a back up.

  9. We’ve had 3 Reliance 6 gallon water jugs sitting in one of the sheds for years. I change the water yearly and haven’t had any problems until recently when I noted one of the jugs was dry. It went to the dump today and now I find I have another dry one. I can’t find a hole so it must be pin sized. It does show that nothing lasts forever. These jugs are probably around 15 years old so I guess I can’t complain too much. We also keep a number of the clear plastic Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring water 1 gallon jugs around. Several of them are at least 3-4 years old and so far no leaks. We do refill these for camping in our travel trailer as the tank water just doesn’t taste very good.

    Going to Amazon and I see a lot of Reliance water containers (none like mine) but the price has certainly gone up over the years since I bought mine.

    We also have a number of the Greek 50 gallon olive barrels and buckets to carry from them as needed.

  10. Thank you everyone for your suggestions on water bottles. I picked up a couple of idea’s. Thank You “me”, I also suspect a hole in one of my containers. Signs of a wet floor under the containers. Now I just have to determine which one is leaking.

    1. Peanut Gallery;
      “Now I just have to determine which one is leaking.”
      I’m thinking the one with less water in it????? hehehehe
      Sorry, could not resist that setup… LOLOL

      1. NRP, yes I thought of that, however not enough water on the floor to affect the weight. I figured that I would put a piece of cardboard under each, then check them in a day.

    2. Peanut Gallery,

      Sorry I missed out on your quest for better re-usable water jugs. We buy the gallon jugs of “Arizona Ice Tea” when they’re on sale for $2. They are made from the heaviest duty plastic I’ve seen for such products and have a built in handle. No scrubbing needed due to contents.

      1. I agree with you regarding the Arizona Ice Tea jugs. I’ve been using several of them for many years and they’ve held up. Very thick plastic.

  11. I think we’re comfortably in this stage right now. I just tallied up my rice and we’re sitting on 115lbs. We have around 30-1lb boxes of pasta, and then a bunch of random things liked canned meats, stews etc. Plus our regular freezer that’s full and a kitchen that has cupboards that are fairly full (last I counted we were sitting on 15 boxes of cereal lol). I also just picked up a small, used freezer from a friend ($30!!), and will be working on getting that filled with U-pick berries this summer, plus meat.

    Water is where things get trickier-I only have 10 gallons of bottled water on hand. Going by Ken’s calculations that would only last us 4 days for drinking water. We also always have several cases of soda on hand, juice/milk etc-which would give us another few days of water. We have natural springs on the property and would most likely boil/bleach that for our drinking water source. Not ideal, but it’s where we’re at right now. We also live off of a river so we have unlimited water for things like washing clothes etc. Of course that water is probably going to be dirtier than the clothes :p

    1. Do you have a water heater? 40+ gallons there if you need it. Do you have a bathtub? If it’s a sudden SHTF situation, fill the tub and any other containers while the water still runs.

      Your springs put you in a better position than most–so I should think that your next step would be water purification rather than water as such. The resource is there.

      1. Lauren, great ideas! We have 2 tubs but I don’t know if they have water hookup currently (we’ve never used them in the year we’ve lived here). I should turn on the faucets and see what happens:)

  12. Ken,,
    thank you for setting up these 3 level categories and associated links,,, very helpful and easy to navigate 😎🤙🏻

    1. You’re welcome…
      Gotta get going on adding some more content to those levels too – and get started on level 4 ;)

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