Buy one case of 16 or 20 oz. water bottles for each member of the family. At three gallons in each case, this supplies the basic three day supply that everyone recommends you keep on hand. Cases are convenient, stackable, and easy to use up by the expiration date.
Purchase five gallon filled and sealed containers from a water service. These can be quite heavy, and a water cooler/dispenser will really help when you're ready to use these.
Fill your own water bottles. This cuts costs and makes cycling through water as simple as dumping and refilling. Follow the "rules" to prevent bacteria growth.
Purchase a larger water storage container for bulk storage. Large quantities of water can be stored easily. Check manufacturer's instructions for location, safety, and other storage details.
Invest in a portable water filtration unit. These can be expensive and require replacement filters. (Some filter and some purify. DO some research before you buy.) You must have water to filter.
- Most people need to drink more than half gallon of water each day during average conditions while not sweating. (Talk to your doctor about your needs and expectations.) Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar when water is scarce.
- If working in hot weather (approaching 100 degrees F), you need to drink significantly more water due to losses from sweat and respiration. Cold weather is nearly as dehydrating as hot weather and water consumption should be increased. Remember that too much water is serious. (Talk to your doctor about your personal water needs.)
- Infants on powdered formula need to maintain their regular type/brand of water, even a change of brands can upset their delicate systems. And do not alter their intake or formula concentration without consulting a doctor, preferably a pediatrician.
- During a water crisis, do not ration water to make it last longer. Be certain everyone drinks what they need every day, then try to acquire more. Dehydration symptoms are serious, life threatening, and difficult to correct without medical assistance.
- Eartheasy.com has a nice article about water storage.
- I found more than one site that described how to store water right before an emergency. This may work for a hurricane, but many emergencies have less warning (earthquake, tornado, water main break). Always keep the minimum on hand!