Canned Water? No, Not a Joke

I tried to think of a good joke to start out this post. Something like “Canned water: Best thing since sliced … water?” and that’s where I stopped.

water-cans-originalSo instead, I’ll just get straight to the article on canned water.

During World War II, the United States decided that they were going to can water in order to ease shipment to the troops. They also found that the canned water wouldn’t spoil and could easily get to the location without a quick expiration date. The practice then spread to other sectors of the industry.

In fact, the Civil Defense Museum alone, produced over 240 million gallons of canned or barrelled water in1967.



1. Long shelf-life. Canned water lasts for a long time. While with some containers you have to empty and refill every year or so, you won’t have to refill canned water and it has a shelf-life of 30 years. Can’t really beat that.

Another cool thing about canned water’s shelf-life is that it’s not effected by temperature. While some food storage items’ shelf-life decreases with heat, the water’s shelf-life is not effected. In fact, Stevens Ecology has found that canned water that was made in the ‘50s was still safe to drink nearly 60 years later.

2. It’s ready to drink. While you might have to filter or purify a local water supply, canned water is ready to drink - no harmful bacteria or microbes in your canned water.

3. Small amounts of water. If you need water on the go, it is easier to take a small amount in stead of a 50 gallon water tank. The can allows you to take as much water as you need on the go.


1. Price. The number one problem that most people have with canned water is that they say that it’s expensive. Taking into account the can, the shipping weight for the supplier, and the water you save with utilities, it might cancel out the expense for some people. So don’t be too quick to place price on the cons’ side of the list.

2. Heavy. Water is already pretty heavy by itself but adding cans to the mix can definitely add to the weight of the product. Sometimes this can make your overall water storage very heavy, but at the same time, it can be pretty portable in small amounts.

28 thoughts on “Canned Water? No, Not a Joke”

  • NondescriptMemebr
    NondescriptMemebr February 17, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Canned water takes up much more room than the dehydrated water that I've been storing, but this canned water would be very useful for rehydrating my supply when the need arises. ;)

    • jerry

      Canned us far to expensive for me. What about canned soda water? Would that last as long? Or even a good 5 years? Nor concerned about the carbonation. Only about the drinkability of it for emergency purposes.


    i have small packets of drinking water,they can be used many ways,i have used them for ice packs,for emergencies,drinking water,the idea of can water,bright thinking,why has it not been used for the emeregencies we have all had lately, and im sure in the very near future?

    • Dave

      Canned water was used during Hurrican Katrina , Budwiser supplied canned water,FEMA shipped to stagging areas where National Guard Units dispersed to Churches an Community centers , as well as their own distrabution points.

  • Tracy

    This is not practical at all.

  • Jase Valentine

    Gee, Jeff, you forgot to tell them about the 12mil. lbs. of "fortified Graham crackers " in the bomb shelter sub-basement of my elementary school theater. Choice. And, do remind 'em to quickly drink the first 55gal. barrel dry 'cause Civil Defense doctrine was to throw a plastic liner in it and use it as a latrine(don't, ahh, forget to save that lid. . .)


  • Frederick

    I've always thought a small supply of canned water might be a good thing to have around, in case I were housebound during riots and the normal water supply went out. Can anyone recomend a supplier?

  • rose

    Canned water tastes like crap especially if canned in an aluninum can. Drank some during hurricane Rita disaster. Better than nothing, when no potable water is to be found. But tastes like drinking liquid aluninum.

  • rose

    Budweiser canned the water during the Rita disaster and donated the water. I don't know if they can it any other time.

    • red

      Budweiser donated canned water during the great flood of 1993. There were two batches the shinny can was from their Ft Collins Co brewery the less shinny can was from St Louis. The mountain water was better. The flooded river water stank

  • Peter

    I had canned water during Hurricane Katrina relief. Canned by Budweiser! That was fun! Didn't taste all that bad, considering we were living in a tent with roaches and a 40-pound raccoon by the garbage dump, and it was clean. Keep in mind this is for EMERGENCY purposes. It's not Perrier!

  • Brenda

    You can buy it right here at the Ready Store, also from Emergency Essentials.

  • temra

    I have the same question as Brandon..... are the cans BPA Free ?

  • Tom Dawley

    I have read a lot about storing water...lot of answers but not one that will nail it down...I have spring water in cardboard boxes kept in a dark place...sunlight is the here is a question...could I can water myself in mason jars..can it..process it just like anything else and store it in a dark place..I just read a article in Survival Magazine and it told about a guy that put water up in 2 liter pop bottles..stored in and tested it in 5 years and it was still OK..and no plastic chemicals had leeched into it...
    Love to hear more...


  • Angela

    Please give me a link to dehydrated water for sale at The Ready Store? I thought it was a joke, but I want to buy some.

  • Dave W.

    Well it has to be better then powdered water.I still don't know what to add.LOL a joke.

    It would be a good idea to have canned water if you could put it in a safe place to get to when you need it most.But what if that safe place is compromised? Then it all would have been a wast of time.We do not know what is coming our way.So prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

  • T Norris

    I have seen beer companies can water in 12oz cans and donate during emergencies. Very easy to hand out and distribute.

  • Steve

    With something as important as water I would prefer several strategies for purification and storage. I am considering getting some canned water to store with my 30 year shelf life food cache to reconstitute the food. I like The Ready Store (TRS) providing resources & knowledge to store water/filter water with a shelf life of 5 years. I would challenge TRS to extend that shelf life. Perhaps by providing canning techniques and supplies for do it yourselfers (DIY) making 30+ year canned water?

  • SSG Steven I Szabo
    SSG Steven I Szabo February 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Hmmm, I wonder how much of that Gov canned water is still sitting somewhere? Surplus sale anyone? Better yet, put it back into the environment!

  • Brian Blackburn

    That was a great article and good responses. I too am interested in finding out if you could can your own water? I would think that water's ph would fall in around a 7.0 neutral ph which means it's a more Alkaline product. This would mean it has to go under the pressure cooker method (hermetically sealed) for long safe storage. The water bath method is for products under 4.6 ph Acidity. Durability would be also an issue with glass compared to cans if transporting or stacking.

  • Lauralee Hensley
    Lauralee Hensley February 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    It would be cheaper probably than buying canning jars and doing the canning of water yourself. Plus canning jars could break since they are glass. I have a pressure canner though, so I might make a few jars that would have the longer shelf life.

  • Judy

    I've frequently read instructions to never keep canning jars sitting around empty--whenever you get a few empties, fill them with water. It's always good to have a bit of water on hand, even if you have to rotate it out when canning season comes around. Use it up when you bottle your beans!

  • ZRT_PA

    Why all the hub-bub about "canned" water. Get a case or two of Datrex Pouches for Grab-n-Go. Then store some 5-Gal Stackables that have been treated with FDA Approved Preserver (or good quality chorine bleach if you're not picky). (vailable at TRS).
    For long term outages/shortage have a good quality Microfilter and plan about where to access a water source that you can make potable.
    If you have a water heater there is 30 to 75 gal of usable water. If you have a pool/pond/or stream you have access to cleaning water.

  • susan

    I have stockpiled at over six months of freeze dried 30 year foods. Just ordered a rack for them. Have approximately 8 cases of canned water to reconstitute my food in an emergency. Also have a hand pump fitted to the top of my well head which I take off in the winter. Have water purification tablets and a water filter purification hand pump for travel when using streams and ponds. WATER is vital to survival. Not willing to take a chance so I order water from various sources and look for the sale prices. (Ready Store, Survival Acres, Emergency Essentials and there are more) Also take into consideration shipping and where you will store them. Another good site for you survivalists is Quakecare. I have purchased many first aid and sanitary kits from them. In early fall with the floods in NY,gave a neighbor my sanitary kit for toilet needs. His septic had flooded and couldn't use his regular facilities. I promptly ordered a new one for my house. Just recently added a solar charging pad for AA batteries which will fit my Coleman Lanterns. My family will be safe. I hope yours will be.

  • Northwoods Cheryl
    Northwoods Cheryl September 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I have been a prepper for almost 30 years now. LOTS of us can water when we have the spare jars. I pressure can it for 20 minutes at 10# of pressure. I never have a hint of weirdness such as unwanted "stuff" growing on the lid inside, etc. It tastes like plain old water when you go to use it. I have some stored in my basement (quite cool down there) after 6 years it still tasted ok. I used it to get the jars back into circulation, when we had a deer to can up.

  • Tom Dawley

    Canned Seltzer water is also a of the things that will in fact make water go bad is could buy spring water in the plastic bottles..leave them in the cardboard box...or if they come in plastic wrap ...then wrap the case in dark plastic or put them in a box. Light causes the water to go bad...but like the guy said...any water is better than nothing..I have several cases of Seltzer water stored which should last forever...

  • Ben

    The P H of ground water is slightly acid in the East (of the Mississippi River). It is slightly alkaline in the West.

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