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Disaster Preparedness

Recent earthquake activity in Japan and the Bay Area are a clear reminder to prepare ourselves with an emergency plan and provisions, including a three-to-five day supply of drinking water for every member of the household. We recommend to start by storing at least 3 gallons of our Hetch Hetchy tap water per person, plus enough for guests and pets.

  • Store our Hetch Hetchy tap water in clean, plastic, airtight containers and store in a dark, cool place away from heat or sunlight.
  • Store enough to last at least three to five days.
  • Label each container with a date, and replace the water every six months.
  • At the time of usage, you can add 16 drops of bleach to each gallon to ensure disinfection. (Use pure household bleach only—not products with scents or other additives.) Mix and allow to stand for 30 minutes before use. If a camp stove is available, you can also disinfect the water by bringing to a rolling boil for 5 to 10 minutes
  • If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater. To strain, pour it through a clean cloth or layers of paper towels. Treat with household bleach, as directed above. Other sources of water inside the home are ice cubes, and the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).
  • If your water supply is not sufficient for hand washing, use antiseptic hand gel or wipes.
  • We have established an emergency water plan, and a fleet of trucks is already in place to deliver drinking water to centrally located distribution sites throughout San Francisco as quickly as possible. Transportation routes will be established, and debris cleared from them first for access.
  • But, remember, a sufficient water supply for you and your loved ones is up to you during those first few hours or days while you wait for blocked access routes to be cleared. Store ample water in accord with the directions above.


More emergency response and disaster preparedness information can be found at


Last updated: 4/12/2012 4:07:16 PM