Best Types of Stores for Finding Drinking Water in Houston

empty water shelves at H-E-B

With many homes with busted pipes and empty store shelves all over town, some Houstonians have no water to drink or give to pets today. For them, boiling water, as currently directed by Houston and Harris County, isn’t even an option, because there isn’t any.

In scarcity situations, it is important to think outside the box. Most people automatically look in grocery and department stores such as Walmart and Target, but there are many other types of retailers that carry water. Here are some to consider checking:

  • International markets
  • Office supply stores
  • Drug stores
  • Convenience stores/gas stations
  • Dollar stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Liquor stores

While there are no guarantees, several of our readers have told us this past week that they’ve found water at these types of retailers while grocery store shelves remain totally wiped out.

When is More Water Coming to Houston?

So far, we’ve contacted a spokesperson for Mayor Sylvester Turner, Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office and the FEMA news desk for the region — and have received no answers about how and where Houstonians can get water. National and regional retailers that we’ve contacted have either failed to respond to our inquiries or refused to provide specific, useful information. “Management has no comment at this time,” replied a representative for Costco.

According to KHOU Channel 11, “H-E-B says they’re doing their best to get more product on the shelves, and Kroger says they have 200,000 pallets of water on the way to our area.”

At the moment, if you ask for water in a restaurant, it might be boiled, as per the current health department requirements. Wholesale suppliers generally provide product to restaurants, and it’s still questionable as to when bottled water will be restocked. Restaurants are also not the priority right now. “We would love to support and have products on order, but we have to take care of our healthcare customers first,” wrote Nathan Adams, a customer development specialist with Gordon Food Service.  “Not sure when product will get here as suppliers aren’t responding.” Shannon Mutschler with Sysco Foods said the company “does not have a list of restaurant [customers] or other locations that are open and that also have water.”

If you know of where people can buy drinking water or receive a free distribution, please email us. Also, a helpful tip: if you can find bagged ice, melt it and you have water. Thanks to reader Liah Crumbley for the tip. Yes, the resulting water after melting may have little white flecks, but it’s probably just harmless calcium carbonate.

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