Obtaining a supply of drinking water should be your highest priority in any emergency. If you survived the disaster, you’ll need water fast.
Broken Water Main and no Drinking Water
Way back when I was married in 1994, there was a break in the water main down the road. At the time the Metro rail was being constructed and somehow the excavators pierced the large pipe which brought water to our house. We were without water for about the whole day. My wife was panicked as we had no backup supply of any kind, except a couple of 6-packs of diet soda. I went to the local grocery store to see if I could find some water, only to find out everyone else apparently had the same idea. There was no water for sale. I had to drive about ten miles before I found a store with water.
This was a minor inconvenience. Now imagine an earthquake or hurricane or other disaster occurring in your area. Would you have enough water on hand for you, your family, your pets and possibly neighbors and friends for a day? A week? A month?
Where to get Drinking Water After a Disaster
There are things you can do to get water if times are really desperate. Some of the tips given in the CERT (Civilian Emergency Response Team) class I took years ago were:
- If the water in your toilet tank (not the bowl) has not been treated with chemicals (you know, those tablets or bottles you put inside the tank once in a while) you can use it
- The water in your hot water tank
- Other sources of water such as melted ice cubes (if not contaminated) in your freezer, bottled water, juice from canned vegetables and fruits, and so on.
You may also be able to find water in external sources such as streams, ponds and wells. Just be careful not to drink water that might be contaminated, especially with chemicals such as oil.
Without drinking water (at least) your survival is at risk. Planning ahead is simple and the cost is minimal.
Solutions to Stocking Enough Water
You can subscribe to one of those home delivery water services, and order a few extra bottles. For drinking, you’ll want at least one gallon per day per person or pet. You can store those large, five gallon bottles for six months to a year. One caution: do not store the bottles on cement or concrete. The cement will leach into the bottles and make the water undrinkable (according to the CERT instructor). You can store the bottles in a closet or on, for example, a wooden pallet or shelf in the garage.
I have four 5-gallon bottles of water in my home. As I receive new bottles each month, they go to the back of the storage, and water to drink is pulled from the front. This ensures that the water remains drinkable and does not become contaminated due to age.
Boiling is the best treatment for water which is suspected of biological contamination. Of course, this assumes you have a way to boil water. Another way to treat water is to use a product, usually in tablet form, to treat the water. These are very effective at killing any microbes contained in the water. It’s a good idea to order a bottle or two and keep them on hand for any emergency. They are very inexpensive and can also be used on camping trips and such.
Lastly, you might want to purchase half a dozen folding one-gallon containers from any outlet which sells camping equipment. These are useful to quickly gathering water once a disaster has happened. For example, one thing you’ll want to do when a disaster strikes is to open each tap in your house (sink, bathroom, etc) and get as much water from them as possible. Usually there will be a few gallons on the system even if the water has been shut off. These handy folding containers are perfect for quickly gathering up that water.
Leave a Comment Below – Have you ever been in a disaster? What did you do?