Do you have a Backup Water Supply? I have been storing water now for a couple of years. Just recently the pipes at the road busted. The crews came out immediately to fix the problem. It happened when it was already dark, but they set up their work lights brought out a tractor and some dump trucks to dig up the road and fix the pipe. They worked well into the night.
The next morning at light it busted again in the same area! The crews went to work again. They worked for most of the day. It seems as soon as they left there was another pipe that busted in another spot down the road from us. At that time we had water, but the water pressure was really low, and we had to call the company out again.
These poor guys, they put in so much hard work. They finally seemed to get a handle on it. Now, by that time we have been without water for about 3 days. Later, we had water, but there was a boil warning. This lasted for at least a week. I am sure that most of my neighbors had to go out and buy water while it was shut off. Or maybe they had to eat out because they didn’t have water to cook with. I thankfully didn’t have to waste money on buying water, because I had a Backup Water Supply. I was able to cook, clean, wash dishes, and drink.
Do not use water that has known contaminants in it such as sewage, poison, chemical pollutants, oils, or any other contaminant. Do not use water that has a dark color, an odor or any solid items.
How to store water…
First, do not use milk jugs. I heard when I first started to store water, that milk jugs would not hold up and would eventually leak. I did try out this method using milk cartons just to see if it was true. Believe me, they leak!
I am now using a little bit thicker containers, like juice bottles. You will have to make sure they are absolutely cleaned out. If not you will have large mold growth floating around and you want the cleanest possible environment for your stored water.
I also like to use soft drink/sports drink containers. They seem to hold up pretty well also. Never reuse a container that had toxic chemicals in them. I do like to reuse old detergent bottle (more on this below) and soap bottles, but they are only good for washing hands, cleaning, and washing things. The detergents and such are so strong that the containers are not okay for consumption for drinking water, cooking or brushing teeth!
You could buy a water storage container. Amazon has several options. Check’em out…
7 Gallon Aqua-tainer The price is not too bad, but when compared to my reused juice containers, it would just be an extra cost.
Water brick – 8 pack These are pricey, but I love that they stack. I would so love to have these, so I don’t have to waste a whole shelf on water!
The Reservoir, 100 Gallons I thought this idea was clever at first, but after it is filled it cannot be moved. So you would have to fill it before an incident occurs, problem is the location of this reservoir is in the bathtub. Unless you have a tub that you never use, and even then if it doesn’t work, how would you fill it up with water? I would skip this I believe, I’ve never been warned that the water is about to be cut off. I mean it could happen if you don’t pay your bill, but in a real emergency or a bad accident like when the pipes busted, there will be no warning! What do you think?
Reusing laundry detergent bottles is an excellent use of a Backup Water Supply
In fact a large liquid detergent container that has a spout can be turned on its side and serve really well as a hand/dish washing station! When the water was out I put this to test and it worked so well. They kids were so confused with no water coming out of the sinks, but I put this up there, and they were totally blown away.
They were worried about not having water, but after I showed them how easy it could be to have a sink in a pinch they were so amazed. They thought I was the smartest mommy ever. I actually saw this idea for a camping hack. I thought of it when my kid needed to wash his hands. So glad I did, it really saved the day!
You will need 1 gallon per day and per person. It may seem like a lot, but with cooking, showering, brushing teeth, and drinking in mind you will understand why you would need this much.
- Only use a trusted source of water to fill your containers.
- Use only regular unscented, no additives or dyes household BLEACH to your water.
- Label and date the container. Secure lid very tightly.
- Store in a cool, dark area of your home.
- Replace water every six months.
Pulling water from storage and using it.
You can’t just use the water right out of storage. Bacteria is everywhere and given time it will grow. Keeping this in mind, there is a simple fix to help clean up the water.
Clean water using household bleach. You will have to look at the dilution rate on the bottle of bleach you have. Most are around 5.25 -8.25. I have made a table to help show how much bleach to add to water.
WARNING: Bleach is not capable of killing all disease causing bacteria and it cannot remove chemicals that pollute the water source.
Using bleach on your backup water supply:
Do not use bleach with scents, additives or dyes. Use only regular household bleach. Make sure to read the label!
Mix well and let is sit for at least an hour before using this for consumption!
If the water is cloudy you will need to filter the water before adding bleach.
The last day of our boil notice I was running low on my stored water, and had to switch over to tap water. So I had to start boiling. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
- If the water is cloudy it will need to be filtered before being boiled.
- Make sure you bring your water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute.
- The water will have to sit and cool before any consumption
- Remember that chemicals that have polluted the water source will not be removed by boiling.
I am glad that I had the knowledge and proper preparations to get through this time without water. Out of all the things that we have, plumbing is probably the one I would miss most if we didn’t have it anymore. I am not sure what I would have done without my backup water supply. It was almost impossible to get out of our driveway. They had so many trucks and everything blocking the driveway. I am sure they would have moved if asked but I really wanted the water back on!
**Resource…Department of Health -Water purification, fact sheet**
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