Water emergency!

Prince George County just outside of D.C  was going turn off all water in the middle of a summer heat wave with about 12-15 hours notice to all residents to store up water for going without water  “days” as well as conserve water while the water pipe is fixed.  No info about shutting down water heaters so they don’t keep trying to heat water after they run dry. After public outcry the utilities found a valve that would let them divert water and not shut down the entire county water system.

I suppose some people might consider this a victory at averting a “man caused” disaster.  What I see is how a one failure point could have put many lives at risk.  One gallon of water a day is not enough water during a heat wave and after doing my own water test,  I think you should be planning on storing at least 3-5 gallons of water per person per day for 14 days or more and have a renewable source of water you control, filter and treat to make it safe for drinking.  You can always ration your own water down to a gallon a day if the disaster seems to last longer than originally thought.  Shutting off the power or gas to a hot water tank would have given people 30-50 gallons of water if the tanks did not simply heat water till they went dry and cause another hazard!  You may not get any notice when your water system fails!

I think the best size for water storage if your space is limited is the 15 gallon blue barrels. The barrels weigh about 120 pounds full and are 14 inches across and 25 inches tall.  That should fit in your closet easily and if you add a 5 gallon camp jug each person will always have at least 20 gallons at all times.  It might be easier to come up with the money for several smaller container one at a time rather than a big barrel.  Amazon .com has a collapsible rain barrel for about $35.00 that hold 50 gallons of water and can be stored in a small space if you can’t set them up right away. The water from the rain barrels would have to be treated before drinking or cooking but it will work just fine for flushing toilets or watering plants.

You will need to store water for your pets and have water available if you have livestock. Remember none of these plans even touch on watering your yard or garden though you can use the water you rinsed your dishes in if you use dish tubs to move the water. With the 3-5 gallon plan you will be able to flush your toilet occasionally. You need to plan to harvest rain water any time there is rainfall. By using a suspended tarp or even a garbage bag that funnels water in to container you gather quite a bit of water to augment your supply. The more surface area you have the more water you can collect.

The cities that outlaw rain barrels saying we are denying other peoples water rights exactly what do you think we are doing with ran runoff ? Besides putting it in the ground watering gardens, plants, yards or filtering it for cooking and drinking?  We are actually restricting massive water run off during storms and releasing water in a more controlled manner where it is needed. I’m not infringing on anyone’s water rights I’m simply changing the timing of when they get that less than 1 % of water I might be able to divert to my yard or garden.  Public utilities are not controlled by the public but by politicians and energy companies.  While I consider myself a free market capitalist and don’t mind paying for goods and services these utilities are fascistic monopolies with no competition on prices for the average consumer.  If you want to trust politicians, bureaucrats and utility monopolies for something as critical as water, the lack of which can kill you in 1-3 days that is your choice!

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6 Responses to Water emergency!

  1. I would simply ignore what the politicians say. You can never trust people in authority when they start talking about “the common good.” Some years back, when the bird flu scare was raging, I tried to buy Tami-flu. I went everywhere, but none was to be had. When I went to the Eckarts Drug Store in a neighboring town, the pharmacist was very rude and said that no one needed Tami-flu and that only alarmists were trying to buy it. He said all this furor was keeping people from getting their meds as the pharmacists were having to deal with people like me. As I was leaving the store, one of the employees stopped me. She was very angry, having heard the conversation with the pharmacist. She said that the guy had bought all the tami-flu in the store so he could distribute it to his own extended family, not leaving any for the other employees. So much for trusting people you don’t know in a crisis.

    Water is key. I keep about 200 gallons stored at any one time, and rotate it by using it to water the animals here. I have my own well, and I have a natural spring that bubbles up out of the ground near the house and then makes a stream going down the mountain. In addition, about 300 yards from my house there is a stream that’s usually 20 feet across, and 2 to 4 feet deep even in summer. It comes out of the national forest, so there is nothing upstream to pollute it.

    If my pump were to quit, or if I ran out of diesel for the generator, I could still get water from the well. I have a “well bucket” from Lehmans. You remove the casing cap from your well, pull the pipe from the casing, and then you can lower this torpedo shaped bucket equipped with a valve on the end. It picks up two gallons of water from the well and you pull it back up. I bought rope, pulleys, and the appropriate hardware and lumber to put in a frame for it if I ever need it.

    On the other hand, my kids who live in an apartment in a city, would be out of luck if the power went out. I feel for city dwellers in an emergency. I think that environment would become untenable in short order. My kids would either go South to come home, or go North to stay with Canadian friends, or go to a rural town in their state where another blogger friend lives.

    Maybe none of this will be necessary, but as the Romans said “hope for peace but prepare for war.”

    • Jamie says:

      Harry I wish I could ignore poliicians but those rascals are both powerful and often very ignorant which is a very dangerous combination.
      Here Idaho we had the city of Twin Falls backup generator fail during a power outage and water was under boil orders and rationed.
      If you look at the crumbling infrasturcture and lack of maint. in most of the USA, failures will happen more often in the power grid and basic services.
      It sounds like you have a good setup for your water supplies, for your kids they either need to panic first to GOOD or last so they can pick a safe route out. If they can’t get the 15 gallon barrels they might go with a case of bottle water (about 3 gallons) ans those 5 gallon water cooler jugs you can get at the local mega mart. The “jug” would give them a little time to ride out a short outage and plan what to do next and the water bottles could go in the vehicle to help get them “Out Of Dodge”

  2. Cities (especially small towns) are faced the water situation every day. Electricity, however, is a different matter. Just wait. When the Kenyan’s EPA gets its way and we have rationing (due to lack of coal burners), just imagine what will happen to electrical appliances everywhere! Power surges will fry them as quick as anything, and what warning do you think these dumbasses are planning on giving before the power is brought back on line? If they can’t run a Post Office, they can’t think even this far ahead. It will be a “sucks to be you” mentality coming from these bureaucrats. Nothing more. Certainly don’t look for apologies.

    • Jamie says:

      rat, You are correct, that’s shy I’m pushing so hard to finish up the solar generator and the wood stove. I’m good on water but I know many of my friends and family have very little water stored for an emergency and I worry about them.

  3. When a tornado tore apart out town and left the whole county without electricity, I feared the water was contaminated. I used one cupful of my puny supply to bathe the first day, fearing the faucet water was contaminated. I had water for about 48 hours here in the house. The water was working. I was just afraid to wash with it, brush my teeth or drink it. The city assured us the water treatment plant for the city had backup power and none of the operations had been disrupted. I was skeptical since I know they did not want a panic on their hands.

    I was one of the few people who had enough gas to last until the power at the service stations came on. I was able to get the water handed out at relief stations set up with food, water, and emergency supplies. Now, I only have about five gallons. It is just me, so I think I could last at least a week. Liquids from canned foods counts for “water.” I have cokes and bottle juices. I would not bathe or flush with my measly supply until I figured out if I were getting water service returned or their were relief supplies on the way. Water is the one thing I am deficient in.

    I would definitely get clean, but with a few cups of water, not a bucket full! But, for a few days, a spit bath would work.

    Water is my downfall right now. I do have ample means of collecting rain water.

    Since I live in the humid, rainy South, hopefully the rain I could catch in my many five-gallon buckets would water my hens and few plants, plus flush the commode.

    • Jamie says:

      PP, I was in the army so I can wash my hair and wash up in about a quart of water if I have too, but I won’t like it!

      A couple of items I like are good metal thermoses I find them all the time at yard sales and thrift stores for aout $5.00. I picked up two of the five gallon insulated Igloo jugs for around $20.00.

      If you prime them with some hot water for about 20 minutes then fill with boiling water you will have hot water for 12-48 hours depending on the insulation value.

      Boil your water the night before then fill your jugs and thermos and you will have plenty of hot water for washing up the next day. Plus you can start the day a little more easy when you have all the water prepared the night before!

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