Saturday, July 16, 2011

When the Tap runs dry

I have mostly talked about food but you can go a couple weeks without food and survive.  That is not the case with water!  3 days is usually how long you would survive if you had no water.  I live in an area that has no public water supply.  Our farm thankfully has a good running creek and 3 ponds, one of which is spring feed and 30 foot deep.  We dropped a pump into this pond and ran it to the house and then spent a small fortune attaching 5 different filtering systems to it to get water we would drink and use.  I greatly appreciate having water just coming out of the tap that I don't have to think about!  I am constantly working with our system to keep it up to par and when we are having very heavy rains it's a lost cause!  So if you have water that is just there when you need it, please thank your Father in Heaven tonight for it!   What would you do if the tap suddenly went dry?  The authorities advise us to keep a 3 day supply of water on hand.  They suggest 1 gallon per day per person.  For my family of 7 that is 21 gallons.  That's to drink, clean, flush the toilet, ect.   I think 21 gallons wouldn't last very long!   We have four 55 gallon food grade blue plastic barrels.  I also try to keep several cases of bottled water on hand.  Our heat wave has created a big gap in our storage currently but we'll get past this and restock!  220 gallons sounds much more comforting than 21 to my family!   In Dec '08 we went 3 weeks with no power and no power for us means no water either.   We didn't have those lovely blue barrels yet (lesson's learned!)  so we ran out pretty quick and were left trying to get down to the pond, break ice, collect water and then try to get it and you back to the house.  When you are in single digits and dealing with a foot of ice and 40MPH winds this project is no fun at all! 
Wendy DeWitt has some awesome stands you can build for those 55 gallon barrels!  It's her April 1, 2009 blog at    You might be saying I don't have room for any 55 gallon barrels!  So I will tell you that glass canning jars are great for storing water in. Just don't store all your water in glass in case you end up in an earthquake and they break! Any food grade plastic bottles will work.  2 liter pop bottles work great!  So do juice bottles.  Do not use water containers!  They have gone to a type of plastic that is made to break down quickly so a couple months after storing water you'll walk in and find water leaking everywhere!  DO NOT EVER use milk bottles.  Plastic adsorbs the proteins in milk and this leaches back into the water.  Not a good situation!  Stick to pop and juice containers and you'll be fine.  If you have good clean tap water all you need to do is fill your clean containers and seal them.  Store in a cool dark location off the floor!  Change your water out every 6 months to 1 year.  We use our water to water livestock or the garden and change it twice a year.  Remember we are not on a public water supply.  I have to add 8 drops bleach to each gallon or it will be growing some strong stuff when we open it.  Municipalities add bleach so you don't need too if you are on a public water supply. 

Now what if the tap really does go dry and doesn't come back on any time soon?  Well you have to have supplies and know how to get more  from a source such as a well, lake or river.   I keep a good supply of 1-micron industrial liquid filter bags on hand.  Store these in a dry dark location.   You can process thousands of gallons of water through one of these bags as long as you dry it hanging up out of the sun and then fold it and store it in a dark place.  Sunlight really breaks the bag down fast.  You can watch a video on how to do this here:             Go down the page to the water purification kit.  Aaron no longer sells the kit but with his list and watching the video you can make your own kit.    You need two plastic buckets.  One to dip water and another to hold the filter over and collect the filtered clean water.  After you filter it you still need to treat it!   Bleach can not be stored!  I called Clorox myself and talked to a real live person.  I was told that once the bleach goes into the bottle it will be dead in 3 years.  They said once we buy bleach it must be used within 1 year to assure it is still a viable product.  Your other options is to boil or solar kill viruses and germs or to use iodine crystals.  The bottle gives directions and will do 2000 gallons.  If you want to solar kill than you also should get a WAPI (solar water pasteurization indicator) for each container you will use unless you use a Sun oven.  In the Sun Oven you only need one as they will all be the same temperature.  the WAPI has a special type of wax at the top that melts when it reaches the correct temperature so if the wax is in the bottom you know your water is ready for use.  Boiling requires a lot of energy so if you have sun doing the solar kill is a better option!   You can also store Calcium Hypochlorite (Pool Shock) but you MUST store it in glass jars that have been vacuum sealed.  If humidity gets into it, it will release a poisonous gas.  Putting the correct amount into water is fine but you must treat it with respect!  If your water goes flat like when you boil it, pour it back and forth between two clean containers and it will taste better.     

I buy my filters from  tfs total filtration services but their site is down this weekend so I will try to repost it later on.  Somewhere on their site they have a contact link that will list all their locations with phone numbers.  The filter unit number is : POG1P2P-WE.  I get the 30 inch but they also have it in a 24 inch.  I order 25 at a time and it has been running around $124 with shipping or close to $5 each. 

While you need to get food stashed away, please take time to get what you need for water too!  Their is no life without water!


1 comment:

  1. Cherlynn, thank you for this post. I have heard that when you use the pool purifier that you need to let it sit for 24 hours before drinking the water. Is that correct? I am interested in a Wapi.