a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What if . . . you turned the tap on and . . .

nothing came out?

What if your local water system was suddenly damaged or compromised? 

WATER is the most critical portion of any preparedness plan.

Water is much more essential than food in sustaining life!

Approximately 40 percent of the world’s population does not have access to pure drinking water. We, in the United States, are among the very fortunate. Usually the safety of our domestic water supply is of little concern; however situations may occur when the water supply may be cut off or damaged.

The most important thing you would need to have on hand if the bottom were to drop out of everything is drinking water. While one quart of drinking water a day will sustain life, one gallon of drinking water per day is recommended.  

You will also need additional water for washing and other purposes. 

It is recommended that you store a minimum three-day supply of water, per person, but it would be best to have a two-week supply for each family member. 

Number in my family _____ X 3 gallons per person = _______gallons minimum.
Number in my family _____ X 14 gallons per person = _____ gallons preferred.
Approximately how much water do we, as a family, have available today?______

When drinkable water is properly stored and purified, it should have an indefinite shelf life, but to maintain the optimum drinking quality, water should be rotated every six months. If you choose to rotate the water it is helpful to mark the date on your calendar.

Good water storage containers are air-tight, resistant to breakage, and heavy enough to hold water. If metal, they should have a lining that will not rust or affect the flavor of the water. They should have secure lids.

Glass? Plastic? Coated metals?  Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. Then, do the best with what you have, or can, acquire. 

Milk jugs are not effective, as they may leak and may contain protein residue. Two-liter pop containers and heavy juice bottles work well. With the exception of well rinsed out plastic bleach “bottles, do not use containers that previous held non-food items. 

Before using, clean all containers with soap and water and rinse well. Sanitize container and lid with one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water, shake well, empty container and allow to air dry. 

When storing the containers keep them off the ground and/or cement. Even cardboard under the containers will do the job. Also, do not store next to materials that may leach into them. 

It’s a good idea to store a few containers in a freezer to prolong the freezer’s cold if the power goes off. When doing this, be sure to leave a couple of inches for expansion in the containers. 

Most city-treated water is safe for storage without additives, but to ensure the storage of quality water, use a chlorine or heat treatment. 


To treat with chlorine, unscented, liquid bleach may be added to disinfect. Add eight drops, or 1/8 teaspoon bleach, to one gallon of water. 

To treat with heat, fill clean quart Mason jars and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. This provides a way to have safe drinking water and also use jars that may be sitting empty. 

Purchased bottled water is a quick and convenient way of getting a water supply; however, it is not considered to be safer or purer than city-treated water.  “Natural” water companies just have a huge advertising budget and a convincing public relations department!!!

In an emergency, if there is no warning, you can use water from pipes, ice cubes or the hot water heater. Learn how to turn off your water supply because the inlet valve should be closed off immediately after the water supply is disrupted.

Only use water from swimming pools, toilet tanks or water beds as a last resort and then only for purposes other than drinking since chemicals may be present. 

In some emergency situations, you may need to either treat (see above) or purify (see below)  contaminated water, such as that from lakes, runoff, streams or ground water. The water in lakes, rivers, and springs may look crystal clear but often contains various bacteria that can cause illness. The main parasites which need to be eradicated are the cysts which cause Giardia and amoebic dysentery. Small amounts will not affect the body, but in large numbers these pathogens can take effect. They can survive in cold, even freezing water for several months because of their hard protective shells. 


The two most common purifying methods are boiling and chlorine bleach.

Boiling: While virtually foolproof, boiling water does take a fair amount of time and  a considerable amount of fuel, both things that need to be taken into consideration. Water must be boiled for five minutes and then allowed to cool. Boiling “flattens”   the taste of water. Pouring it back and forth from one container to another helps correct this.
Chlorine Bleach: A chlorine treatment of 1/4 teaspoon or 16 drops of unscented bleach may be used per gallon of water. Allow the water to sit for 30 minutes, then check for cloudiness. If it is cloudy, repeat the chemical treatment and let stand for 15 minutes. A slight chlorine odor should be present. If the water does not become clear, do not use it.    
 Note the difference in treatment and purification amounts of bleach. For a treatment, use eight drops per gallon; for purification, use 16 drops. 

There are other purification systems available, including a variety of water filtration systems and iodine-based treatment methods.  (If you are pregnant, suffer from a thyroid disease or have an iodine allergy, do not use an iodine method without first consulting a doctor.)

I am not discussing these other methods here because my purpose on this site, no matter what I am covering, is to always present things and ways that are doable—simply and cheaply.

Remember: Water storage is important to your survival in the event of an emergency. Being prepared is critical.  

Please take the time to do something. . . even if it is only one container. . . today—then you can sleep better when the wind blows.

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