|The famous Big Berkey|
A blog reader had written me to ask about water storage so I planned to write about it soon. Seeing the news coverage of the South Carolina flooding and hearing that a major university and numerous hospitals were without water was a reminder.
So... and I hope you get the in-your-face irony here... as I sat down in the Study to make notes for this post, I heard running water. Rushing, running water! Under the floor. So I ran to tell my husband something was definitely wrong in the crawl space and he ran out to take a look and sure enough a pipe had broken and there was water and more of it spewing out of the pipe!
So he turned the power to the well pump off and we have had no running water in the house since then. (Including in the crawl space, fortunately)
Now, we are on a fixed income so calling any repairman is not the first item on our response list. He removed the cover to the opening of the crawl space and put chicken wire over it to keep critters out. This is to (hopefully) let some of the water evaporate. Then he is going back down today to take a closer look and see if it is a simple fix he can do.
Have I mentioned there is probably not enough money in the world to get me in the crawl space? I am so claustrophobic I'd just faint and die right there. But I digress...
I must admit, being without water now for a few days certainly changed the way I'm sharing with you today. This is just what I've learned from our latest emergency experience. I have added a few links (you can do a more in depth research using "emergency water storage" in your favorite browser). I've also added a couple podcasts from people I respect.
What I have learned...
First, you use a lot more water than you think you do. I had a couple large cases of individual water bottles and some gallon size water bottles. We went through the gallon size water bottles within a day.
The individual water bottles have been more useful than I anticipated. Each of us have a couple we use at a time, one for sipping water throughout the day and one we use to make coffee in the Keurig. That was a lesson learned... when water is in short supply making one cup each in the Keurig was water smart! One could do the same thing in a French Press. If we didn't have some K-cups, we would use the VIA instant coffee.
The obvious problem with individual water bottles is that they would not work for most other water needs.
I have learned through this the huge importance of greywater! We are fortunate in this water emergency to have neighbors who still have water. So my husband has been going to their houses (with permission!) and filling up a few large Rubbermaid style containers with water from their outside spout. Taking the containers to their house and back in our wheelbarrow. (Water is very heavy!)
Note: I consider this greywater because our neighbors are on a different well than we are and must have no well filters because the water is rusty.
These three containers now reside in the middle of my living room. I fill the red plastic dish pan with water from there to soak dishes in throughout the day. (Another lesson... we need a lot more disposable plates, bowls, cups, wet wipes for quick cleanup, etc.) I haven't done dishes, yet, letting them pile up until there is a sink full. But the water they have been soaking in will be used to water some deck flowers, the others I've let die a natural death since we are near the first frost, anyway.
Later today I will take some water from the large Rubbermaid container and boil it in the stockpot. Then pour that into the sink with a stopper and dish washing liquid to let the dishes soak until it is no longer too hot to work with. They will be rinsed with a quick dip in the dishpan. That dishpan will then become my soaking water and the sudsy water will be poured to flush the toilet.
Any cooking that requires a lot of water has been set aside. As has been any cooking that uses a lot of dishes. Tonight I'm using one of the shelf stable pizza crusts for dinner. I had some precooked ground beef in the freezer and will use one skillet to saute green peppers and onions.
I am so glad we had crackers in the pantry, cheese in the frig, and a nice basket of good apples we had bought from the Farmer's Market last week. There has been canned soup we could warm up in the microwave (to make for less dishes), granola bars, etc. I had made a priority of no cook options in the pantry. Thankfully!
I had just made a new batch of granola, caught up on laundry, and washed a big load of dishes when I heard the water. Thanking God profusely for the timing (and that I was in the Study so soon after the pipe broke to hear the water). It could only be heard in the Study since it sits over the crawl space.
Before this becomes a book, I will finish with what I have learned. Our household is in chaos because of this but in a real water emergency, we couldn't run over to our next door neighbor! In a real water emergency, we could not go to the kid's house or to a friend's house for a shower and drinking water. This has been a quasi-emergency. It is uncomfortable but not the end of the world.
Also, we had electricity and that has made it much easier. Ummm... do you remember when our house was hit by lightening and parts of the house was without electricity for quite awhile?
I realize that water filters like the Big Berky are expensive but I would have loved one this past week. Actually, I do have one but when we moved from Detroit, the filters were broken in the move. Without the filters, it does not work... obviously. We have never been able to replace it but if you do have the means to buy one, they are great because they can purify a lot of water. We used ours daily when we lived in Detroit. There are numerous other brands for smaller water purification needs.
I'm giving a few links but there is so much more to learn about water storage. It can be simple in the short term and very complicated when storing water long term. One thing I am going to do that I learned in my research is to store Ball jars of water in the deep freeze. I remember reading on Mormon food storage websites that many women, after using their home canned food, would process water in the now clean Ball jars and store them in a box for safety. Lots of good ideas for further research.
Holly Deyo's free preparedness links... here. Scroll down on the left sidebar until you come to water.
Storing water PDF... here.
Survival Basics - Water... here.
The Survival Mom Radio Network... here. (New to me but I look forward to perusing it!) However, I've been reading her blog (and have recommended her book) for a long time.
Her website Home Page is... here.
Pioneering Today Podcast... here. I have been reading Melissa Norris's blog for quite awhile. Her podcasts are full of good information. Her website Home Page is... here.