WATER, PART 2 - LOOKING FOR WATER: Top 5 Hidden Sources In Urban Surroundings
Updated: Nov 12, 2022
The second step in survival preparedness, urban foraging for water is part 2 in a 5 part series on procuring water in a disaster situation. Read the introduction "Water, Water, Neverwhere" for the full story.
URBAN INDOOR SURVIVAL
In case you are "bugging-in" (staying shut-in your home or apartment, as opposed to venturing out of town if SHTF), there are many extra water sources in the home that you wouldn't normally think about. After you have depleted your backup water supply (see PART 1 of the blog for storing and building up emergency water storage), these 5 hidden sources can provide you with weeks of extra water:
1) If you have advance warning that a natural disaster is approaching, quickly fill your bathtubs and sinks with cold water. This will provide you with an average of 40-50 gallons of water per bathtub (or more depending on how big your tub is). Of course, hopefully you've scrubbed your tub beforehand, but if not you can filter the water before drinking it.
During natural disasters, it is quite possible that the city's water filtration system could be affected (power outages, damage to the water and power's buildings, etc.) and start seeping contaminated water into your home's supply. Therefore, after filling up all the tubs and sinks, it is a good preventative measure to shut off your house's main water supply until your town gives the "all clear".
2) Another reason to shut off your water supply is to protect the clean water being stored in your hot water heater. This is another 80 GALLONS (80 gal in a medium-sized water heater for a family of 4) of clean water you can drink!
3) If your electricity goes out, keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed will extend the refrigeration of the food another 1-3 days (depending on how full your fridge is). But after that, when your freezer finally warms to room temperature, don't forget about all those melted ice cubes. Yet just another everyday reason to insist your roommate refill the ice cube trays when emptied!
4) Flush your toilet before turning off your water intake, then DON'T use it as a toilet and DON'T flush it again during a water crisis. This one may sound gross, but the water reservoir tank in the back of the commode is ok to boil and drink (unless you use chemicals in the upper deck, like those little discs you drop in the back to make blue toilet water). Please note, I'm NOT talking about the water from the actual toilet bowl; I'm referring to the reservoir!
5) URBAN FORAGING: If you are staying in your home but are also able to venture outside and forage for water, there are two major abundant resources often overlooked in the county; the swimming pool and the car.
If you have a swimming pool, the water will be safe to drink for the first couple of days without electricity for a working filter before the chlorine wears off and algae and microorganisms begin taking over. The normal amount of chlorine in swimming pools (if done correctly) is 3-5 parts per million (ppm), and the FDA says you can drink water with up to 4 ppm of chorine. That being said, I would HIGHLY recommend boiling it before drinking; not everyone uses the appropriate amounts of chlorine or keeps their pool up to standard. Many public pools overchlorinate the water, which isn't healthy to drink before filtering. If you are foraging through the town for water and can only find a dirty pool with green water, you can still use the water so long as you filter it (obviously).
Your car may save your life, but not how you'd think. If you have run out of water options, you can drain the water from the radiator, filter it, and drink!
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