{Family} Preparedness: What to do when your water is turned off

Knock knock.


Pound pound.

I never answer the door if I don’t know who it is.


Hard hat bobbing.

Open door.

“Ma’am, we’ve hit a valve in the main water line and need to turn your water off for 6-8 hours.”

Me, “Oh-kaay.” As my mind rushes. What does that mean? How much water can we reserve and quick?

“Thank you.”

Close door.

Jump into action.

Three things we need water for:

1. Drinking & making bottles

2. Going potty/flushing toilet

3. Washing hands

First, I run down stairs, stop the tub and let it fill. Thankfully, the load of laundry in the wash is almost done.

Next, turn on faucet in upstairs tub. Stopper is broken, but fill a large pail with water (because inevitably kiddos will need to go potty before we can leave the house).

Then, we turn on the faucet in the kitchen as the other faucets rush to fill pails. We grab all the cups and bowls we can find. My son was dashing to help and pulling out sippy cups. What a good helper. Our kitchen looked like this:

The experience, while a minor inconvenience, made us realize how much water we go through a day.

Do you have water storage? I know we’ve been told to have water. With two adults, two kids and two dogs I need to rethink how much water we really need to have on reserve.

Do you know how much water we need to survive? I sure didn’t. But found after typing in “how much water do you need to survive” that we can go three days with out water.

Here’s an article I read on the topic that I thought you’d find interesting:

How Much Water Do We Need to Survive?

by Rob on October 6, 2009

We can only survive about three days without drinking water (as compared with 3 weeks without food) so Water is a crucial part of emergency preparedness.

A few days ago, we looked at the per capita consumption of water in the home as about 25 gallons a day per person… This included drinking, cooking, cleaning, and toilet flushing…

Most water systems in the US are dependent on the electric power grid to operate.  So, no power = no water pretty quickly…

In a survival situation, the bare minimum is 1 gallon per person per day.  This would be used mainly for drinking and cooking.  Cleaning and toilet flushing would need to be curtailed to the least possible usage.

In an emergency situation, you could possibly need up to 7 days supply.  This is a good start.  So, take the number of people you need to provide for and multiply by 7 and this will give you the number of gallons you need to get by.  Just to be safe, you should probably double this number since it is likely that it will take a few days to really start conserving this precious resource.

As an example, for a family of 5 you would need 35 gallons, and doubling it would give you 70 gallons that you should store.

Storing water in empty 2 liter soda bottle is a great idea because it is portable and relatively earthquake proof. If you needed to “Bug Out” and leave your home, you could bring some water with you as part of your 72 Hour Bag (to be discussed in greater detail soon)…

Places in your house where you can get water– your hot water heater holds usually 40 gallons.  And the tank portion of your toilets has water that can be used for some non-drinking/cooking purposes.  And your downspouts can be a great place to collect water.  1 inch of rain on a 1000 square foot roof = over 699 gallons of fresh water…

Lastly, you can fill up sinks and bathtubs ahead of time if you have any warning that you might lose the water supply.

In future posts, we will discuss how you would prepare to provide an on-going supply of clean drinkable water for your family in a longer-term emergency…

Start filling

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