Monday, August 8, 2016

Imaginary Scenario ...

When I had the A Working Pantry Facebook group (which is now closed), from time to time I would create an imaginary scenario for the members of the group to go through to test their pantry preparedness.  

As  requested I will now be doing this feature here on the blog; here's our first scenario ...

For whatever reason, your water supply has been contaminated and you are unable to use it. As with most situations like this you have no notice. You don’t know how long the ban on water usage will last.  Help is not coming; you and your family are on your own. What are you going to use for drinking water? How are you going to flush your toilet, wash your clothes, cook your meals, bathe, etc?

Do you have another source of water?  How and where are you getting your water? Do you know how to purify water so that it is usable?
 
So, in our imaginary scenario, how are you coping without the use of clean, usable water?


Don’t think this can’t or want happen (think major weather events, etc), it has and it mostly likely will again so let’s talk about what we can do to be prepared for this scenario.

Update:  You absolutely positively want to read the comments!  

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Have you read this series, This is Why! and this free e-book, Yes, You Can Have a Well-Stocked Pantry?  And don’t forget to check out the ‘Free Downloads’ page.  You’ll find some helpful pantry building stuff available for free!

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23 comments:

  1. So flushing water does not have to be potable. So water from the creek will work.
    Then water for dishes and washing our bodies could be creek water that had been boiled and then allowed to settle. That is taking into account that it is not the flood of 1937.

    Drinking water is something that we have about 10x 24 bottle packs of in stock. And another 20 gallon in gallon containers. Also have a steri stip for purifiing water on the go. In the non freezing months we have 3 rain barrels that most always have water although maybe not full.

    I will also add after having gone through this type of thing in the past that you need to become very frugal with your water, not for drinking but for using in other ways.

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    1. Kim, those are some very good tips. You are so right about being frugal with water usage. Having it available so readily from the tap, I'm afraid many are not prepared for the occasions when it might not be or how much we really do use. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. We have two 100 gallon barrels specifically made for water storage and for this exact purpose!

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    1. Jenn, to think that this type of thing can't or won't happen is just not realistic ... glad you have thought ahead and prepared accordingly!

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  3. Hi Patsi!
    We have rain tanks that are usually full plus our bottled water we store plus I keep 2 liter bottles filled for cleaning and flushing. We would for sure make sure water usage was minimal. We all have plenty of everything that laundry could go for awhile if needed, bathing would be done with a small pan of water and dishes would be washed with as little water as possible. If it was going to rain we would put out additional buckets and put things that need washed out in it too. And although it may sound yucky the bladder is a sterile environment and so is most urine barring infection so any peeing would be done outside so the only water used for flushing would be for the other business which is full of bacteria and should be flushed if possible. If it's winter time then there would be plenty of water from melting snow. Wet wipes and things like that can come in handy, but if someone has a very limited budget washing up can be done with minimal water.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Vicky, you've given us some tips that anyone can do! During our last ice storm when we lost power for 3 days, we melted snow and caught water from ice that melted off the house.

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  4. Hi Patsy, this is a good scenario. We usually keep a 20 litre container of water full for emergencies especially during storm season as our water pump runs on electricity. We could bucket water from the dam to the toilet. I have a moringa oleifera tree growing which is supposed to be a flocculant but I have not experimented with that myself. I would still boil it after clarifying the water anyway for drinking etc. We live in walking distance to a river but I would not want to be carrying heavy loads of water home from the river, but it could be done if necessary. We have water tanks so the 'event' would have to effect more than one tank.

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    1. Sherri, hauling water would be difficult, but we, like you, could do it if we had too. Good tips!

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  5. We have a 5000L water tank. This gives us drinking water for a long time. We have bore water, that is drinkable but tastes odd. We could use this for toilet flushing and washing. I use the bore for watering the garden. I would like to say rainwater is regular but this hasn't been the case for the last three years. We are only just off the drought declared area. The tank never ran dry although it did get quite low. We did have rain but very little and not often. We were on very strict town water restrictions. Having alternative water sources made a huge difference for our household.

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    1. Jane, I like the way you phrased that, ... having alternative water sources ... because that is exactly what we need to do. That's a big water tank!

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    2. It is a good sized tank for the two of us. We now have our daughter living with us and are thinking if getting another tank if about the same size. We lnow live on a 1/4 acre block in town. On the farm we had 15,000L of water tank space. It's way to dry here in Aus to think if much smaller tanks if you need to depend on rainfall for your water source. At least it's too dry where we live.

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  6. I keep three 35 gal barrels in the basement. I lucked out that there is a gas station about 10 miles north of here that stocks all sorts of food safe barrels. I would get a 100 gal tote or two for outside, except I suspect they will freeze in Michigan winters. I also keep gallons and bottles on the shelf.

    I do have a well, only a couple of years old. I would like to install a hand pump on it, but I do have a generator that could be run long enough to fill thinks up to resupply.

    Contamination could be taken care of by either boiling or the Sawyer .02 bucket filter. the Sawyer is kept in two stacked food safe buckets with lids (all taped together) so I don't have to scrounge up containers at the last minute. I'm planning of adding a second large filter. I may try to make up something like a Berkey (and those can be done on the cheap) I do have a few personal filters here as well.

    I'm a little less than concerned about flushing. Trash bags, cat litter and a bucket work pretty well. Send it to the landfill....now don't get pinched. You can send used cat litter AND diapers to the landfill. Not much difference.

    Sponge baths get pretty old. When my well was out...just over a week to get a new one put in....I made a "shower" out of a garden sprayer. Just put on a cheap plastic shower head, a couple of hose clamps and you have it. Takes very little hot water vs cold so you are not handling big pans of hot water. I did eventually get into town and got a battery operated camp shower which you use with a five gallon bucket....again maybe only a quart or two of really hot water is needed to mix with cold.

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    1. That's a good idea to store your Sawyer filters inside the buckets you'll use them in. Smart thinking! That's also a good idea about using a garden sprayer to 'shower' with. Good ideas!

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    2. We have a camping shower. It's a thick black vinyl bag with a shower head attached. You fill this in the morning, I think it holds 5L of water, and hang it in a tree or somewhere in the sun to warm up. We tend to hang it in a tree. We then wet ourselves and soap up, then stand under the now hot shower, flip the valve and rinse off. It's just enough to feel clean after a day in the bush.

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    3. Jane, I like that idea too!

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  7. Dear Patsy,
    We have increased our supplies of emergency water and are still adding rain water tanks. We have a big advantage that we could retreat to the farm which is 100% rainwater and bore water. This is a big thing for us as in many situations it could be better for us to go to the family farm. I know this backup isn't something everyone has and we are really lucky. We can also bring in water from there as the farm has fire fighting tankers that can shift water so we could have rain water delivered! That would be a saviour.
    I know that during the Great Depression most people had access to farms via family or friends but these days very few people do. In my daily life I am grateful we have this set up as we have an alternative place to live, water, food, and everything I can think of. Its a solid plan B. I notice many people have nowhere to go even if they lose their rental they have no where to live. A strong family network isn't something you can buy but I am so grateful for it. In terrible circumstances we have probably a dozen places to choose from to live or stay. I have been thinking about thee things! With love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Annabel, you are indeed blessed to have those back-up plans in place. Water is something that is always going to be an issue for us and so we must continually work at having a plan B, C and D. A strong family network is going to be so important should things get bad. In that event, I just hope that our children can get to us.

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  8. I live in a condo and do not have nearly enough water stored. We have cases and
    gallons stored. We have filters and access to a pool we could boil or filter that water. I agree plastic buckets and trash bags for waste. I think we could
    go about 2 weeks with the bottled water on hand. That would be very few showers
    and sponge baths. I have paper and plastic plates etc for these situations. Lots of wet wipes. If we had a huge water problem I think we would head to family that live on a river.
    Something to think about.
    Patti

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    1. Patti, sounds like you have a good plan in place. Smart thinking!

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  9. We have well water and do not have water when the electricity goes out. We have faced this problem on more than one occasion. Our well has never gone dry even in long droughts. Our problem has been lack of electricity. So when (not if) we are without water, I do the following:
    Step #1 Go to the garage and get the gallons of water already stored.
    Step #2 Drive to Wal-mart and buy more. This has been an option because often only my street is without electricity
    Step #3 If we can't make it to Wal-mart, I can walk to our neighbors and ask to fill up at their faucet since they are on city water. We will return this favor if the city water is not working.
    Step #4 If it turns out to be a long term electric outage, we have solar panels and batteries ready to be assembled. We will have 2 ½ hours of power a day and it will be used to pump water for us (and neighbor's livestock) and keep the food in the deep freezer frozen long enough for us to eat it.
    Step #5 If the sunlight fails (week of stormy weather), we can remove the well head and use a bucket to scoop up the water.
    Purifying the water is not necessary since we have had it tested and it is pure. I drink from the outside faucet all the time and have never had any problems. If there was a doubt, we could use the extra filters we have in the water purifier or I could heat it in my solar oven.
    I don't think my well would fail unless we had an earthquake and the land was shifted. During the last drought my neighbors' wells went dry by mine did not. I was offering water to them but the city began supplying them. Many of them switched over to city water. Not me. I consider my FREE well water a blessing from God.
    Jeannie




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    1. Jeannie, we also have a well, but our water is not pure so purifying it is of the utmost importance. We too have a routine of what we do when the power goes out, which like you, means no water. I hope our well doesn't go dry as connecting to county water is cost prohibitive for us!

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    2. The people that owned the house before us wanted to be hooked up to city water; however, since the house is so far off the road, it would have cost over $5,000 15 years ago. There is no telling what it would cost today. Jeannie

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  10. We have six rain barrels so far and plan to get more. Plus i keep a store of 25 gallons in my storage. I also have a Berkey, we were so blessed to have it given to us as a gift!

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