Indoor & Outdoor Emergency Water Sources

Indoor & Outdoor Emergency Water SourcesWhat if I don’t have enough stored water, and run out when I need it? If supplies run low, never ration drinking water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing your activity level.


Hidden Water Sources in Your Home

  • Drain your household water pipes (2 to 10 gals.)
  • The water in your hot-water tank (20 to 100 gals.)
  • The water in your well’s pressure-tank (2 to 100 gals.)
  • Ice cubes (not the frost in your freezer) (1 to 2 qts.)
  • The water left in your garden hose (if its been used in the previous two days) (qts./gal)
  • Water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl) (5 gal)
  • The water in your water-bed *(see serious warning under water bed info)* (400 gals.)

Water Pipes

Do you know the location of your incoming water valve? You’ll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, or a failure at the water treatment plant. Your water shutoff is usually located where your water service enters the house, but it can also be shut off at the water meter outside if you are on a municipal water supply. After shutting off the water source to your house, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet that is at the highest point in your home. A small amount of water may trickle out, so be prepared to capture that water in a cup. Next, obtain water from the lowest faucet in the house (often an outdoor faucet), or disconnect the fitting that is closest to your shut off valve (on the house side of the valve, not the street side).

Hot Water Heater

To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure that plumbing fixtures and the water heater are not submerged by flood. Turn the electricity or gas off. Do not turn on the gas or electricity to the hot water heater when the tank is empty, this will destroy the tank and could start a fire. For an electric tank, turn the circuit breaker to the OFF position, or remove the fuse. For an oil burning hot water heater, locate the red wall switch, and turn it off. For a gas burning hot water heater, turn off the gas to the heater. Turn off the cold water intake valve on the top of the tank. Connect a garden hose to the valve at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by opening the drain at the bottom of the tank (turn counter clockwise) and then turn on a hot-water faucet. Make sure you have containers to collect the water in as the flow starts.

BE CAREFUL – THIS WATER MAY BE VERY HOT! You may also get some sediment out with the water (rust, sand, mineral deposits), you can filter this out, or just let the water sit and this will settle to the bottom of the container. This won’t hurt you.

Emergency Water from Hot Water Heater

Well Water Pressure Tank

Turn off the power to the well pump and pressure tank and open up the highest faucet in your house. Place a container under the drainpipe after the pressure tank ball valve and open it up. This will also drain the house pipes.

Emergency Water Supply - Well Water Pressure Tank

Ice Cubes

Melt the ice and drink it up. (Keeping plastic jug’s full in the freezer will also save money on your electric bill, plus help your frozen food to last longer in the event of a power outage, and will serve as emergency drinking water if necessary)

Garden Hose

The water in the hose will have a taste but if its not too hot and less than 2 days old it will do in a pinch. Do not make a habit of drinking out of garden hoses, many of them are made with lead and leach lead into the water. This can cause  serious health problems with lead poisoning, especially for children.

Toilet Reservoir Tank

Turn off your water-main shut-off valve and the toilet tank valve. Disconnect the inlet side of the toilet tank shutoff valve, which may be your wall or floor side of the valve. Open the tank valve to fill a jug, or scoop out the tank water (mop up & ring out the remainder) and run it through a coffee filter and boil it or treat it with chlorine. Never ever drink the bowl water! The water in the bowl could be purified with chlorine and provided for your pets, if you have no other source of water for them.

Water Bed

  • Make sure to follow the warnings! Drain it & boil it for 10 minutes.
  • Some waterbeds contain toxic chemicals that are NOT fully removed by purifiers.

If used as an emergency water resource, drain it yearly and refill it with fresh water containing two (2) ounces (1/4 cup) of bleach per 120 gallons of water. Do not add algaecides or other additives (with the exception of chlorine bleach) if this water is to be used as a water reserve. Before use, water should be boiled. Then retreated with chlorine again. We recommend that water bed water should be used as a last resort in your home, instead use for sanitation and washing, before consuming!

Emergency Outdoor Water Sources

With any outdoor water be sure it is properly treated first before drinking.

  • Rainwater
  • Ground
  • Streams & Rivers
  • Ponds & Lakes
  • Natural Springs
  • Vegetation
  • Ice & Snow

Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color.

Use saltwater only if you distill it first. You should never drink flood water!

All outdoor water sources including crystal clear cool spring water and fresh rainwater can and probably do carry pathogens, chemical contaminants, heavy metals, parasites and bacteria. All outdoor sources should be purified before consuming. Most of us have never experienced serious water deprivation. If we let the powerful forces of thirst drive us to violate survival water protocol we will find ourselves in even greater need, deathly ill, or worse. In other words not
only will our survival be challenged by whatever disaster we are facing, we will also be too sick to come to our own aid or the aid of our love ones.

Three Outdoor Water Rules
1. Unmelted snow and ice dehydrate
2. Salt water will kill you.
3. Harvested water from poisonous plants, contaminated surfaces and unknown sources is toxic.

Seek better water sources when available. If not,
1. Melt snow & ice, and then purify it.
2. Distill first, then carbon filter salt water.
3. Don’t EVER use poisonous plants as a water source – EVER!!
4. Filter polluted or unknown water sources through a DEEP carbon filter and 0.2 micron silver impregnated filter, then distill. CLEAN the filters and repeat this procedure a number of times until the water appears clear and doesn’t have a foul odor.

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