Living without Water – Lessons Learned

The following story was passed along to us by one of our DMAC partners. It is an emergency management professional’s account of dealing with a water main break at their home, which left them without water for several days.This serves as an excellent reminder for why we should be prepared to go without water for several days.

Here are the personal lessons learned by someone who preaches preparedness for living.

“What I remember the most is having water barrels that will fit in the back of my SUV so I could go and get them filled up. My 50 gallon would not fit – thank goodness I also bought a 30 gallon barrel and it fit upright in the back of my SUV with a hose (white hose for potable water) filling it. Up to this point I only thought about storing water so the bigger the barrel the better. However, my situation opened my eyes to also having barrels – once emptied – can be transported in my vehicle and filled.

Liquid waste was manageable. We could flush out the bowl (with several collections) with the water tank and then refill the water tank.
However – we were not so confident with solid waste because of the need for several flushes on one use so the water did not go so far.
Instead we had to make a plan for the bathroom – closest and available. Luckily our offices are in walking distance to our home – not that we would walk but it tells you just how convenient it was in a very inconvenient situation. Even that close made for a very stressful existence.

Drinking water was not a problem as we have cases and cases of bottled water. However I made the decision to wash the dishes (the absolutely few we needed) with the barrel water but opted to do the final rinse with the bottled water. We also gave the bottled water to the dog and our pet birds. We didn’t need any intestinal issues with the circumstances we were under.

Due to the size of our home we have a re-circulating pump. It is imperative those things get turned off as soon as your water stops. If it runs dry it will die.

Having a way to collect the rinse water is helpful as I could dump that water on fragile outside plants not getting their normal irrigation.

If someone has to manually turn off their water – they have to very slowly open up the valve when they are turning it back on. This helps the pressure to gently fill the pipes rather than all at once and possibly experience a break in the line due to the rapid pressure.

I think that’s about it – oh – forget showering….having baby and body wipes in the package was very helpful. But that first hot shower after the water came back on will never be forgotten!”

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