Survival Skills: Think Outside The Sink

Water is a critical part of survival, and unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to disrupt municipal water supplies. Earthquakes can break pipes, floods can overwhelm the system, and power outages can halt the water flow in the city and in the country. Sometimes it takes a while to get the taps back on. If the water stops flowing to your home, you do have a few options to consider before you start sucking on your last ice cubes. There’s abundant water hidden in the average dwelling, if you know where to look for it.

Be prepared in case your traditional sources of water dry up.
Be prepared in case your traditional sources of water dry up.

The Pipes
Even in a utility outage, water can be found lying in the pipes. Open the highest faucet in the house, then open the lowest faucet or spigot, catching the water in some clean containers.

The Hot Water Heater
You may find 40- to 80 gallons (150- to 300 liters) of drinkable water simply by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the unit and catching the water in a pan or shallow dish. Use this water soon, as the warm water heater is a great bacterial breeding ground. Turn off the power to electric water heaters, as they will burn up with no water in the unit.

The Toilet Tank
To clarify, we are talking about the tank, not the toilet bowl. The tank of every toilet has a gallon (4 l) or more of perfectly clean water in it. But don’t hesitate to disinfect it – if it’s been sitting, or you’re feeling squeamish about it.

The Fish Tank
A freshwater fish tank can be claimed as a water source, along with koi ponds, fountains, and other water features. Treat this water with chemicals, by proper filtration or by boiling for 10 minutes to make it safe to drink.

The Gutters
The gutter system on your home can provide many gallons of water from just a light rain shower. Divert your downspouts into rain barrels or other large containers to take advantage of free water from the rainfall.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a fine selection of First-Aid Kits!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a fine selection of Emergency Gear!

This tip, and 337 more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s new book Prepare For Anything. This latest Outdoor Life survival manual available at Amazon.

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch  And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.



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