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Monday, February 9, 2009

The water supply


One of the most important things to ensure in an emergency situation is water supply. Here in Vermont, most of us are on wells for our water supply. As long as the source doesn’t get contaminated and we have power to run the water pump, we’re all set for water provided the well doesn’t go dry.

Let’s just say we want to be double safe and have an alternate. What options do we have? This is something my husband and I have been talking about a lot lately. We don’t have a source of water on our property like a lake, river or stream. If you do and it’s within walking, cycling distance you’ll be all set. Although hauling water isn’t fun, it’s doable if you have to.

Do you have gutters on your home? If you do, it’s easy enough to divert the run off into a barrel. You can put a screen over the top of the barrel to keep out leaves. At the very least, you can use this water to irrigate the garden or to water the animals. You can also get a cistern and have the water diverted there and connected to your pump for indoor use. The water should be treated if you plan on using it for drinking, washing, etc. I’m sure you can find specifics by searching rainwater harvesting. This is a good place to start:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/Rainwater-Harvesting-Rain-Barrel-Setup.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/2003-08-01/Its-Raining-I-m-Storing.aspx

Maybe you want to start a little easier? You don’t have to resort to buying gallons of overpriced water at the grocery store. You can store your own water that you get straight from the tap.

This is a great site from the VT Emergency Management office that tells all about how to safely store and gather water from a variety of sources.

http://www.dps.state.vt.us/vem/drought/water_safety.html

Make sure you print out the Red Cross brochure so you have it in case of an emergency.

I’d also recommend having a water purifier of some sort. There are several types that I’ve come across. The first is simply a tablet that you drop in your existing water to purify it. Water purification tablets should be available at most camping supply stores. The second is a water purifier with a filter. You generally pour the water into the filter/unit & the filter removes bacteria and or chemicals. These come in a variety of sizes from tiny personal sizes to larger sizes that will work for your whole home. The third option is a small, handheld device that uses ultraviolet light to purify water:

I like this option because after the initial investment, there is nothing I need to purchase like a filter or more tablets. It comes with a solar charger and rechargeable batteries for future use. This is the one we chose for our family while we work on adding gutters.

http://www.nitro-pak.com/product_info.php?cPath=40_269&products_id=1595

Whichever option you go with, make sure that you have backup batteries, filters, screens, barrels, etc in case you need them.

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