In the event of an emergency, water is going to be one of the most sought-after commodities. It is essential to store water for emergency use (one gallon per person per day is the recommended amount), but you may be surprised at the sources of water you already may have in or around your home that can be tapped in an emergency.
Hot water heater
Your home’s hot water heater could be the storage container for 30 to 60 gallons of clean drinking water. In order to utilize this water though, following an earthquake, tornado or some other powerful event, your water heater needs to be protected from tipping over or something else falling over on it and crushing it.
A trip to your local hardware store and $15 from your wallet will get you a steel band designed specifically to attach your water heater to the wall so it won’t tip. Make sure the gas or electricity is off to the tank, and carefully open the valve at the bottom to collect the water.
It may be possible to salvage the 3 to 5 gallons of water from the toilet tank. Don’t use water from a tank that contains colored disinfectant, because the chemicals are poisonous. Plan to boil this water before use.
To use the water in your pipes, open the highest faucet in your home, then collect the water that should trickle out from the lowest faucet in the home.
Ice in the freezer
This will not be a significant source of water, but don’t forget about it or accidentally spill it, as it could amount to several cups of clean water.
If you anticipate a water emergency, consider filling up your washing machine with clean water for use later.
Swimming pool or hot tub
Swimming pools are a huge water storage container but the chemicals used to kill germs are too concentrated for safe drinking. This water can be used for personal hygiene, cleaning and toilet flushing, which could help you stretch the supply of your potable water.
As in swimming pool water, don’t plan on drinking this water but it can be used for other purposes.
Depending on the time of year and where you live, rainwater may not be an option. But if it is, this can help you stretch your other water resources. Rainwater can collect contaminants on its journey to your storage container, so consider boiling or filtering before use.
A nearby creek or river
Take a moment the next time you are driving around your neighborhood to notice the nearest natural water source. There may be a seasonal creek or small river you don’t think much about on a daily basis that could be an important resource in an emergency.