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Have you really considered your water usage/needs in the event of no mains supply?

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posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 11:55 AM
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Up until recently I thought I had considered it well enough, but this last week has been interesting.

I always have 100 litres of fresh water stored in 20 litre plastic containers, and when supplies have been disrupted on occasion I've been pleased that I made that minimal effort. It has only ever been for a day or two though.

Well last Sunday a pipe joint in my bathroom sprung a leak so I turned the supply off at the stop tap until I could get to the plumbers merchant the next day and fix it, I had no soldering flux.
I cracked open a container of water and it got me thinking, how much water do I actually use?
So with the leak repaired I kept the supply turned off.

A couple of litres a day were used just drinking, as water, or in tea and coffee, but washing and the toilet proved to be heavy users of the wet stuff.

The toilet requires a good four litres to completely flush depending on what it is getting rid of, and full body washing myself, sat in the bath with a couple of bowls of hot water, initially took 10 litres, but dropped down to 5 litres after trial and error.

My routine started in the morning, water to make a coffee, 4 litres of water for the toilet, 2 litres for a face wash and clean teeth, off to work.
Home again after work, 5 litres of hot water in a bowl then full wash in the bath using a jug to rinse myself, 4 litres drinking/cooking food and washing up, another 4 litre flush of the toilet before bed, and before I knew it one 20 litre container was empty.

My nearest fresh water source is a stream 25 minutes walk 100 metres downhill as I live on a cliff at the sea. In the event I would have to use it I would really only wish to take one 20 litre container with my 2 wheeled 'sack trolley'. 20 Kgs is heavy uphill lol.
That said, I would not wish to do that every day so I wondered if I could get away with 10 litres of water per day.

In my kitchen I disconnected the 'U bend' under the sink and placed a bowl below it, then did the same under my bath. This was to catch my washing up water and 'washing me' water so I could use it for flushing the toilet. It worked a treat.
After initially starting the routine up with fresh water, I got down to using only 8 litres in total on my 7th day, which is collected and re-used for two flushes of the toilet.

It has been an interesting experiment for sure, and in the event of sustained water mains supply disruption I now have a much clearer idea of how much I actually need, and how I could reduce it further through the use of alternative human waste disposal etc.
I was too lazy to wash my clothes in a bucket/pail, but imagine in the event of disrupted supply I would take my washing in my backpack and do it in the stream at the point it reaches the sea when I collected my water.
That's my story of the last week though, I'd definitely suggest having a good think about your water use in the event of disrupted supplies, it may just surprise you.

I turned the mains back on an hour ago (and reconnected the U bends lol) then had my first proper shower in 7 days, it felt absolutely fantastic. I'm no cleaner now than I was yesterday, just that feeling of litres and litres of water rushing over me was luxury.
A luxury I had previously taken for granted.
Any thoughts welcome, like I said, I hadn't given the water issue as serious consideration as I thought until this last week, I'm sure there's a few tips/ideas I haven't thought of.

Kind Regards,
GoS.




posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:01 PM
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a reply to: grainofsand

Perhaps you could set up some of these:

Rain Barrels

for use of the toilet and bathing?

This was of interest to me...

Just a half inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof will yield 300 gallons of water



edit on 20-3-2016 by TNMockingbird because: more specific



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

Excellent suggestion, I've procrastinated about that for far too long, cheap enough and 5 minutes work, just never got round to it.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:09 PM
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You can go a lot longer without bathing than you can without drinking.

I use a gallon a day of distilled, between me and my dog.

But most people have nothing more set by than the water in their pipes and water heater.

Kind of like the money faucet (ATM). One day we turn on the tap and its dry…

if you live in a large city theres three days of food on the shelve in the local market. The food in the refrigerator rots overnight in a power outage. City people have no means of warmth, water or food after a couple days.

Those with an excess won't be taking paper money for it either.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: grainofsand

As a 1st Responder in disaster aid...we're taught we need 3 gallons of water for EACH family member PER day.
(not counting any pets)

Ex: Family of 4 (Dad-Mom and 2 kids-12 1-gallon jugs each day for 7 days=84 1-gallon jugs a week*

*Courtesy of Ready.Gov-FEMA/Citizen Corps

**you CAN get by on less of course, but the 3 per day-per person is an average, based on average statistics

*PS. You can store water in your tub, and drink the toilet TANK(not from the bowl!!!)water as its clean from the line.
Also you can drink the water heater water...it holds a lot of water from the mains
edit on 20-3-2016 by mysterioustranger because: durn phone..



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:17 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

I agree completely.
My 'high' water use was as an experiment washing fully as I do normally, just without the shower.
In exceptional circumstances then of course, washing would be reduced and down to hands, face, 'pits n bits.

It was certainly an interesting experiment though, boiling water in the electric kettle or on the stove. I shall try it again in a week or so but on my fire basket outside to see how much I really appreciate having electricity and gas.
I don't imagine society falling to pieces in the UK in my lifetime, but it's always good to understand the work involved when it goes temporarily.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:19 PM
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Wow! That's really fascinating, something I had never thought of.
Of course we have the odd time where water is cut off due to maintenance etc, but hey, fill a plastic container beforehand and your good for the few hours it's off!
Thanks for the tips! I hope they don't have to come in useful!!!!!



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

3 gallons a day, so that's 11 and a bit litres yeah, I'm happy with my 8 litres now then.
The more I think of how much I use in 'normal' life the more I'm surprised.
Tap usually left running when cleaning teeth, but last week just toothpaste and the brush dipped briefly in water.
It was interesting how I conserved when I realised my finite amount of the liquid gold.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:29 PM
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originally posted by: grainofsand
a reply to: TNMockingbird

Excellent suggestion, I've procrastinated about that for far too long, cheap enough and 5 minutes work, just never got round to it.


You can also look at storing your grey water(ie from the bath/shower) to be reused for flushing the toilet in an emergency.

Just don't get them mixed up.

I seem to remember someone saying that collecting rainwater is illegal in some US states but not sure if that is entirely true or not.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:37 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific
You can also look at storing your grey water(ie from the bath/shower) to be reused for flushing the toilet in an emergency.

That's what I did with the bowls and removed U bends under the bath and kitchen sink.
Not sure about an installed system exclusively for that though, think the bowls under the sink option is quick to set up in a water outage.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:38 PM
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a reply to: grainofsand

I didn't see this mentioned. Forgive me if I overlooked it.
It's as simple as the bath water being used for the toilet.

A couple of years ago, we had moved into a house that had not been winterized properly. When the water department turned on the meter...woosh! Nearly every couple of feet of copper pipe had burst.
We had a submersible pump and put it in the lake about 100 feet from the bottom door at the basement and ran a garden hose. We were then able to carry 5 gallon buckets of water to all of the toilets to flush them. Luckily, we weren't caught AND the pipes were fixed in about 5 days.

It was in September so we were able to bathe (quickly) in the lake when we didn't feel like going to the other house to bathe. I had 5 children at the time and I'm sure the neighbors were aghast at them in the lake every evening with soapy sudsy hair!

I suppose that having a limited supply of water would make all sorts of stews more appealing as well.

If you were growing your own food I imagine one would have to let nature take it's course or be prepared to haul a lot of water from a nearby source. Would be a lot of work or one could use the bathing water for that too I suppose.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:44 PM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Yes, it is, but only in Colorado and Nevada.

Unenforceable, really, but yes.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:47 PM
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originally posted by: grainofsand

originally posted by: nonspecific
You can also look at storing your grey water(ie from the bath/shower) to be reused for flushing the toilet in an emergency.

That's what I did with the bowls and removed U bends under the bath and kitchen sink.
Not sure about an installed system exclusively for that though, think the bowls under the sink option is quick to set up in a water outage.


If you can find a couple of water butts or barrels then it's just a case of tapping them into the drainage from your bath and then fitting an overflow going into the drain so the water never gets stagnant or floods.

Did it on an eco home a while back.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

Water for grown food would be impractical for me due to living high above my nearest fresh water source.
The sea would be my food cupboard in survival situations, fish, seaweed, limpets, muscles, periwinkles, crabs, lobsters, etc, I forage regularly in 'normal' times.
Note, only flash limpets in boiling water, they turn to car tyre rubber if any longer lol



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:53 PM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Ooh, I might do that, easy enough just an inch and a quarter hole through the bathroom's outside wall then overflow to the outside drain....just an excuse to make something if nothing else, idle hands, Devil and all that lol.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:53 PM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird
I used to bathe in the lake after work every day (when I lived on the farm). Always kept a bar of Ivory soap down there because it floats. The fish didn't seem to mind the suds at all.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:53 PM
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Awesome thread, first of all



originally posted by: grainofsand
A couple of litres a day were used just drinking, as water, or in tea and coffee, but washing and the toilet proved to be heavy users of the wet stuff.


Toilets are a massive waste of water. We're planning on building our next home and we're going with a composting toilet for it.

More than 45% of water use in the average American home occurs in the bathroom, with nearly 27% being used by toilets.



We definitely want to take a look at how we can reduce water usage as much as possible. In a situation where you'll have no water for a while (or ever), every drop counts.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:54 PM
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Not bathing everyday would save a lot of water.maybe it was me who mentioned it was illegal to collect rain water in the US, I only read that and couldn't believe it as I'm not from those parts. Only flushing for number twos helps. Eating a raw diet would save on cooking with water. Good on you for trying out this experiment. Thanks for posting



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 12:58 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
We're planning on building our next home and we're going with a composting toilet for it.

Ah, I wish you success with that project

It's not practical with the small land footprint my home covers, but I am in negotiation at the moment over some land with a stream, and only half hour walk from my house.
I have so many ideas if it comes off, and will probably spend very little time in my house after that, may even rent it cheap to my young adult son and just call in for the odd shower or two lol.



posted on Mar, 20 2016 @ 01:00 PM
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originally posted by: grainofsand

originally posted by: Ghost147
We're planning on building our next home and we're going with a composting toilet for it.

Ah, I wish you success with that project

It's not practical with the small land footprint my home covers, but I am in negotiation at the moment over some land with a stream, and only half hour walk from my house.
I have so many ideas if it comes off, and will probably spend very little time in my house after that, may even rent it cheap to my young adult son and just call in for the odd shower or two lol.


Actually, Our home is only going to be about 400-500 square feet. It's doable
The Land itself is an acreage, but if you have a garden then you're compost is set for business
edit on 20/3/16 by Ghost147 because: (no reason given)



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