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Improvised water sources in urban/suburban environment

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posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:05 PM
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FEMA estimates that the average US city only has 2 weeks' worth of food within its borders, based on experience with the past decade of hurricanes. For this reason, although they advise creating a cache of 3 days worth of food and water for each person in the household, they ask each family to seriously consider arrangements for a full 14 days.

Of course, most people will experience lack of water as a more immediate crisis than lack of food. Many Americans could survive with less than a few hundred calories a day for the two weeks, but could not live 4 days without water)

In most emergency scenarios impacting the water supply, plans call for simply taking the public water supply offline until the threat is over. This way, the entire water "grid" is not contaminated, but only the source. Additionally, residents would be prevented from drinking the contaminated water if it never reaches their homes.

Here are a few improvised resources to remember, when the water gets cut off:

- Bottled water you may own in the fridge or pantry

-Ice in the ice maker of your freezer

-water trapped in a water heater’s tank
(usually a drain valve that can be connected to a garden hose AFTER the tank has been shut off and allowed to cool.)

-water in the tanks of toilets
(not in the bowl itself, but in the upper, clean part above the flapper valve)

-water in water furniture, aquariums, and vases
(not suitable for drinking, but when poured quickly into a toilet, will cause it to "flush" normally, even when the water has been disconnected)

-water in swimming pools
(must be further processed before drinking)

-water trapped in pipes of a sprinkler system.
(In yards with a slope, water will collect in the lowest section of pipe. The amount of water can sometimes be several gallons).

-lakes, streams, rainwater and dew
(often requiring further processing before drinking)

-water packaged for sale in retail and warehouses
(available by expropriation or "pro-active scavenging")

-water in other food packaging (sauces, soda, mixers, etc).

-water in neighboring homes

- water in industrial ac and plumbing
(the water requires purification, but commercial systems in schools and hospitals can hold hundreds of gallons in water heaters and boilers).




posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:07 PM
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Doesn't water thats been standing and open for a while (like in a water tank) run the risk of being contaminated? I can't imagine water from an air conditioner would be too healthy either

Also you forget to mention drinking your own urine in that list it's sterile at least, thats the go to water source in any situation
edit on 28-1-2011 by davespanners because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-1-2011 by davespanners because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:12 PM
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A tank is closed, and so there's not much opportunity of contamination after it is stored there. The larger problem is that heated tanks accumulate heavy metals, particularly cesium. But it IS an emergency....


Drinking urine won't kill you, but it won't keep you alive either. Forcing your kidneys to keep refining the same salts and toxins over and over can lead to urinary tract infections. Not to mention a piss-poor attitude based on the taste it leaves in your mouth.



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:12 PM
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I'm in Canada and heading in the bush shortly (which is relevant to what my take on it). My American cousins water is pretty contaminated with pollution and the like as it's the USA. My advice is to either have a ready bottle of some sort, glass, plastic, preferably something natural as I just don't believe in taking plastic into the wild at all.. Polluting is not my thing to do to Mother Nature. Anyways, you fill up the bottle with water from a lake and you dangle it above the water, keeping it moving constantly so it doesn't melt or anything and so it boils right up. Get out of the city ASAP once a disaster hits. Everyone else will be looting and pillaging and resourceful will be used right up. Boil the water of all the pollutants in it, it's vital for the health to manage the wilderness. Nature's a mean son of a gun just the way it's meant to be. Survival of the fittest. I myself use a whisky bottle.
Just make sure to always keep it moving above the fire until it boils then it's good.



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:19 PM
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If we are talking about hot water tanks then there is a serious risk or legionnaires disease, same with air conditioning


New research from the US has identified home hot water pipes and domestic hot water systems as a common source of Legionnaires’ disease. Although more often associated with the air conditioning systems fitted to hospitals and large office buildings,


link

I would have thought that was the last thing you need in an emergency situation



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by davespanners
 


Thanks for the link. Temperatures above 140 F seem to kill off the bacterium that causes Legionnaire's. So boiling it would definitely do the trick. If the electricity and/or gas are off, a backyard barbeque grill could be used to kill that organism.
edit on 28-1-2011 by dr_strangecraft because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by davespanners
Doesn't water thats been standing and open for a while (like in a water tank) run the risk of being contaminated? I can't imagine water from an air conditioner would be too healthy either

Also you forget to mention drinking your own urine in that list it's sterile at least, thats the go to water source in any situation
edit on 28-1-2011 by davespanners because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-1-2011 by davespanners because: (no reason given)


boil water .... process through coffee filter[ catch the larger junk ] add purification tablets if you like...... run through a common carbon based water filter.....

reason why you can locate the bacteria/mold/whatever in hot water line is typical homes do not use die-electric unions causing electrolysis. which intern causes material to collect and stick to the walls of the pipe trapping anything in the water within the materials.........

it will be found in non operational pipes because there is no flow and potential air in the pipes when the oxygen enriched water releases air bubble suspended with in.....it has a place to grow due to that....

i may be wrong but that is the most educated view i can post



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
reply to post by davespanners
 


Thanks for the link. Temperatures above 140 F seem to kill off the bacterium that causes Legionnaire's. So boiling it would definitely do the trick. If the electricity and/or gas are off, a backyard barbeque grill could be used to kill that organism.
edit on 28-1-2011 by dr_strangecraft because: (no reason given)


i bought one of those stand alone propane burner made by coleman a while back to go in my emergency storage.



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by OneLife
I'm in Canada and heading in the bush shortly (which is relevant to what my take on it). My American cousins water is pretty contaminated with pollution and the like as it's the USA. My advice is to either have a ready bottle of some sort, glass, plastic, preferably something natural as I just don't believe in taking plastic into the wild at all.. Polluting is not my thing to do to Mother Nature. Anyways, you fill up the bottle with water from a lake and you dangle it above the water, keeping it moving constantly so it doesn't melt or anything and so it boils right up. Get out of the city ASAP once a disaster hits. Everyone else will be looting and pillaging and resourceful will be used right up. Boil the water of all the pollutants in it, it's vital for the health to manage the wilderness. Nature's a mean son of a gun just the way it's meant to be. Survival of the fittest. I myself use a whisky bottle.
Just make sure to always keep it moving above the fire until it boils then it's good.


The bottle thing is a good idea.

Most people don't know that even a 2ltr plastic drinks bottle can be used to boil water in.

The method is simple...take your plastic bottle, fill it completely to the very brim..that's crucial..absolutely *no* air can be in the bottle, fit the lid back on, and lay it flat in a fire...it won't melt, because there is no air and the water keeps the bottle from burning.

The best place to get water from in an emergency is...everywhere. The atmosphere is everywhere, so water vapour is everywhere too.

Even in hot areas like deserts you'll be able to harvest enough fresh and clean water to keep you and yours alive...you won't be going swimming in it any time soon, but it will be enough to survive.

Take as large a piece of plastic sheet you can get your hands on, tarps, decorators plastic sheets, pond liners, even bin bags can be used.

Dig a shallowish, wide hole in the earth/sand, (or find one) a bit smaller that the plastic/poly sheet.

Place a collecting container in the centre of the hole, and lay the sheet over the hole, leaving a large gap between the sheet and the bottom of the pit/hole, and secure the edges of the sheet with earth, rocks, bricks or whatever you find.

Get a medium sized (no sharp edges on it) stone or rock, and place it on the upper surface of the sheet, exactly above where you placed your cup/tin can/? collector in the centre of the hole. This will cause the sheet to depress in the middle, towards the collector in the hole.

Come the morning, you'll find that condensation will have run down the underside of the plastic sheet, due to the medium stone directing the flow towards the cup underneath the sheet.

As i say, you wouldn't get enough to go swimming, but enough to survive. Nothing stopping you making loads of these if you had the materials and enough space, to get more water. ETA; to stop bugs and things from getting into and drinking your collected water, loosely place a hanky or pair of ladies tights over the collector.

Car radiators and cooling systems are a good source of water...obviously it would need to be distilled (a modified pressure cooker over a fire will work) before drinking with all the crap in it, but emergencies and all that!

Local ponds, rivers and lakes are another source, where boiling for a few minutes should be good enough to make it potable (drinkable).

Your attic or loft space usually contains a cold water tank that holds a lot of water.

The first thing to do in a water shortage is turn off the water going to the toilet cistern. Use a composting type of toilet instead, emergency water *cannot* be wasted on flushing and washing. Wash using moistened baby wipes, or even dew wetted moss etc.

If for example you happened by an industrial area, and found a source of hydrogen...you could burn it, and collect the resulting pure water by product. Bit out there, i know...but if you found loads of hydrogen but no water, it might save someone.




edit on 28/1/2011 by spikey because: added info



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 02:25 PM
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reply to post by spikey
 


I have to disagree with you about the universiality of moisture in the air. I grew up in the "Desert Southwest" of the United States, and frequently after about July 10, the air is so dry that it is functionally impossible to harvest moisture from it. I am familiar with the idea, but am also familiar with the region through years of farm and ranch work.

Virga is a common sight, and even during a rainstorm, the relative humidity doesn't go above 35 percent! Also, in the depths of winter, with low temps in the teens, there is frequently no frost on windows---even a 30 degree drop in temperature during the night cannot squeeze a film of water out of the atmosphere and onto your car windows.

Even augmenting a solar still with plant matter, you may not get enough to keep a single human alive indefinitely.


It's part of the reason so few people live out there.



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 06:51 PM
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one source of water in an emergency is ground water..find the lowest place and start digging. water may appear in a day or 2. most roots have water in them. especially if near a suspect body of water start a few feet away and dig a hole, the ground will filter it better than getting it straight from the source, then boil for at least 25 minutes!! some say 20 but.....

digging holes also retains much water when/if it does rain.


solar powered ecolo blue??



posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 07:45 AM
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reply to post by dr_strangecraft
 

That has surprised me.

I learnt about this technique from accounts of soldiers/survivalists that were in a desert when they did this trick with harvesting water vapour.

I believe it works best at dusk and at dawn.

But sure, i'm willing to agree that places such as death valley might be areas you'd wish to avoid in an emergency water shortage!



posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 10:07 PM
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Originally posted by rebeldog
one source of water in an emergency is ground water..find the lowest place and start digging. water may appear in a day or 2.


In much of the American plains, the water table is 200 ft (60 m) below the surface.

edit on 29-1-2011 by dr_strangecraft because: sleeper agent command words were accidentally inserted into the text



posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by spikey

But sure, i'm willing to agree that places such as death valley might be areas you'd wish to avoid in an emergency water shortage!


That was my point. The solar still or dew collector is ineffective during the summer in MOST of the southwest United States, Not just Death Valley.

Unless the place gets more than about 25 inches of rain a year, the summers are too dry (too low of a relative humidity) for that to work effectively.

From Western Nebraska, South to Mexico, and everywhere below about 4000 ft in the southern Rockies, you'd be in trouble.



posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 11:47 PM
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reply to post by spikey
 





Most people don't know that even a 2ltr plastic drinks bottle can be used to boil water in.
The method is simple...take your plastic bottle, fill it completely to the very brim..that's crucial..absolutely *no* air can be in the bottle,
fit the lid back on,
and lay it flat in a fire...it won't melt, because there is no air and the water keeps the bottle from burning.


Fitting the lid back on would cause the bottle to explode, no?



posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 11:57 PM
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You can clean water by filtering it through layers of dirt sand and coal, with a final cloth layer, then many of the contaminants in the water will be gone. You still need to bring it to a boil, at least for a little while (there are vaying oppinions on how long to boil for) and you will have drinkable water.
You can make a water tank by creating a wooden frame out of two by fours, then using plywood, make walls and a floor, then put a tarp or plastic sheet in the container to make it water tight. Make sure nothing punctures the inner layer should fit without air between it and the wood. The plastic should be over the edge of the container and firmly attached. You can fill it as you get water. Rain water and run off water from roofs can also be used to fill the container. You should probably at least boil the water before drinking, mabey filter it.



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