Saturday morning yielded yet another knock at the door and a visit with our survival friend and expert John. “Good morning John”, Good morning Bill”. “You know these visits are just 15 minutes long Bill, so lets get started”.
I led John back into the garage which is the area I have started setting up as a survival storage area. John jumped right to the subject of water. “So Bill, you want to be able to bug in at your home here for 30 days”. “The first thing that we have to consider is the amount of water you have on hand as you probably know that a human can survive weeks without food but just three days without water will lead to a quick demise of you and your family”.
Here are my recommendations:
1 Gallon of water for each person per day
There are 128 fluid ounces in a gallon, or 3.7 liters when you count up those sports bottles you have on hand.
“Wait a minute John, my wife and I don’t drink a gallon of water each day”. John said, “Maybe not but if you take into consideration others things you typically do like wash yourself, wash your clothes, brush your teeth and use the toilet then the average amount of water you should have on hand is a gallon per person”. I responded, “Oh yea, I forgot all about that stuff as I mentioned about making a pot of coffee.”
John looked down at his clipboard and said, “OK, lets go over just one typical day and see where it leads us”. First off you will probably be cooking at least 3 times per day, which includes your pot of coffee you mentioned. While you will still have food left over in your freezer to cook for the first several days it won’t be long before you will be relying of canned foods and staples. Most staples us water to prepare. Potatoes, rice, pancakes, biscuits… well you get the idea.” The bottom line is that you will need water to cook.
“You will need so much water to wash your body and of course you know this doesn’t mean the typical hot shower that you are used to. You need to brush your teeth every other day I suggest washing your clothing.” Wow, I never thought about just how much water we use each day. “Oh, and by the way you will also need a place to hang your clothes to dry.”
I said to John while we are stuck inside our home what do we do with all of the left over water from bathing, cleaning and cooking? “Ah”, said John. “This is where the the term Grey Water comes in. All of the water that is left over is going to utilized to flush your toilets”.
“Toilet water use can vary significantly. Older toilets can use 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. Federal plumbing standards now specify that new toilets can only use up to 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), and there are high efficiency toilets that use up to 1.28 GPF. I see that you have one of the newer models so a little over 1 and a half gallons should be enough to pour into your toilet that will cause it flush. If you have more than one bathroom I would also suggest utilizing one of the bathrooms for going No #1 and the other for going #2. The toilet you use for urine can probably wait to be flushed every 4th use.” “Based on the number of times we typically use the toilet you can imagine how much water you would have to have on hand if not using grey water.”
“I see that you have bottled water on hand for drinking” “That is good but I want you to consider a few other options. There are inexpensive products on the market from camping water bladders, large drinking fountain bottles, or just sanitized gallon milk jugs that can be filled up right from your own tap.” “You can also invest in drink water tablets that shock the water and kill any bacteria that may build up like a swimming pool.”
“Well there you have it Bill, my 15 minutes are up and it’s time to move on to my next client.” “I want you to think about all we discussed today and actually place yourself in this situation in your mind.” “There are tools you will need to accompany the water supply you are building up like wash tubs, basins for brushing you teeth and washing your body, and cooking tools.” I thought about all of these things and remembered that I have a camping coffee pot, but John is right I have to think about those other things too like a tub to wash my clothes where I can manage to save the water for toilets flushes. The bathtub just wouldn’t be an option.
Thanks John for all of your help. I will see you next Saturday? “Yes, 10:00 sharp.”