Letter: Water After Irma, by RV


It was 4 am and the flow of water from the tap conspicuously lacked vigor as I begin the tooth brushing process. We just had Hurricane Irma visit as a tropical storm. Many, including schools, are without power. My mind leaps to the conclusion that the water treatment plant is also out of power and I am in a real fix. No way I am filling my 50-gallon barrel on such a tentative flow. I curse the utility for not warning us that they could not process water. I also think, “Of course.” So I start thinking about hauling. All my collapsible 5-gallon bladders are stored at a secondary location. I come up with two urns totaling 7.5 gallons of capacity and a 5 gallon capacity plastic jerry can. There is a stack of bottled water cases.

A Plan

I do the math, and all my toilets are older, 2.5 gallons flushers. There’s not enough capacity in my hauling capability. I resolved to replace those two 2.5 gallon water closets with low use models. One point three gallons is the current standard in Georgia. I further resolve to have a five gallon jerry for each water closet and a 5 gallon collapsible cube with spigot for each sink to facilitate hand washing. Maybe I don’t fill the cubes all the way. A 12vdc water pump that I can run from my truck parked next to a creek or lake is another gadget that might be worth having for filling that barrel this weekend and looking for a hand pump to go with it.

Turns out, there was a main break just outside my subdivision so my apocalyptic assumptions were all wrong. We had water that afternoon. What was apocalyptic about it all was the nasty sticky red clay and silica sediment left all down the street, my yard, and drive way as well as my neighbor’s. Pressure washer to the rescue. My weekend, however, is shot!


  1. The water pump shown isn’t a dirty water pump it’s a clean water and won’t do well with the debris.
    I’d consider both a hand pump water filter and build a few bucket types or get a Berkeley.

  2. When refilling my Coleman 5 Gallon Water Carriers, http://www.coleman.com/5-gallon-water-carrier/5620B718G.html, before Hurricane Irma struck, I broke off the plastic on the spigots, trying to open and close them, one in the open position, which I had to put some plastic wrap and a rubber band over. I guess the plastic got old and brittle.
    So, I have to wonder about the durability of plastic spigots. There doesn’t seem to be a replacement part.

    The containers mentioned in this article are great, https://survivalblog.com/letter-re-water-cans/, but five gals of water is 41.7 lbs, which is kind of hard to pour. So, I might try using one of those shaker siphons, instead of the spigot. Also, maybe a two gal bucket for filling the toilet tank.

    I’ve been looking for a 12v pump to use with a propane portable tankless water heater shower. The one mentioned in the article might be what I have been searching for.

    Thanks for sending…

    1. http://www.coleman.com/replacement-parts/replacement-parts-for-5620b718g/5620B718GreplacementParts.html
      Is the link for replacement parts for your jugs

      Ive mounted these to buckets for ease of pouring too


      It’s a cheap solution for the wife to refill the toilet. I take the lid off the back of the toilet then set the bucket on top with the spigot aimed into the tank. She gets 2 flushes.

  3. Why replace your 2 and a half gallon flushers put a house brick or a 2 liter container of water in the cistern to reduce the volume of water required to fill it it’s a common practice over here in parts of the U.K. to help reduce water bills

    1. It depends on the flusher. some swirl for quite some time before swallowing. The low flow pretty much flushes without a swirl. If yours swirls, reducing the water may not work very well.

  4. I recommend you fit an 800 watt inverter for less than 100 bucks into your car hood area. Buy or scavenge a cheap sump pump. Get free barrels from a car wash. Use some garden hose. Drive to water source. Hook up hose to pump and stick into barrel. Plug in pump into your inverter. Fill up barrel(s). You’re making it way too hard on yourself to try 12V. If you had a cheap trailer you can put several water barrels on it. Siphon water out of barrels or get a rain barrel setup with a spigot. Meanwhile you will thank God you have a working 800 Watt inverter that runs your freezer or refrigerator a few hours each day, charges your cell phones , or runs a cooling fan.

    God Bless,

  5. I have a composting toilet that separates liquids from solids. Basically, the liquids hit a funnel that sends them to a gallon milk jug container (awesome, because I can replace it on a regular basis). So if you can funnel your family’s liquids into 1-gallon containers, then you only need to flush when you have solids. At that time, empty all the jugs of urine (stored near the stool, with lids on) into the toilet along with the solids. Then do a final ‘flush’ with clean water. It means no smell, no insects, and a severe savings in flush water.
    Second, I bought some of the plastic, lidded totes for most of my stored things rather than use cardboard boxes. If needed, those can be emptied and used for emergency water storage. In case of flooding/leaking, your things will stand a good chance of staying dry. It’s nice to have items used in valuable ways before SHTF and even more valuable after.

  6. Great food for thought on water. I have been called anal-retentive by many people regarding my water preps. I have multiple ways of obtaining and securing drinking water for SHTF. Supplies for a Big Berkey Clone (including activated charcoal as part of the purification process), an actual Big Berkey, numerous travel purifiers including Lifestraws, Katadin Bottles, plastic collapsible bladders for the tub, 5 gallon collapsible bladders with spigots, 7 gallon water jugs, 5 gallon buckets, milk jugs, Pool shock, Chlorine Bleach, iodine, etc. Not to mention the bottled water I keep on hand. I am even considering drilling a well down about 30′ and dropping a pitcher pump into my garage for a more “secure” water source that is out of sight from nosy neighbors. (Although, well water would not be considered potable from 30′ down in my area and would have to be purified to be considered safe for drinking – chemical run off from yards.) These are just some of the methods I have. There are many more. Point being, secure, clean, drinking water may be your most important prep. (In addition to security, shelter, food, Spiritual Fitness, etc. etc. etc.) Ahhh, the Prepper’s job is NEVER fully done is it?

  7. I have an electric well pump at my house but my ‘backup plan’ is the old fashioned Aeromotor windmill pump in the backyard…it was installed 20 years ago and I’ve been amazed at the abuse it can take, but I’ve also learned about all the things that need fixing from changing gear oil, worn out leather rings and even steel rods that fail from wearing against other steel parts over time…
    I also have a lagoon septic pond and I was starting to worry about the water level dropping to almost nothing over the Summer…then the dreaded line block and backup occurred I was cursing the teenage daughters when the plumber used his pipe camera to find 2 line breaks that were causing the issues! I’d still not trade it for city water and sewer!!

Comments are closed.