Letter Re: Water Storage Options for Suburbanites

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Hi,
I was reading SurvivalBlog’s special page with info for newbies and I realized we are behind the eight ball. But my husband and I are Christians and we are both over 50. I am on disability but I am a retired Registered Nurse and I also sew, crochet etc.

You mentioned that we needed to have an underground water tank and I don’t see that as possible for us, however we do have a pool just off the back deck. Any advice?  Thanks, – Carol C.

JWR Replies: My mentions of underground water storage tanks were intended for people with country properties, and primarily those who have wells or springs with low gallons-per-minute production, or water that is pumped with photovotaically-powered pumps that operate only in daylight.  (Hence the need to capture water for later use.) Typically water is pumped up hill (or up to a tower-mounted tank, in level country), to provide gravity-fed water, under pressure, to operate a shower or sprinklers.

If you are on city-supplied water then your water needs will be met nicely if the power grid stays up. But you would have huge problems if the power grid goes down for an extended period.  (Since most civic water supplies have electric pumps, somewhere in the supply chain.) In your case, since you already have a swimming pool, you should hope that there will only be intermittent disruptions of the power grid. When there is a crisis and an upcoming interruption of the power grid looks likely, you should drain your pool completely and then refill it with fresh tap water. (As I’m sure you know, typical pool water chemicals render water unpotable, even if it filtered.) Then, just lightly chlorinate it, with plain hypochlorite laundry bleach.  The concentration of the chlorine should be such that you can just noticeably be able to taste the chlorine.  Depending on the size of your pool, this will provide you a reserve of water for drinking, washing, and flushing toilets that will last several weeks. Your pool should then be kept covered and of course be kept off limits from swimming. 

You should run any water from your re-filled pool that is intended for drinking or cooking through a gravity ceramic water filter in your kitchen, such as a Big Berkey or a similar clone.

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