/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » the importance of storing water


As I build our food storage, there is one area that I’ve intentionally neglected:  water.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s important (at all), but when I read about people putting up water and storing it, it’s always people who are on city (municipal) water.  It’s not people in the country who have wells.  It must just be the people who write about preparedness – or I’ve just missed the mention of those who live on their own well.

Our water is notoriously hard and sediment-filled, which is part of the reason I haven’t put any up.  I don’t have an adequate way to insure the water I store tastes good and isn’t full of iron sediment when we need it, short of buying gallons and gallons from the grocery store, which seems particularly inefficient and un-frugal.

I do, however, have buckets of water (sediment-filled or not) in the garage – because power outages are common here, especially with unpredictable summer storms.  We live in a river basin, and somehow, the topography of the area means the weather is worse here.  So when there are storms that knock out our power, we also lose water – because the well pump is electric.  So the buckets in the garage are useful for flushing toilets – once we have no power, we have exactly 2.5 flushes before the pressure tank is out of water and the pump doesn’t run to refill the tank.

All of that to say that I really, honestly didn’t think it was a big deal to not have water in my food storage plans.  Our 72-hour kits will have water in them, and I thought that any situation dire enough to use the 72-hour kits would be meet our need for water in an emergency situation.

Until yesterday morning.

Mark got up at o’dark-thirty to shower and get ready for church – he’s gracious enough to let me sleep to about 6:00 or so.  He came to the middle level and after about 15 minutes of puttering in the kitchen & front room, heard a *BANG* and the sound of water spraying/gushing everywhere.

He came up to get me out of bed (aside: there’s nothing like being woken up too early by “I need you downstairs RIGHT NOW!  There’s water leaking in the basement and I don’t know where it is!”) and we stumbled around in our bathrobes and slippers, trying to figure out which pipe was leaking in the laundry room to create the puddle in which I was standing.  I couldn’t see anything leaking, but I could hear a ferocious spray of water from somewhere close.  Mark had the idea that it was in the crawlspace, so he went in there to investigate.

He found it – it was the pressure tank.  An elbow pipe leading in to the tank had blown and through the hole in the pipe sprayed an enormous quantity of water at a ridiculous rate of dispersion.  He turned it off and came out – then we cleaned mud off of the carpet, his slippers, and tried to get ready for church.

Do you know that good plumbers are very hard to find?  My network is quite large and yet not one person had a recommendation of a trustworthy (and reasonably-priced) plumber.  I finally found one through a handyman who lives in our county, but it took the better part of the morning to locate anyone worth calling.

So here we sit without water, still – 24 hours later.  The plumber will be back today to install a pressure tank (an expense we hadn’t counted on) and hopefully the water-less situation will end soon.  We’ll refill the water buckets in the garage and keep them there once we have water, and I’ll start making plans to buy a water filter (likely a Berkey) and filtering water to drink and store.

I’m a little sheepish at how naive I was about water-storage-needs, but I consider this a warning shot across the bow, so to speak.  It’s a week that we’ll eat out of our food storage, because the repair expense will eat through my grocery budget for the week, and then some.  But that’s why we’re building the food storage in the first place, right? :)

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