September 9, 2015

living without...... water

Okay. Living without water is one of the hardest things to do - seriously! Only living without food is equal. Most of the other things on my original post (here) can be forgotten about for at least awhile during the day but food & water are needed throughout the day, every day.

That being said it IS possible to live when your have no running water in your home but it is hard and a lot of work. Lets get to it.

1. Make absolute sure you don't have water or can't get it turned on. It is so worth it to pay a plumber $100 - even if it's your last $100 - to have running water in your home. You'll spend more than that having to go get water and hauling it home.

Sometimes no matter what you do, having running water is just NOT a possibility. Maybe you've just bought the home and there are extensive repairs needed. Maybe your water pipes froze solid due to the weather and a faulty pipe tape. Or maybe you threw a fit and made your husband fix the leak in the basement and while the water was shutoff for the repair it you both thought it was frozen solid because the outside temps were -10F with a feel like temp of -25F --- 3 months later you both realize it was just a faulty shut off valve! OOOPS! lol

2. Start collecting up containers that you want to use for carrying water in. Ideally these should be empty water jugs but can also be any food grade plastic, glass, or metal containers. Some safe ideas are: empty soda bottles, empty fruit drink jugs, glass jars, glass jugs, pans, etc. You shouldn't use milk or real fruit juice jugs because it's been shown that there can be bacteria left in the plastic of the containers. But honestly anything that is plastic or non breakable with a lid and big enough you can still carry easily when filled will work.

3. Now for the thinking part! Start thinking of where you can either bum, steal, or borrow some water. An easy idea - if you have money available - is to go to the local grocery store and buy water there. You can buy it "pre-bottled" or in a machine where you fill your own container and then pay a refill price. (this is a place to buy big jugs that you could re-use in other places that are compatible with human use) Besides buying water think of all the places you can get water.
           A. family
           B. friends
           C. neighbors (a nice one may give you permission to use the hose without having to ask each time!)
           D. your job
           E. gas stations (sometimes they have outside spigots or bathrooms so you can get more than a jug!)
           F. local parks
          G. camp grounds

Remember you will need water for drinking & cooking but also water for sanitary needs as well. Your sanitary water can be hauled in things like - laundry & fabric softener jugs, litter containers, or bleach jugs. This will also help keep the sanitary water separated - which is good if your reusing water (like from washing hands or washing dishes).

Reduce, re-use, recycle! Remember this cause hauling water is a pain in the butt! Try to use a composting toilet, if possible (more on that below). If not then when flushing the toilet only use water that's been used once before and pour it directly into the bowl to flush. Try to limit flushes to 2 per person, per day. There's an old saying -- if it's yellow let it mellow (don't flush!), if it's brown flush it down! Regardless of what method you use - no toilet paper should be put in with your waste and all methods should be "refreshed" every 24 hours. One last note on removing wastes from your home - be sanitary about it! DO NOT single bag waste from a composting toilet. DO NOT pour waste from a bucket onto the ground.

One way to deal with elimination waste is to use a stand alone toilet. To make a stand alone toilet all you need is basically a bucket - but honestly you should put more work into it for your own comfort. You can re-purpose chair or end table by cutting a hole in the top of the table or in the seat or even remove the seat or top and replace it with a piece of plywood with a hole cut out - then stick a bucket under it.

If you plan to do a "composting" toilet then you may want to research that further but when I say composting toilet I mean a toilet in which you add another item to solidify the wastes then dispose of them (double bagged!) in the trash. We've tried a number of things but I would recommend clumping kitty litter, if you can afford it, or some kind of wood shaving animal bedding, like for indoor rabbits. Wood shavings is by far cheaper. You could do a mixture of both also.

If you do use a liquid bucket system as a toilet then there are some ideas I can pass on. The chemicals you can buy in the camping section to help deodorize do little to help the smell, sadly. The best thing to do to help with smell is dump often, clean with good dish soap and bleach, rinse well, and then as a last resort you can put bleach right into the bucket with some water. Now I know that this may not be the best thing chemically but I can tell you it does work for the smell. Also you should fashion something as a lid for the hole or top of the bucket because this is helpful for the smell and possibility of cross contamination of the inevitable flies that will be present.

For other sanitary uses that concern water use, here are more tips. Get & use baby wipes and antibacterial gel - they really help! Implement a strict sponge bathing daily schedule - it will only use about a half a gallon per person but will help fight off any skin irritations. For hair washing get a hand pump bug sprayer that is new that looks like this --

with this sprayer and someone to help you can wash hair really easy. If your conservative you can wash really thick and long hair with only a half a gallon! Just think of this little sprayer as your personally shower head =)  You can even use it in that manner if you want. They do sell larger sprayers than 1 gallon and they probably even have ones that are electrically pressurized, though I have no clue on them.

You should also know that there are spots in most communities to take a bath without renting a motel room. Some ideas are going to a local pool or YMCA, gym, or beach. Camp grounds are a real treasure when you don't have water and it's the right season. But the real treasure and secret is truck stops. Most truck stops and even small gas stations that cater to truck drivers will have shower room that is for "rent" for only a couple bucks a shower -- it is sooo worth it! Some tips for any publicly used shower rooms are: always wear something on your feet (sandals, etc), bring your own soap, towels, shampoo, try to bring someone with you to help "guard" you and your things, and triple check to make sure you don't leave anything behind!! Now about a "guard" - honestly in a truck stop your probably in just about the safest spot for a public shower BUT I believe in being safe. You should bring a "guard" if your single or alone in ANY spot your going to shower publicly - it's just being safe.

If something happens and your not able to the leave the house but are in need of water then here are some starter spots to look for water - the tank on your toilet, your hot water heater tank, or even the pipes (as a last resort).



As a last comment I will say that living without water is something that your only going to want to do for a short time. Other things you can work around but water -- you have to have water, running water because our current homes are not setup to be without it. Work hard to get water restored or in place as soon as you can - it's worth it!


later...

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