Living Without Running Water: An Emergency Water Storage Guide

So, I turned off our running water for 48 hours and lived on our emergency water storage this week.  I did this as a test and learning experience.

I honestly didn’t expect to learn too much.  I mean, I’ve had emergency water storage for years and felt like I already knew quite a bit. Well, I’ve been humbled!

I actually learned a lot more than I thought I would, and I am going to share it all with you.

Why I tried to survive without water

My goal was really just to see how much of our emergency water storage we would need for a period of time. I wanted to make sure we had enough reserve to last for a decent amount of time.

But I learned so much more than I expected.  I’m so glad I did this experiment.

I highly encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already! When I say I learned a lot, I really did!

This post is a bit long because of it!  But I’ve tried to make it easy for you to scan through it and find the info that most applies to you, so don’t get too overwhelmed!

What I learned from living without water

Below are some of my main experiences during my experiment of going without water for a few days. These are my thoughts, feelings, and experiences – they may vary for each person, but I definitely learned a lot about myself here.

Anxiety is a real issue when faced with an emergency

One of my biggest takeaways from this is that my kids will experience severe anxiety in an emergency situation! Of course I knew they would be afraid and concerned, but the level of anxiety they experienced was nothing I was prepared for.

I did not tell my kids that this was a “test.”  I just told them our water wasn’t working. 

One of my 6 year old twins started crying and asked what we were going to do.  He said something like this:

“Water is my favorite drink, and I really like baths.  And I think my teeth will fall out if I can’t brush them.  What are we going to do Mom?”

Seriously?  I was actually rather surprised at his strong reaction (and my other kids followed suit).

So, what did I learn here?

I realized I need to take a better approach to preparing my kids for an emergency so they do not have this kind of reaction.

  1. I need to make sure I have enough water stored that I can keep our lives relatively normal in the event of a water shortage/contamination. Once my kids realized they could still brush their teeth and have a bath (with less water of course) their fears subsided.
  2. I am grateful that he has now been through this “crisis.”  If we ever truly have to face a long-term water shortage, he will be much more prepared and confident in our ability to do so. There will be just a bit less anxiety in our home than there would have been without this practice.
  3. I need to review all kinds of emergencies with my kids so they have an idea of what to expect in a variety of situations. One of my goals is to create a printable or coloring sheet that will help them understand some of what we may go through!

Laundry will be a huge challenge

I am actually a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t ever really considered how I would do laundry in an emergency!

The night before we started this challenge, my son asked if I could clean a shirt for him to wear to school. I told him I wouldn’t have it clean by the next morning, but that I was planning to do laundry the next day, so he could wear it the day after.  Then, I woke up to my water off and couldn’t do all that laundry!

So, what did I learn here?

  1. I think that instead of having one laundry day where I do all our laundry, I will try to do a load a day or so. That way we will always have some clean clothes and could get by for a few days to a week with doing no laundry.
  2. I will add a bit of water into my totals (listed at the end of this post) for the amount of water I would expect my family to use each week.
  3. I will keep my kid’s “too small” clothes just a bit longer.  In an emergency situation, I’d be totally fine with them wearing slightly high-water pants! I’d just be grateful for the additional clean clothes! 
  4. I will be doing a bunch of research on how to do laundry in an emergency to come up with a solution that will work best for our family. I will actually try out different methods and share what I learn here on the blog.

*Update: I have done this!  Click on the related post below for more info.


My kids go to the bathroom a lot more than I thought

Seriously, WAY too often!

We didn’t flush every time they went, but anytime it was “stinky,” we did! 

We filled up the back of the toilet with our stored water, and we flushed it. But about half a day into it, I realized that in a true emergency, it wouldn’t just be our water that was off, and we wouldn’t be able to flush!

So, again, a bit embarrassed here, but I’m just now realizing how important it is to have some way for us to dispose of/take care of that type of waste in an emergency.

Had we not be able to flush, it would have been a serious issue in just those two days. Not only would it have been unpleasant, but it would have been unsafe and unsanitary. 

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like for weeks or a month!

My husband had the idea to dig a hole in the backyard and go there. Not a horrible idea, but that would quickly become a serious health issue. Untreated raw sewage can pollute fresh ground water supplies. It can also attract flies and promotes the spread of awful diseases.

So, what did I learn here?

  1. First, in a short-term emergency where the plumbing is still working, we will use “grey” (dirty dish/bath water) to flush.  I will keep the grey water for this purpose instead of dumping it.
  2. Second, I will be investing in a bunch of these toilet waste bags.  These bags are 100% biodegradeable and are solid sturdy bags that can be placed in a bucket or even in your real toilet (all for keeping things as normal as possible, right?).
  3. Each bag comes with a bio-gel application that turns fecal matter into an Enviro-Friendly material meaning you can dispose of it with your normal trash.  I will likely purchase some of the deodorant product too.
  4. Next, I will be investing in this bucket seat cover.  We go through a lot of 5 & 6 gallon buckets at my house.  I usually just give them away, but I will be keeping one and putting this cover on it (and the waste bags in it) in case we need to leave home and don’t want to pollute other areas!
  5. Last, I will also be investing in a few more sanitizing wipes (like Clorox wipes) to make keeping our hands, toilets, floors, and  counters safe and clean a bit easier without depleting our water supply.

I think dish water is gross!

I know that all you true “survivalists” will laugh a bit at this, and I admit it is a first world problem. 

I can admit that I’m spoiled!

When I wash dishes with running water, I get the dishes just a bit damp and then put a drop of soap on each. I use a wet rag to wash them and put them clean, but still a bit soapy, back in the sink. Then I spray and rinse each dish individually and dry them. 

I feel like this gets them truly clean, and I like things to be clean.

But that processes uses more water than I was willing to use in our mock emergency situation.

For this test I put about a gallon of water in the sink with soap in one side of the sink and a clear gallon of water in the other side. I washed them in the soap side, and rinsed them in the clean water side.

But by the time I was done, both sides of the sink looked gross. It just felt so unsanitary to me that I was reusing all the same water.

So, what did I learn here?

There are lots of solutions to this issue (just read the comments below for additional suggestions), but this is what I will do:

  • I will store more paper products like plates and cups. We can burn them in our fire pit when done using them, so I feel fine about it environmentally. It will save time/stress in a true emergency, and I won’t have to wash my dishes in dirty water!
  • I will accept the fact that I like to clean/wash my dishes individually and increase my emergency water storage accordingly. Even with paper products, I will still have pots, pans, serving spoons etc., that will need to be cleaned.

Bathing takes less water than I thought

The #1 reason I’ve pushed for storing way more than the recommended one gallon per person per day is because I felt like bathing would take a LOT of water!

But really, it didn’t.

I bathed with about two gallons of water. I bathed my kids in about 4 gallons total (the boys shared and the girls shared).  So, if we bathed every other day, that is only about 110 gallons out of our emergency water storage for our family for an entire month

Plus, it didn’t take more than a few gallons of hot water to make the baths comfortably warm!

I did learn, however, that I really don’t like sponge baths for the same reason I don’t like washing dishes in dirty water. I prefer showers, and so does my husband.

I know that many families would be able to use less water by sharing their bath water, and again, true “survivalists” might laugh at me.  But for me, I’d rather store more water and have my own two gallons! Of course circumstances may dictate what I use!

So, what did I learn here?

  1. I will decrease the amount of emergency water storage I’ve planned to store for bathing/showering.
  2. I will be purchasing a solar shower that we can hang outside to get warm (if it is sunny) and then move and use in our regular shower. As a bonus, this could also be used if we had to pack up and go for any reason.

Different sized water containers are a good thing

emergency water storage containers
Image Credit: Canva.

I’ve always taught people that you should have lots of different sized water containers.

But now that I’ve actually lived it (kind of), I’m even more convinced that it is important. It was nice to be able to quickly grab a drink or some water for cooking.

The 5 gallon jugs with spigot were perfect for a makeshift faucet. The 55 gallon water drums are what I recommend to store large amounts of water.

Moving the water from those big barrels to the 5 gallon jugs was simple with our siphon pump.  We only had to pump it three-four times, and then the water just flowed right out. 

My problem was getting it to stop, I ended up spilling a bit each time I used it.

So, what did I learn here?

Even though we have quite a few different sized containers,  I will still be making a few adjustments:

  1. I will be purchasing more 5 gallon jugs with spigotsRight now we only have four, and I’d like to be able to have one jug at each sink.
  2. I will be purchasing an additional siphon pump in case ours breaks. It made transferring water from one barrel to the next so easy and I do NOT want to be without it!

How much emergency water we used

The original purpose of this entire experiment was to determine how much of our emergency water storage we used so that I could feel more secure in the amount of water we are storing.

Over the entire 48 hour period, we used 34 gallons.

  • 10 of those gallons were used flushing toilets. I will no longer be storing water to flush toilets as we will use grey water and or the bio-treatments.
  • I’m adding 1 gallon “extra” because in an emergency we will likely get dirtier, and possibly have wounds etc. to clean.  This just makes me feel a little extra safe.
  • I’m adding 2 gallons extra for dish cleaning water, because I’m spoiled and like my dishes really clean. 
  • I’m adding 2 gallons for drinking water. I realized on day 2 that we were drinking lots of milk and OJ, stuff from the fridge. I want to be able to have enough water if we have nothing else to drink.
  • I’m adding 3 gallons (10 gallons/week) for laundry based on my powerless laundry experiment.  This would allow me to do about 1/2 of the laundry I currently do. We’d just wear our clothes twice as long.

So that is 32 gallons total for 2 days or 16 gallons per day for our family’s emergency water storage.

How much water I will store

In order to maintain a somewhat normal routine in the event that our running water was shut off, our family would need about 2.67 gallons per person per day.

For a family of six this breaks down to:

  • 48 gallons for a 3 day supply
  • 112 gallons for a 1 week supply
  • 224 gallons for a 2 week supply
  • 480 gallons for a one month (30 day) supply

Personally, my emergency water storage goal is a one month supply. 

I plan to do that in the following way:

  • 12 Five gallon jugs (60 gallons)
  • 12 water bottle 24 packs  (38 gallons)
  • 7 fifty-five gallon barrels (385 gallons)

In addition, I would like to have the ability to filter/sanitize water for our family of six for six months. That is about 3000 gallons for our family.

If you are interested in a similar goal, you can find lots of ways (some free) to filter/clean water here: Making Water Safe to Drink: Water Purification vs Water Filtration.

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever lived without running water for a period of time whether as practice or for a real emergency? I would love to hear what you learned from the experience. Save


168 thoughts on “Living Without Running Water: An Emergency Water Storage Guide”

  1. Great article. Going to try my own no water practice soon. When I was a kid we couldn’t afford a washing machine so we would stomp clothes in the bathtub then ring them out by hand. Lots of work but we thought it was fun.

  2. Well I grew without running water from the tap.But we still had running water,RAN AND GOT FROM THE WELL WITH A ROPE AND PULLEY DEAL.Then we heated the water on a wood stove for bathes that taken in a old tin tub.And also never thought of being with out water,But to me it’s the city folks that need to worry about water shortage.Cause the country folks have wells or large holding tanks .And various ways of making water pressure .I believe it’s called ‘common sense’.Cause the way of life is handed down to the kids that want to learn how to live with a lot less luxuries.And them ones that want to live in the cities well they lose there chances at living well.Sorry to them city folks that can’t survive with their cell phones,running tap water and power grids and high gas eating auto’s And stores with all their fast foods delivered to them.And street lights to show them the way to get home in the dark. And all them fancy gizmos to keep them warm.Well it’s sad to say without POWER or running water,And gas to heat their homes.They would be the first to die.For them city folks call the people of the country a lot of names,But little do they realize them RED NECKS,COUNTRY BUMPKINS,AND any other name city (shitty ) folks call us.We watch you folks cry for foods and water and warmth when SHTF.That’s my way of getting the last laugh.Food ,water,heat with be worth more than you smart ass remakes that you city folks call us country living folks.with out the power,running water,and gas heated homes,Country folks will SURVIVE……

    • Well this comment added nothing of value to this post. What I got from it is that you will get the last laugh when “us” city folk die. Sounds a little demented to me. How about you share some knowledge about water storage or maintaining water pressure without electricity? This is something that you obviously are knowledgeable about. If country life taught you to look out for yourself and not help your fellow man then I think you are much worse off than I am. I am skeptical that is post isn’t genuine because of all the basic grammar mistakes like punctuation.

      • I agree. I’ve lived both ways and everyone deserves a chance to survive. It would be better to hear helpful advice rather than vengeful hopes that others will die.

  3. We are in the midst of a severe drought in Cape Town South Africa. We have about 100 days of water left and then taps will run dry. Looking for ideas on how to keep toilets going without running water.

    • We share this destiny; I had same idea as I know always have good plans for disasters. Why do people state toilets won’t work when taps run dry: what if pool water is used?

    • Another South African (thanks Eskom, thanks communist ANC).

      Get the bags and the gel the lady is talking about. Alternatively, a camping portapotty with a couple bags of chemical solution will work.

      No water – no working toilets

  4. I’ve been prepping since Y2K; providing for water was my first solved problem. I installed a “SimplePump” in my well. This is a hand pump that draws 30 gallons per hour out of the well and forces it into the pressure tank that is already in your basement. Since this water is under pressure, water can be delivered to your upstairs bathrooms for showering, flushing and kitchen use. During hurricane Sandy we were out of electricity for eight days. That meant, the electric pump in our 222′ well (set @ 200′) could not operate. The SimplePump (set @150′) worked just fine! One hour of manual pumping in the morning gave me 30 gallons in the pressure tank – enough for the average day. (If we needed more – I simply pumped more). BTW – we have a gravity-powered septic tank with a drain field 50′ below the tank so the drain field is always under pressure. (That was the second problem that I solved) A gravity-powered oil-fired stove producing 85,000 BTU/hr. keeps us warm, burning 2 gallons/day. My 1,000 gallon oil tank can take us three winters without electricity before it runs dry. propane camp stoves provide our cooking. Battery-powered camp lights provides light for reading at night.

    • I have tested living with out running water, Found out use about 6 gallons a day. Washing I use 2 buckets and plunger Actually gets clothes cleaner, however is a learning curve. Going to bathroom is the biggest user of water. Doing dishes is one bucket at a time and another bucket to rinse, if you do it reg. not bad. So there are 2 adults and my dogs and a cat. So I need about 200 or 250 gal. Bathing only takes about 1 or 2 gallons withing using use baking soda

      • I use one of those bucket and plunger washers whenever we run out of money for laundromat, my son calls it a plunge-o-matic. It is a bit of a learning curve as Don said but really more than anything it’s a time-thing. We spend 15 to 20 minutes plunging then rinse another 15 to 20 minutes, then a second rinse “cycle ” and honestly they get cleaner than the washing machine gets them.

  5. We have gone without water for up to five days another water source is the pool and I grew up in a house where every time it rained us kids were told to collect the rain water mom would line us up to wash our hair makes it so soft.

    • Yes, the pool can be used for washing etc. But most drinking water filters won’t clean out the chemicals, so make sure not to drink it. And I didn’t know that about rain water! How fun that it makes your hair soft!

  6. I live in a very very old cabin that doesn’t connect to the county water lines. We consider ourselves super lucky to have electricity, ac & heat, but acquiring running water here just hasn’t become possible. A super simple device that is my fave for rinsing dishes with minimal water is this:
    We also use one in the bathroom to rinse hands after a scrub in the wash basin. It is so helpful for multiple applications & helps use less water. If I had to do dishes without one now I would cry… seriously.
    We also use berkey & aqua rain water filters. I hate those stupid solar shower bags so we use this & it rules:
    Just keep the solar bag around incase there is no power. : )

  7. You say you have been been researching and organizing emergency preparedness since 2007 and yet your kids started crying and asked what they were going to do.

    (“Water is my favorite drink and I really like baths. And I think my teeth will fall out if I can’t brush them. What are we going to do Mom?”

    Seriously? I was actually rather surprised at his strong reaction (and my other kids followed suit”)

    I would suggest you change some of your skill base into building up your family’s reaction to emergency situations.

    Self sufficient: needing no outside help in satisfying one’s basic needs and emotionally and intellectually independents, I know it sounds hard to take in but even plan for your and your husband not being around after the first onslaught of a disaster, kids need to be self sufficient even very young.

    No need to to publish this reply I just felt the need was there to help advance your thinking in this grey area, I can understand an untrained family reaction to no water but your nine years in to this chain of thought and your family grew into this chain of thought I find that to be a problem.

    • First, this post was originally written almost 3 years ago. My oldest children (twins) were 5 or 6. The youngest was two. Even if they had been exposed before that, their memories wouldn’t be all that great. Second, the whole reason for turning off the water was to “Build up my family’s reaction to emergency situations” and I was very honest in the post about needing to do better in that area as a way of encouraging others to do so. We’ve done much in the last three years. Baby steps are great and better than nothing. If you’d like a more advanced prepping blog, there are many I can refer you to!

      • Misty I think you are doing a good job. I have found that most people that act all superior usually are not, And people that point fingers have 3 pointing right back at them.. I thank you for the post. I find no mater how much I think I know I can always learn more. Thanks oncw again.

  8. I’ve only camped with 6 kids so I know how important water is and what an issue it can become quickly (whether it be whose turn it is to fetch water or a for real no water available). One of my favorite ways to save on water is to repurpose (as I like to call it) the dish rinse water. After the dishes are all done, I put a bit of dish soap in and pour it into a fire proof very large pan (which is dedicated only for dish washing) and place it back near or as meal time approaches again, place it on the fire to heat up again and maintain the heat to keep it ready for the next batch of dishes. You can place a lid on it to help discourage evaporation. It has always seemed to work well for me. And when the days are cooler, I also keep a coffee pot of water warming by the fire so when the kids get cold we can all have our favorite warm drinks or to use with our next cooking adventure.

  9. I too have no running water/sewer, due to deliquent accounts. I spend $75.00 a month filling water in jugs for daily bathes, toliet flushing and cooking, about 3 gallons per person in our house. You dont relaize how much you really need things til they are gone. A huge dose of reality. We can do it, have been for 3 months .This was a great experiment in case of a water shortage or contamination. Thank you for the tips!

  10. A piece in our well broke this summer and we ended up with 4 days of no running water at all and then another 4 days of gross chocolate milk looking water until everything in the well settled and we could use it for things, other then the toilet, again.
    Because it was summer it didn’t really throw us off too much. Instead of baths we just went swimming daily since we have access to many clean and beautiful lakes.
    I did end up using less water for dishes, but that was more to do with I didn’t want to haul and heat enough to fill the sink a time or two so I just half filled the sink and when the water got too dirty drained and half filled again.
    Since it was only the water that was out using our toilet was still an option. Since our septic tank has an electric pump we couldn’t use it long if the power is out as well. ** Most cities however have gravity fed lines so as long as there is water you should be able to flush without any other services ** We have a outhouse in the back 40 though so we could use that in an emergency. Also since we are out in the middle of no where my boys can just pee on tress so no bathroom facilities needed for number one for them.
    Laundry was done in the sink only when needed, a couple items at a time. Will have to come up with a faster method for a real emergency though since I don’t want to have to wash every article but hand in the sink. I have done it before but it was time consuming and not enjoyable.
    It was a fun experience. There were definalty some challenging parts to it but overall my kids and I enjoyed the experience.

  11. Hi,

    Actually, you do NOT need water for toileting facilities.

    They have porta potties in camping stores or you can use a potty for invalids. They also sell products that you can sprinkle over the results of your bathroom visit that will gelatinize any liquids. According to the label, this makes it safe to dispose of in regular garbage. This is what they do for refugees after hurricanes.

    OR you CAN dig a hole in the ground outside–just don’t put it next to a well. People who don’t have municipal sewer systems use septic tanks–the effluent just goes out to a drainage field on the other side of the house from the well–the natural microbes in the soil break it down. It DOES NOT contaminate their well water.

    You can also use earth to cover wastes every time you go. Earth potties were very popular before flush toilets. Even Queen Victoria used one, and they DID know about germs in those days. The microbes from the soil are supposed to cover up any smell and are much stronger than the microbes in your waste. If you can’t throw it out, dump it in a hole & bury it. I just wouldn’t use the results in my compost or anywhere near food gardens or wells for potable water. You know the old expression–Don’t sh-t where you eat? That’s where I think it comes from.

  12. Having gone six weeks without potable water after a typhoon I learned that rainwater is prrfect for bathing, flushing, and laundry. We placed a large plastic bag in our trashcan and directed our downspot into it…improvised rain barrel. We hung a shower curtain on a hula hoop and suspended it from swing set…shower. Eggs were boiled, bathed with with same water, and then used it to flush. Not one drop was wasted. We had saved enough potable wayer for cooking and drinking to last us the entire 6 weeks. Laundry was done by stomping it out on a galvanized tub and rinsing in rain water. It was hung on a line with clothespins used for weights on hem….no wrinkles and no ironing. Wash water was used to flush toilet. My experience taught me how to triple use every drop of wayer and that the only wealthy petson in my neighborhood were the people with TP and bleach.

  13. My experience with storing water in jugs (that come from the store) is that they begin to leak. Like any other “stored” item, they must be used and rotated.

  14. This was a fun read. Two thoughts about living without running tap water:

    1. Room temp sponge baths use less precious water than sitting in shallow water in a bath tub. As long as you wash face, neck, hands underarms, crotch and feet daily this is good enough. It worked for our ancestors and can work again. Baby wipes also work for a quick clean-up of messy areas (like toddler;s faces after mealtime)

    2. A simple way to do laundry is to use a five-gallon bucket fitted with a gamma lid. Put Oxy Clean, Dawn dishwashing detergent, dirty clothes and room temp water in bucket. Tighten down lid. Lay bucket on side and roll it back and forth for a few minutes then just let the clothes soak for a few hours, then roll the bucket again for a few more minutes. Drain, rinse, wring, let drip dry. Not pretty, but the clothes will be clean.

  15. I would like to see how this works when on your period and living without water as it is another challange, especially when you use enviromentally friendly products that need to be cleaned in order to re-use.

  16. As for doing dishes…when I was in the Army and we went out in the field; after mess, we would string our cup and utensils on the handle of our plate and dip the whole thing in 30 gallon trash cans filled with boiling water. The first can had detergent. The second was the initial rinse. The third was the final rinse. I realize this would not be practical at home, but the point is to use that third rinse to make sure the dishes are clean and sanitized. There was a long-handled brush at the first can to get rid of excess food. We never had anyone get sick using three sets of water. Hope this helps.

      • We did that when camping with the Girl Scouts too. We each had a drawstring mesh bag for our mess kits and dunked them 3 times. The last rinse had a little bleach in it. Then we just hung up our dunk bags. Pots and pans were done last.

        A couple other tips would be to use those slow cooker bags or plastic baking/roasting bags when cooking to save on the mess. Just throw out the bag when done cooking your really messy foods like baked beans or spaghetti.

        I would also suggest plastic wash tubs/basins that would fit in each sink to collect water for re-use. Even a bigger “under the bed” storage tote to put in the tub if you hang a portable shower for your faucet or take a sponge bath. It makes it easier to get more water out of the bottom of the tub for flushing the toilet.

      • When I use to do living history events we were portraying 16th century life so we didn’t have running water. We had 3 galvanized dish pans. The first was filled with soapy water, the 2nd with clear, clean water and the 3rd with water with a bit of bleach in it. This was our final rinse. We would scrape everything really well before we washed them and this helped keep the gross factor down.

  17. I have had several experiences with a house with no running water. I used a 5 gallon jug with spigot for the kitchen. I used a lot of paper plates and bowls. I tried to keep the pans down to one or two for a meal. I got the cleaning water pretty hot and added detergent to the sink and a couple drops of bleach. To rinse I put HOT water on one side of the sink with a couple of drops of bleach and let the dishes stay in the water for a couple of seconds.. Then I pull them out with tongs.

    Toilet-wise, we used white plastic bags in the toilet after all the water was gone out of it. Kept the bathroom door shut. Then took the bag out to the trash. We had trash pickup thankfully. We also used the orange 5 gallon bucket with toilet seat lid. In my go bag equipment I keep one with RV toilet chemicals, toilet paper, sanitizer, body wipes and white trash bags. Instant bathroom.

    I have found that hospital type body wash works really well. It comes in either foam or liquid. You just put some on a damp washcloth and wipe yourself off. It is Ph balanced. You can also run it through your hair. I buy it at Wal-mart. Very little water required.

    We wore our clothes several days before cleaning them in a big galvanized tub, similar method as the dishes only cold water and no bleach.

    Great article. Thank you so much

  18. I store water in 4 55 gal., blue barrels and then I have right now 10 gal., stored in the house, but I have been looking into Jerry cans to make sure that the water is filtered, they are expensive.
    Now if something did happen, I think my whole family would end up at my place, because they know I prepare for the unexpected!
    Thank you for a good article.

  19. This was an informative and funny post. I love the part about one of your children thinking his teeth would fall out…LOL Really Cute!

    I need to do a water test. There are two of us and no kids so it may be waaay easier for us.

    Great post!

  20. there’s one thing i already do to save water,(at least some what) while washing dishes..i have a 10 inches wide and 5 inches deep plastic bowl,in which I’ve had i don’t know how many years.i make sure the kitchen sinks are clean,at least some what at 1st.then i set the bowl in the sink,and fill it just under 3/4 full of dish water n dish soap.then i use that to clean the sinks better.then i start washing the dishes,and put them into the nearest sink.then i turn the water on.and rinse.then put into dish drainer.

  21. Hi Misty,
    Please remember, water can be stretched and kept clean with vineager and bleach. The vineager helps curb thurst in light quanity, and any sanitary issues bleach can control, especially dish rinse.
    Have a shower stall where water can drain through, perhaps a wooden grate where the gray water can be gathered. The use of olive oil and aloe soap, soap that can safely be placed on a growing garden or distilled for reuse. Systems to distill the water can be made simply and give you back safe and clean water.
    Soups always can be saved, not just thrown away as waste. Finding somewhere food and water can be kept cool without electricity.
    Also note, bee’s wax candles burn without smoke, as long as the wick is large enough, and burns without dripping wax.
    I wish you and yours’ rest and good health.

    • Great ideas Richard! I especially like the idea that bleach can help with the dish rinse. Now just to figure out how to extend it’s shelf life! (-: thanks for taking the time to add your great ideas here!

  22. Siphon: “My problem was getting it to STOP!” If your siphon has straight tubing at the end, as opposed to crinkly flex tube, you could add a simple valve to shut off the flow between containers. A Google search for “Tubing Valve” will give you a bunch of options.

    Love the site.

    • Once filled, raise the smaller container so that the end of the siphon will be above the water lever in the larger container. This will break the siphon when you pull the hose out. Takes some timing (and arm muscles for those five gallon sizes) A well placed table helps. Paul’s valve would work better and allow you to keep the siphon for the next jug.

  23. In 2006, my husband received a fellowship to go to India. We lived in India for a year with our son who turned one while we were there. Initially, I sent out our laundry to be washed, but it came back dirtier than before. Unfortunately, laundry is washed in the local rivers which is polluted with waste. There was no other option, I needed to wash our family’s clothes by hand, so I developed a system that I want to share. Although I had running water, I do think what I learned might be useful for someone in a low or no water situation.
    Every night, we would all prepare for bed and put on our pajamas. I would gather the days clothes and place them in a five gallon bucket or two. I would fill the bucket with water and add bit of detergent. A small enough amount is much better than too much. I have used laundry detergent or dish detergent, both work well. And I added a small amount (like a Tablespoon) of Dettol, a liquid antiseptic solution, available in India (also on Amazon). Then, I agitated the clothes bit to make sure the Dettol and detergent were mixed into the water, and I left it to soak overnight. In the morning, I would wake early and agitate the clothes in the buckets for a minute or two, really that was all that was necessary. I used a broom handle. Then I would hand wring the clothes and rinse the clothes in clean water. I hung the clothes on the roof in the sun to dry. The clothes were clean – stains eliminated – and fresh smelling. Soaking overnight allows the natural action of water and soap to pull dirt out of the clothes, and the Dettol eliminates bacteria that might grow overnight. Washing of laundry becomes a daily chore, rather than a weekly nightmare.
    When traveling in Central America, I observed the ubiquitous wash stands where women (usually) would gather to talk and do laundry under a shaded pavillion. Outside the wash stand in the full sun stood tall rounded pyramids made from stacked clean river rocks. After soaking up the sun, these rocks radiated heat. Wet clothes were placed on the rock pyramids to dry them faster. Brilliant.

    • LOVE THIS SHannon! THank you so much for sharing. Seems so simple! Of course soaking would help, but I didn’t even consider it. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  24. Very useful article Misty. Thanks!

    One thing we have done to save water when camping is to take a spray bottle (or you can use just the sprayer inserted into another container to save space if not at home) with water in it and use that to wash hands, rinse dishes, etc. It is amazing how little water is used, but still does the job. Also can use the same method for showering only do it with a clean never used pump sprayer (like the ones for the garden). The sprayer helps direct the water to rinse areas where it’s needed. This is also useful to have on hand for fire prevention.


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