The unthinkable has happened and the brown stuff has finally hit the fan. The roads are closed, anything electrical is offline and the water pumps no longer work. You are stuck at home and your water supplies are getting low. We all need water to survive, so what do you do? These practical tips will help you locate hidden water inside and outside your home.
Even if you live in a city or town that has backup generators for their water pumps, those generators will eventually stop working as the fuel runs out. Every store will be packed with people searching for bottled water and every store owner will raise the prices overnight. However, even bottled water will run out and you will need to start thinking outside the box to find sources of hidden water.
There are all sorts of alternative water sources around us, in some of the most unlikely places. All you need to do is start using your brain and think logically. While some of these hidden water sources are pretty obvious, others are hard to spot. The good part is that both these potential sources are available to both urban and rural citizens. However, for most of these hidden water sources filtration and/or chemical treatment may be needed. You will need to do so before consumption otherwise you risk dealing later on with some nasty health hazards.
Let’s see what hidden water sources you can find inside and outside your home. I’m pretty sure you will be able to come up with more based on where you live and how well do you know your area.
Hidden water sources outside your home
The obvious water sources you can turn to when SHTF are ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. These sources will continuously give water unless there’s a drought or some entity claims ownership over it. It may sound like a far-fetched scenario, but if you need to cross on private property to get to a pond, you may have a hard time succeeding. People will get desperate and they will protect what’s theirs. Also, there could be all sort of “entrepreneurs” that can claim water sources just to make a profit. You will have to fight or pay if you want a few gallons of water.
Although it is illegal in some states to collect rainwater (just writing this makes me mad…) you might not have to worry about someone imposing the law when things are going south. That being said, don’t overlook this resource and make everything you can to collect it. Get every container out there, improvise funnels from tarps to catch more rainwater and build all sorts of improvisations that can help you collect as many rainwater as you can in the shortest amount of time.
Where I live there is a municipal pool and I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of competition when people realize how valuable this hidden water source is. In fact, if you think about it, every pool out there can provide you with a large water quantity that can be used for various purposes. A 12-foot diameter pool, 4 feet deep can hold almost 3,400 gallons of water. Make sure you get as much water from these sources as you can before they run dry. Pool water usually has very dangerous levels of chlorine, so let the water sit for a while before treating it and then drinking it.
If your neighbor has a pond of some sort, you might want to pay him a visit if he’s not at home. In fact, during this modern age, almost every industrial park and business complex has some sort of a man-made pond. You may say that you don’t want to use the water where koi fish used to live, but it’s still water.
In a crisis scenario, you can’t afford to be picky. Just to be on the safe side and seeing that this hidden water sources may contain pesticides or chemicals, don’t use it for consumption.
Even if there’s no water at the surface, there may still be some around. Look out for vegetation such as cottonwood or willow trees since these are water-loving plants. Dig near these type of plants and you may find some water to quench your thirst. Even dry riverbeds can still provide water even if you have to dig for it. These are the type of hidden water sources you will have to work for. How hard you will need to do it is anyone’s guess at this point, but it’s worth a shot.
During nighttime, the temperatures drop and the moisture in the air condenses and collects on exposed surfaces. This is the common dew, one of the hidden water sources that accumulate in surprisingly large amounts each morning. The dew that collects on grass and vegetation is your main target as it is considered by many survival experts perfectly fine to drink. The trick here is gathering it as fast as possible since dew is one of the natural water sources that evaporates fast. To do this right, you need to tie off as many fabric items as you can to your lower legs.
Once your legs are transformed into supersized sponges, all you need to do is walk through as much dewy grass as possible and ring out the dew into a container. You can repeat the process several times. If you move fast enough, you can gather one gallon of fresh water in less than one hour.
Evaporation and condensation
Most living things experience water loss and this can be harnessed by the survivor to increase their chances of survival. If you heat anything which holds water, it will cause the water to evaporate. When it comes to natural water sources, this method can be used to extract water from, urine, seawater, mud, etc. Evaporating water and collecting the condensation also removes impurities, so this process is recommended for most survival situations.
You will need to improvise a solar still or place a plastic bag over the end of a branch. If you leave it like that for several hours so that the sun can heat the air inside and cause the moisture in the leaves to evaporate. You might have to set more than one solar still on natural water sources to get a good water supply.
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Hidden water sources inside your home
Inside your home, many hidden water sources are often overlooked. Since water flows with a simple switch of the tap, we don’t think about this during our daily routine. However, when the tap runs dry, you will need to look for other sources of water and here are just a few that could be found in every home.
Hot water tank
Most homes in America have a hot water tank and the same goes for apartment buildings. The purpose of this tank is to store hot water for when you need to take showers or wash the dishes. My hot water tank holds about 80 gallons of water. This is one of the hidden water sources that can provide water for your family for days. And you don’t need to collect it and store it, it is right there.
Let’s make something clear, do not use the water from the toilet bowl. The only water you should be using from your toilet is the one in the tank on the back of your toilet. Each toilet tank holds about 2 gallons of clean water. This water is safe for drinking and you can store it in containers for later use.
My dad is a plumber and I’ve learned from him that there is always excess water in the water pipes from your home. Those pipes are always full and you need to have access to a drain valve to drain this water. In case you have to cut the water pipes and get every last drop of water, you need to locate the lowest point in your home (probably the basement) and cut one of those pipes. Gravitation will do the trick, but make sure you have enough containers to avoid wasting any drop.
If the power is off, things will start to defrost in your freezer. The ice cubes are now water you can drink and all the ice will eventually melt. Water runs into a tray at the bottom of your freezer. Make sure you have access to the tray and collect any drop of water you can find there.
These small or large devices (depending on the model you own) pull moisture from the air and collect it into a catch reservoir. During humid summer days, it can collect a few gallons of water that are usually dumped. However, during a crisis, you could store this water for later use.
Like most Americans, you probably have a lot of canned goods in your pantry. Look at the labels of canned food, especially fruits and vegetables. You will notice that most of these are packed in water. Fruits are often packed in fruit juices, but even those juices are enough to quench your thirst. Kids will love these unusual juices and it will keep them happy and hydrated.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Although a short-term solution, fresh fruits and vegetables are hidden water sources. While people are stocking up on overpriced water, make sure you pay a visit to the fruit section. Get melons, pears, peaches and coconuts because these have a high water content. The same goes for cucumbers and tomatoes.
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A last piece of advice
In a survival situation when medical care is not available, you should understand that no water is safe. It doesn’t matter where you collect it and if it’s from a natural water source or a man-made one. All the hidden water sources you find should be considered undrinkable until you filter and treat it properly.
Since the water sources out there will stagnate very quickly, especially in the hot sun, you will be forced to boil, filter or chemically treat the water before drinking it. And once you treat the water, store it only in containers approved for that purpose.