In the good times we all expect to turn on the tap and get clean drinking water instantly. But in an emergency any upset with your water supply turns a problem into a nightmare. Whether for drinking, cooking or washing, water is an essential ingredient of life. The bottom line is: we can’t live without it.
Whether it’s roadworks making your tap water dirty, strike action (as recently happened in Northern Ireland), or even the weather, when you’re without water finding a reliable supply suddenly becomes very important. It’s vital for our own needs, but add children, an aged parent and other dependants to our responsiblities, and a ‘without water’ situation gets very stressful. So what do you do when there is a problem with your mains water supply?
You can prepare by keeping a 3 day supply of commercially bottled water in a cool dark place. Typically you should store 4.5 litres per person per day as a minimum. Sick people, children, and nursing mothers may need more. Hotter weather may mean you need more too. Keep water in its original container, and don’t open it until you use it. Always observe expiration or ‘use-by dates’, and replace stored water every 6 months. Choose where you store the water carefully, to avoid heat and light, and so problems are not caused in case of accidental leakage (you can find out more here).
If we haven’t experienced water supply problems we’re very lucky, but it’s fair to say, even in the UK, we are not imune to serious water supply stoppages from time to time:
This week around 1300 Northern Ireland Water customers were completely without a water supply at one point due to strike action, with disruption to 1000s more properties.
Even without strike action other problems with water supply affected another 150 people elsewhere.
And when the weather got really bad, not so long ago, 40,000 homes had their water supply affected, with 4000 homes without water for over a week.
Although we expect water companies to respond with stand pipes, water barrows, and bottled water, we’re not in control of how quickly they respond, and queueing for water in the cold and dark is not exactly convenient.
Back in 2010 the BBC reported one person affected as saying:
“We live in Coleraine and have no water… All local supermarkets and garages have sold out of bottled water and there doesn’t appear to be any supplies available here from NI Water like there is in other towns. Total chaos.”
It’s common sense that you will cope better with emergencies by preparing before disaster strikes.
Why take the chance when the solution is so simple.