Water isn’t just for drinking…

There is so much information and discussion out there on water filtering and purifying. From Berkey’s to Brita’s, to Clorox and boiling – it is an active topic with a lot angles. What I do not see are a lot of discussions on water’s other uses beyond drinking.

Here are a few uses for water –

  • cooking (yes – I know that is still consumption)
  • washing clothes
  • washing ourselves
  • sanitizing
  • cleaning
  • cooling
  • plants/animals
  • fighting fires

Depending on the source considered most people use an average of 140 – 200 gallons per day. In a grid down/SHTF situation – it is highly likely that water will need to be conserved.

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I am no expert in water filtration. I have several portable water filters as well as a Big Berkey. These are all meant for drinking. Beyond that I have Clorox stored and certainly look at boiling as a method to improve the quality of water so that is it safe.

Sanitation is a major concern. Daily washing to improve morale and maintain a safe, clean environment is a concern. For hand washing I have liquid hand soap and antibacterial lotion stored away. These will assist in minimizing water usage.

Rubbing alcohol can play a role but I would rather save it for medical use. For whole body and specific “areas” baby wipes and wash clothes help.

Damping the wash cloth in clean water and scrubbing certainly helps minimize water usage over that of pouring water over the body. A solar shower is great for a whole body cleansing when the water usage is acceptable.

For plants and other gardening projects rain barrels are fantastic. My barrels can fill off of a short power rain within just a few minutes and provide hundreds of gallons for a variety of uses including watering growing vegetable plants.

Washing clothes periodically can be done washing in one bin, rinsing in another and then hang to dry. Grey water from the clothes washing can be used elsewhere such as in the garden. Washboards can be purchased as well as devices to wring out clothes to dry quicker.

Fighting fires provide challenges. Rain barrels can be located near structures with small buckets staged ready to fill “just in case”. Of course fire extinguishers are specific tools for fighting fires.

The purpose of this post was just to bring up that water isn’t just for drinking. I have a shed in my backyard and have started storing 2-liter bottles of water there. This water is not meant for drinking, but really for many other uses. I hope to add some 55-gallon drums as well.


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8 thoughts on “Water isn’t just for drinking…”

  1. Rourke, I agree with you. There are so many more uses for water other than drinking. We don’t think enough about what else we need water for on a daily basis. Cleaning and bathing are two that I find some of the most important uses. Hygiene is super important to help stop the spread of disease. Dysentery is the foremost of those worries.

  2. Wow! Even 140 gallons per day is a lot. We (two adults) use 750 gallons each month.

    I agree about how great the rain barrels are for watering the garden. I wish I had more.

  3. I wonder if the wife and kids know I had an ulterior motive in having a fully covered 79,000 gallon pool installed on the North (shady) side of the house with a piped connection to our house water system? I suppose they figured that since I really like to swim laps I actually needed a NCAA regulation length and depth pool. The roof gutters drain to several water barrels which I can pipe into the pool if necessary (I have several pre-cut lengths of flexible PVC pipe for that very use stored in the barn).
    Not very portable, but as long as I can stay put it will serve our needs.

    If you have a well, there is a company called “Simple Pump” in Gardnerville, Nevada who make an excellent hand pump which will extract a reasonable flow of water from as deep as 350-feet. Installation is not for the faint hearted, but well worth the effort if your only reliable source of water is located several hundred feet under your feet. Make certain you acquire spare seal kits and at least one additional well head assembly – in my experience crap breaks when you really need it most.

  4. J Burk. I dont think 750 Gal a months could posible be right. Maybe you ment 750 a week. With two adults each taking one 5 min shower a day (avg gal/min on a shower is 2.5) that alone in 30 days is 750 gallons. That would mean that you dont do dishes or drink water or wash your hands or do laundry or use the toilet.
    Personally I use about 50 gallons a day with two adults and im not sure that I could even cut back much more.
    Stay Frosty!

  5. Raptor. No, I know exactly how much we use because I have to read the meter each month. I like a challenge. If you turn off the water while lathering, showers can take very little. Saving the shower water for flushing the toilet probably makes the biggest difference. A high efficiency washing machine helps too. Of course, never watering the lawn is a must.

  6. You could substitute a unused garden sprayer for the camp shower for personal sanitation. You can also find quite a few sanitation how-to posts here if you like.


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