Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Drought: Ways to Survive the drought

Drought:Ways to Survive the Drought. Obviously, the first way to survive a drought is to move to somewhere there is no drought. However, for many who own their own homes, lands, farms etc. this is not practical. So in these cases one may need to install a 1200 gallon or more aluminum water tank above the level of your highest room in your house. This will enable a gravity feed system to connect with your indoor plumbing. My father had one like this in the desert of Yucca Mesa near Yucca Valley, California before piped water came to his area. This would have been in the late 1960's when he was building his retirement house on weekends. So I'm very familiar with water tanks. Though the water pressure is relatively low one can still take a shower and run washing machines and water plants with just a gravity fed water system. Also, if you have electricity (220,110) from lines or generator then you can install electric water pump(s) to increase water pressure if you need. Water tanker trucks in your area can refill your water tank for a fee when needed. Or if there is not a commercial water tanker truck in your area, you can buy a small water tanker trailer and a gasoline powered water pump to do it yourself. In buying a gasoline powered water pump make sure the water pressure generated is enough to raise the water by hose to the top of your home water tank. If you have ac electricity both where you get your water and where you pump your water up to your water tank then you could buy an electric pump instead of a gasoline pump. You might have to drive a ways and pay someone to use their water source but it can be done. Note:(Since many garden hoses are from China and have significant lead in them you might not want to drink or cook with water pumped through such hoses. However, non edible plants don't mind the lead.)

If there is no water for hundreds of miles like is happening in the Southeast and may happen elsewhere in the U.S. then driving hundreds of miles to pick up water in your tanker trailer towed by your car or truck could become cost prohibitive. In this case one might consider recycling water. I think for drinking I would use only bottled water and then recycle by collecting the gray water from the kitchen sink and bathroom sink to flush the toilets. One could also collect bath or shower water for this purpose as well. If one is not using the types of soaps that harm plants then that gray water from sinks and shower and bath could also be recycled into watering non edible plants.

If you are hydroponically (with a greenhouse) growing edible plants then about 75% of your water in this type of situation could be recycled but only within the greenhouse. Also, it is important not to put any gray water on your edible plants. This will insure both the plants and you remain healthy. Also, if you go to a composting toilet make sure your compost is eventually put only on non edible plants.

Another idea would be to connect all your downspouts on your house to rain barrels. Rainwater is usually very soft water so this can be really nice. However, if you have an asphalt felt type of roof your water might taste like asphalt so this is something to think about before drinking it. I know a priest who does this and then drinks the water after boiling it.

If the water emergency becomes even more extreme then only drink bottled water or rainwater caught from your roof after being boiled or in extreme cases one could boil ones urine to distill the water out if it. Under no circumstances should one ever drink boiled gray water. There might be reverse osmosis techniques to filter gray water into drinkable water but I'm not technically proficient to recommend such a thing.

If the drought is severe and you don't trust your well water then buy a backpackers water filter system and filter it for drinking or you could get a reverse osmosis system installed. If you still don't trust the water then boil it for 5 minutes. When I traveled through Asia as long as I boiled any local water for 5 minutes I found it usually safe to drink.

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