Emergency Water Sources Around the Home

Survival Basics water

Depending on the severity of a disaster, it could mean that your home is without a supply of fresh water for days, weeks, or possibly even longer.

It is important that you understand how to find alternate water sources from around the home that are safe for you and your family to drink. Luckily for you, you actually have several sources that you can use, providing you can access them.

Following a disaster, before trying to access any water from your faucets or water heater, you need to ensure that your water source hasn’t been contaminated. If there are any contamination concerns in your location, this will be communicated by the local officials using local news sources.

What Not to Drink

The following types of water are unsafe to drink, even if you treat or filter it.

  • Water from your toilet bowl, radiators, or water beds
  • Water from your swimming pool or hot tub. This can be used for personal hygiene and Sanitation.
  • Flood water
  • Water that has floating materials in it or that has an unusual odor or color
  • Water that you know or suspect might be contaminated with fuel, heavy metals, or toxic chemicals

Safe Water Sources From Around the Home

If you have advance warning of an incoming danger, you have the time to prepare in advance and maybe fill the bathtub before it happens. Sometimes, the warning just isn’t there or comes a little too late to prepare.

It is always a good idea to stockpile water as part of your preps but if for whatever reason you haven’t, it is time to hunt around the home.

Refrigerator and Freezer

Any ice can be melted and the water used.

Toilet Tank

The tank behind the toilet, not the bowl, can be used. As long as it is clear and has not been chemically treated with toilet cleaners such as those that change the color of the water.

Water Heater

Your water heater is a possible source for clean, drinkable water. The average home water heater has at least 30 gallons of clean drinking water and can be used in an emergency.

Take the time now to read the instructions and find out how to drain the water.

Canned Fruit and Veg

In an emergency situation, you should save the water from any canned fruit and veg that you and your family eat and use that.

Other Sources

Any water collected from sources outside of the home should be treated to make it safe for consumption.

It could be contaminated with livestock waste or human sewage. If you suspect or know the water is contaminated with toxic chemicals or fuels, it cannot be made safe and you should not drink or bathe in this water.

Possible sources of water that could be made safe by treatment include:

  • Rainwater
  • Streams, rivers, and other moving bodies of water
  • Ponds and lakes
  • Natural springs


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