Storing water for emergency use
Our region uses more than 200 million litres of water per day, which comes through our taps from a network of pipes.
But if these pipes break in an earthquake, they could take months to repair. Do you have enough water stored?
In the next few months, the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (Wremo) will be doing a series of articles on being prepared. This week is all about water – drinking water in particular.
Water tanks and bottled water have been flying off the shelves since the November 14 shake, because everyone knows how important it is that we have stored water. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time!
A cheap and easy way to store water is to fill bottles every time you have juice or soft drink. Rinse thoroughly, and fill to the top. Do not use milk bottles because milk proteins are hard to remove and can promote bacterial growth.
The size of your home or section may also determine the size bottles you store – lots of two litre or 10 litre bottles, or a large tank.
Another option is to buy bottled water. This is a convenient option as you just need to get it home from the shops and put it away somewhere.
Whatever method you go with, think about how you will access the water after an emergency, and how easy it will be to use.
Big bottles are convenient to fill, but can be heavy to move around, and some of them can be difficult to open and pour water from. Small bottles are easy to carry around, but you need more.
A tank that collects rain water is a great option, if you have the space to store it on – and remember that like any large or heavy object, it would need to be secured to prevent movement during an earthquake. Getting the water from the tank inside is easy if you have a smaller clean jug or pot.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Store water: at least 20 litres drinking per person to last a week. If you want to wash, you’ll need more
You’ll need to store more water for young children, a person with high medical needs, or pets
Swimming pool water should only be used for cleaning.
Before you drink your emergency water, make sure it’s safe. Bought or tap water: hold it up to the light. If it’s clear with nothing floating, it’s fine. For other water, boil it in a full jug with an automatic switch off or for at least 1 minute or disinfect it with plain, unperfumed household bleach - tsp to 10 litres.
If you have any issues on emergency preparedness you’d like discussed in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eva Neely with her daughter, Mara Neely, 3. The family has a new 200 litre rain water tank and a ‘‘grab and go bag’’ for emergency situations.