Stor­ing wa­ter for emer­gency use

Kapiti Observer - - CONVERSATIONS -

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 wremo@gw.govt.nz.

PHOTO: ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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