Water Saving Tips

When you lose your water supply, you quickly assess what water needs are most important. First off, it’s important to have drinking water. After that, cooking probably takes a close second. Laundry and personal hygiene can take the back burner for a few days, but after that – you need to start figuring out how to make the most out of your stored water.

When we did the 7 Day Challenge we learned a lot from our readers about how they saved, or stretched their water supply. Here are some of the great suggestions we received. If you have any others, make sure to leave a comment.

  • First off, FILL YOUR WATER CONTAINERS. We heard from SO many people they had containers they just hadn’t gotten around to filling yet. The challenge has been over for a couple weeks, quit procrastinating and get to it TODAY!
  • Bathe in a large bucket, and use bottles that have the types of tops that squirt (refillable condiment containers) when pressure is applied. This will help with faster rinsing. Use the remaining bath water in the bucket for flushing toilets.
  • Use coralite bath wipes, for quick bathing.
  • Store some no rinse shampoo and conditioner for hair.
  • Have paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable tableware to use to allow you to cut back on dish water.
  • Use recipes that mix most ingredients in one dish, or pan that you serve straight from to cut back on dishes.
  • Store wet wipes, and hand sanitizer to help clean up messes, and wash hands.
  • Tap into your water heater for water if you run out of stored water.
  • Wear your hair in ponytails, or wear hats when you can’t wash your hair as frequently during prolonged times with no water.
  • If you have a swamp cooler that runs on water, make sure you have back up cooling methods such as fans, or wet rags to cool your body off during hotter weather.
  • Fill liquid soap/detergent bottles with water. You have water for washing small load of dishes. Soapy water for hands, and the bottles squirt out better then soda or juice containers.
  • Save water from cooking noodles, or boiling water. Use water from canned vegetables.
  • Don’t wait until you are out of clean clothes to do laundry!
  • If you have to do laundry get a bucket, put a little baking soda, a tad of water, plunge by hand or with plunger. No need to rinse with baking soda. Baking soda will eradicate smell too.
  • If you’re water has a funny taste, store drink flavoring to improve the taste. You can also aerate the water by pouring it back and forth between two containers. It adds oxygen to the water and gets rid of the stale taste.
  • Flush conservatively. Use water you previously used for bathing to flush the toilets.

  • http://www.solarwater.org.uk/ solar water

    I love your blog. Every content is interesting and lovely.

  • http://foodstorageplus.blogspot.com jessica

    I’m so glad I followed the idea of putting water in old dish soap containers! It saved me last week. (Involves baby taking off diaper while water is off…)

  • Willie Snodgrass

    How long does the 5 gal. water jugs at stores last (Shelf life)?

    • Mgourley

      The empty jugs you fill yourself?  If you get your water from a Community water system you don’t need to add anything to the water and should rotate every 6 months.

      If you mean full 5 gal water jugs like for a water cooler, than they have a 2 year shelf life.  Most all commercial bottled water has a 2-year shelf life.

  • Makrsk

    One place I have not seen mentioned is storing water containers in a freezer. There are two purposes in doing this: One is empty space in a freezer costs more to operate and then there is the cooling effect for longer time when electricity goes out. (And then you have water to drink as well that is safe to use!)

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

      Great tip! Makes me wish I had an extra freezer. So jealous of Julie :)

  • Richfab4

    Im glad to see you are showing Big Berkley water filter. I got one and has given me such peace of mind. Excellent product.

  • Weetgrindr

    I wouldn’t count on streams or the ocean. That would be good if you had transportation, but under certain conditions we might not. We might not have gasoline for the car or the ignition might not work after an atomic bomb explosion. If you have a bike with a carrier, that might work if it is safe to go outside. I woul still sore water inside garage or house.
    Dora

  • Weetgrindr

    I wouldn’t count on streams or the ocean. That would be good if you had transportation, but under certain conditions we might not. We might not have gasoline for the car or the ignition might not work after an atomic bomb explosion. If you have a bike with a carrier, that might work if it is safe to go outside. I woul still sore water inside garage or house.
    Dora

  • http://www.family-survival-planning.com Jacee

    Water in the water heater is perfectly safe to drink. Yes, it has minerals in – minerals are good for us – calcium, magnesium – we buy them at the vitamin store. The National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs.

    City water does have disinfectants – that’s what makes our water safe to drink in this country. Some areas do have fluoride in the water. I disagree with dentists that fluoride is good for our teeth, and it is detrimental to our thyroids. However, I have not found one filter system that will filter out fluoride. It is a poison. While it will not kill you soon, it may shorten lives in the long run. I don’t know – the jury is still out on this.

    Flushing the water heater does not leave anything detrimental. It’s just the excess minerals that settle out of hard water. Water is liquid – minerals are solid. All the minerals will not dissolve in water.

    Bottom line: It is SAFE to drink the water out of the water heater.

  • Jcarroll

    You should probably get some 55-gal barrels to use for storing caught rainwater. There are a number of systems that allow you to divert rain runoff from your roof into barrels; however, unless you are 100% certain what your shingles are made of, I wouldn’t drink or bath in the roof runoff. If you have a metal roof, then go ahead.

    You can also get a tarp, as with a tent, and mount it on poles to catch and funnel rainwater into your barrels or other containers.

  • Jcarroll

    Warning: re: using water from your water heater, be VERY careful. Do NOT use that water for drinking or cooking without disinfecting with bleach and filtering it first. (If you use a katadyn or berky water systems filter, you may be able to forgo using the bleach. Consider your local situations.)

    All fresh water, even well water, has minerals in it, especially if you have hard water. Water from a city water system may also have chemicals like flourides or disinfectants. “Softened” water swaps out the minerals (calcium and magnesium, for example) for different salts. The constant heat of a water heater will start any chemical reactions that wouldn’t occur at room temperature or when you’re just boiling water for cooking; and will precipitate minerals from hard water. Look online for videos on “flushing water heater” and see what comes out of your water heater. You will NEVER use your hot water from the tap to make some tea or cocoa again!

    You CAN use the water from the heater for bathing or washing clothes (you do that every day) and for flushing toilets, just not for drinking.

    • http://www.family-survival-planning.com Jacee

      Water in the water heater is perfectly safe to drink. Yes, it has minerals in – minerals are good for us – calcium, magnesium – we buy them at the vitamin store. The National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs.

      City water does have disinfectants – that’s what makes our water safe to drink in this country. Some areas do have fluoride in the water. I disagree with dentists that fluoride is good for our teeth, and it is detrimental to our thyroids. However, I have not found one filter system that will filter out fluoride. It is a poison. While it will not kill you soon, it may shorten lives in the long run. I don’t know – the jury is still out on this.

      Flushing the water heater does not leave anything detrimental. It’s just the excess minerals that settle out of hard water. Water is liquid – minerals are solid. All the minerals will not dissolve in water.

      Bottom line: It is SAFE to drink the water out of the water heater.

  • Jcarroll

    Warning: re: using water from your water heater, be VERY careful. Do NOT use that water for drinking or cooking without disinfecting with bleach and filtering it first. (If you use a katadyn or berky water systems filter, you may be able to forgo using the bleach. Consider your local situations.)

    All fresh water, even well water, has minerals in it, especially if you have hard water. Water from a city water system may also have chemicals like flourides or disinfectants. “Softened” water swaps out the minerals (calcium and magnesium, for example) for different salts. The constant heat of a water heater will start any chemical reactions that wouldn’t occur at room temperature or when you’re just boiling water for cooking; and will precipitate minerals from hard water. Look online for videos on “flushing water heater” and see what comes out of your water heater. You will NEVER use your hot water from the tap to make some tea or cocoa again!

    You CAN use the water from the heater for bathing or washing clothes (you do that every day) and for flushing toilets, just not for drinking.

  • Pilarandmike

    Thanks! I’m making notes :)

  • Pilarandmike

    Thanks! I’m making notes :)

  • Allison

    using the foam soap to wash cuts down on the water needed to rinse as well.

  • Allison

    using the foam soap to wash cuts down on the water needed to rinse as well.

  • Guest

    You can buy large totes from Wal-Mart that have wheels on them to bath in. They are great, just use them for storage till you need them, then bath and wheel the tote to empty water where you need it. I am medium height and can sit comfortably in them.

  • Guest

    You can buy large totes from Wal-Mart that have wheels on them to bath in. They are great, just use them for storage till you need them, then bath and wheel the tote to empty water where you need it. I am medium height and can sit comfortably in them.

  • Tuxgirl

    I was actually discussing this with my mom who lives a few miles from us. We happen to be within a mile of the ocean, and she pointed out that, as long as we have really good water filtration system, we could potentially use filtered water from the ocean or nearby streams/rivers for a lot of our washing and even cooking (bonus: no need to add salt!), and just use our stored water for drinking. In addition, even during the hot months, we usually have at least one day of rain per week around here, so that would be an even better source of water as needed. (Also with the filter)

    We have one of the katadyn filters which is supposed to be able to do over 2000 gallons of water before the filter part needs replacement.

    • Jcarroll

      You should probably get some 55-gal barrels to use for storing caught rainwater. There are a number of systems that allow you to divert rain runoff from your roof into barrels; however, unless you are 100% certain what your shingles are made of, I wouldn’t drink or bath in the roof runoff. If you have a metal roof, then go ahead.

      You can also get a tarp, as with a tent, and mount it on poles to catch and funnel rainwater into your barrels or other containers.

  • Tuxgirl

    I was actually discussing this with my mom who lives a few miles from us. We happen to be within a mile of the ocean, and she pointed out that, as long as we have really good water filtration system, we could potentially use filtered water from the ocean or nearby streams/rivers for a lot of our washing and even cooking (bonus: no need to add salt!), and just use our stored water for drinking. In addition, even during the hot months, we usually have at least one day of rain per week around here, so that would be an even better source of water as needed. (Also with the filter)

    We have one of the katadyn filters which is supposed to be able to do over 2000 gallons of water before the filter part needs replacement.