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Water Cuts
Outage of the water supply : Water stops coming out of the taps! What to do about it.

In some parts of the modern world, power cuts (outages of the electricity supply) are quite rare, but water cuts are even rarer, so rare in fact that some people are completely taken by surprise when it happens! Be aware, though; it can happen. What happens is the water pressure can be a bit low, and then it comes to a stop, after which when you turn the taps on, no water comes out. Also, in some places, if the electricity fails, then within a few minutes the water also fails. It can happen if the water supply pressure is provided by an electric pump, rather than by a gravity-fed height of water in a water tower.

It's a problem, and can be quite scary, because although you can survive without electricity, you can't survive without water. Water is an essential of human life, and it can be a bit of a shock when it stops coming out of the taps / faucets.

Here's what to do if there's a water cut:

1. Don't panic. The supply will almost certainly come back on again in an hour or two.

2. Think about where you're going to get fresh drinking water in the meantime, and in the unlikely event that the supply doesn't resume (in case of disaster, etc). There are many possibilities and options, a few of which I'll explain next, but first, here are a few precautions:

* Turn off all the taps. If you have turned a tap on and no water has come out, make sure it is turned back off again. This is important because when the supply returns, it will gush water out and be wasteful and possibly destructive. Taps can also suck in air, which isn't good.

* Turn off the electric immersion heater. This should be done because if the hot water tank runs dry, the heating element will burn out if it's powered up. Switching it off saves this from happening.

* Don't flush the toilets. Unless you've got a "grey water system", toilet cisterns contain some fresh drinking water, which is better to drink than to flush away. Yes, it's true; the header-tanks of toilets (toilet cisterns) contain drinkable water.

Sources of drinking water in a water cut:

Unless you're living in a desert, there's probably quite a lot of water about if you look for it. What about CLEAN water, though? Here are a few possible sources worth checking:

* The hot water header tank. This most likely contains at least twenty gallons of cold clean drinking water, which if looked after can keep you alive for days.

* Toilet cisterns. A gallon or two, provided no-one flushes it!

* CISTERN. This is a water storage tank underground in the garden, and you may have got one. It's worth knowing about.

* Swimming pool water is drinkable, even if it tastes a bit funny.

* Snow. In cold climates, the stuff can be melted and used as drinking water. If you are cold, don't eat it though, as the energy required to melt it is considerable.

* Water butts. Barrels of water, used for watering plants in greenhouses. A filter is advisable! Water purification tablets are available from Millets and other camping shops. Also see iStraw, which is a water purification filter in a drinking straw.

* Any bottles of water you've filled up and stored in case of emergency. (wise)

* The bath. (Assuming you've filled it up with cold water as a panic measure as soon as the electricity failed!)

* The water produced from a dehumidifier. It's distilled water, which is drinkable, but in my experience it tends to taste of the carpets, wallpaper, and soft furnishings of the room which has been dehumidified. Still, it's better than dying of thirst

* Dirty water if it's boiled. Bacteria can't survive being boiled. In case of flood, this idea is particularly worth knowing. Bear in mind though, you can't use an electric kettle if there's no power. Gas, or solid fuel, still works to boil water.

The problem of water cuts is especially scary if you think the Establishment might try to control people by cutting off the water supply. Having your own water supply is a good solution to avoid that problem. See Cisterns, which are in effect your own water supply which can't be cut off.

In preparedness for a disaster, it's also a good idea to hoard food. Keep it a secret, and also make sure you've got a can-opener!

I wonder if I should write some more pages about being prepared in advance for disaster. Incidentally, one of the things I've noticed about being under siege is that it's a good idea to have stockpiled plenty of long-life milk. This keeps almost indefinitely and provides sustenance. However you need to start hoarding it now, rather than waiting for there to be a disaster.

Also see volcano insurance and tsunami insurance