Yes, we’re going to talk about West Virginia. For those of you living in caves (No judgement here, I get accused of it often enough) a coal storage facility leaked some noxious chemicals into the drinking water source for at least a 9 county area of West Virginia. Residents had ZERO warning, and were just told one sunny day that their tap water was now only to be used to flush the toilets.
That’s it; no showering, no cleaning dishes, no drinking, no washing clothing, no watering livestock. I think it’s probably even questionable if it should be used on vegetables or fruit. Although the timing of this particular event, midwinter, probably lessened the impact of that last one.
Straight out of the gate, one of the prepper-procrastinator methods of water storage went right out the window. There was no way to fill up bathtubs or other large holding containers to get through the time with no water. If you didn’t have it stored before the chemical spilled, you weren’t going to have it during this crisis.
How would you have done during this? If you had gotten a notice on Thursday about your water being only fit for flushing, how well would you have handled it? Now think about your weekend, what did you do this weekend, and would you have been able to do all of that with your water out?
I’ll start. Thursday I was at work and hubby was at home with the kids, so he would likely have gotten word first, then passed it on to me. I work in the next county upstream from our water source, so it’s possible I could have filled my personal water bottle before coming home, and maybe grabbed a gallon of water and one of juice from the grocery store on my way home. I only mention juice because we don’t normally have any in the house, and I can see the kids enjoying some juice treats to mitigate the water rationing.
We have at least 50 bottles of water in the basement, plus 2 gallon jugs. For 4 people, 2 adults/2 kids. Even 5 days after the spill, nobody is saying when the water will be potable again. So, just for the sake of this post, let’s assume it will be an even week before the water comes back. (That assumption in real life though is a tricky one, as it’s key to figuring out how to divide up the water you have.) In my case that works out to 7 bottles a day for my family. To be used for drinking and basic sanitation. One of the gallon jugs would probably go sit on the diaper changing table since we normally use cloth wipes and tap water for cleaning baby’s butt. One gallon would go straight to the kitchen for simple cooking, oatmeal and rice come to mind.
So that’s roughly 24 oz of drinking water per person, per day, for a week. Any showering or sponge bathing would either have to come out of that, or we’d have to find one of the tanker trucks of water and fill some buckets. (During the non-freezing parts of the year I have 55 gallons rain water stored for cleaning and such.) That’s doable I think, the juice and fruit in the house would help. We stayed at home all weekend and cleaned and cooked. Obviously cleaning would have been curtailed. Cooking could have happened, I roasted veggies, I just couldn’t have cleaned up very well afterwards.
What about you? How would you have fared over the weekend? Sound off in the comments!
– Calamity Jane