Searching for Water After An Urban Disaster

Whether it is a solar flare, earthquake, tornado, or terrorist attack, when disaster strikes, the things we rely on the most to survive could be cut off from us.

Most importantly drinking water.  While some wilderness survival is applicable to urban environments, finding drinkable water in a concrete jungle is going to be quite different from finding it in a forest, or even a desert.  The good thing is that any urban area has water in it prior to disaster, and much of this water is still going to be available even after the tap stops flowing.

You just have to know where to look for it. Disclaimer: this is not advocating looting in any way, there is a real tangible and even legal difference between disaster survivors scavenging for the supplies they need to live and looters stealing big screen TVs from Wal-Mart.

Water Towers

This is a pretty obvious one, but many cities have water towers either free-standing or on top of roofs. This will most likely be everyone’s first target for drinking water though.

Water Reservoirs 

Also likely to be the first stop for thirsty urban-dwellers after a disaster, its still worth knowing where the closest water reservoirs are to your home as they have plenty of fresh, if not yet treated, drinking water.

Toilets

While you might be as bold as your dog to drink straight from the bowl and risk a multitude of diseases, there are always 1.6 gallons of water that have not come in contact with human waste in the back of every home toilet.  This is not always the case for public toilets, since many public toilets do not have backs on them, but the tank portion of any residential toilet is guaranteed to have some fresh drinking water.

Water heater

Hot water heaters contain anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons of water.  They even have a hose spout to make draining them easy. This water is the same water that comes out of the tap, and while after a disaster you probably will not have to worry about this, just make sure the gas is turned off before attempting to drink or you might burn your mouth!

Flat roofs

Many businesses like grocery stores have flat roofs that will have puddles after rainfall, but will not be contaminated like ground puddles.  Getting to the roof will not be as hard as you might think, just look for the water pipes or electrical conduit, grasp the pipes and lean back while putting your feet against the building.  The dynamic tension makes climbing, even with a pack, relatively easy.

Swimming pools

Swimming pools can hold well over 10,000 gallons of water.  Even if you are not the first one to make it to the pool it is likely to still have plenty of water that is, or can easily be made, drinkable.

 

While everyone should be thinking about the future about storing water in case of an emergency, you might be near that water, or your water store might be destroyed during the disaster.  Don’t give up, there are plenty of places to find water even in an urban environment for some time after a disaster strikes, these are only a few.

 

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