Conserving Water in an Emergency

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Savings small amounts of water all over your home can dd up to make a big difference during and emergency.
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“The Penny-Pinching Prepper” by Bernie Carr makes it easy to prepare for any emergency on a budget.

The Penny-Pinching Prepper (Ulysses Press, 2015) by Bernie Carr helps readers prepare for an emergency without breaking their bank. Carr walks his readers through DIY projects, storm shelter building, and more all on a budget to make sure that anyone can afford to be prepared for an emergency. In the following excerpt, he explains the best ways to conserve water in an emergency.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. Using the toilet entails the heaviest consumption, followed by bathing, doing laundry, washing dishes, and finally, drinking and cooking.

It’s a good idea to conserve water every day, but it is crucial to save water during an emergency. Repair water leaks as soon as possible. If water is scarce, you will need to use every opportunity to minimize your usage. Here are a few tips to save water every day.

Toilet and Bathroom

• Place a brick or soda bottle in the corner of the toilet tank to displace some of the water needed to flush.

• Do not run the faucet while brushing your teeth.

• While waiting for the shower to warm up, collect the cold water in a 5-gallon bucket and use it for watering plants or cleaning.

• Take short showers instead of baths.

• During emergencies: Take sponge baths instead of showers.

• Flush the toilet only for solid waste; for liquid waste, use it throughout the day before flushing.


• Wait until you have a full load of laundry before running the washer.


• Prior to washing dishes by hand or using a dishwasher, scrape food off plates over the trash instead of rinsing them with tap water.

• If washing dishes by hand, plug the drain and fill the sink with soapy water instead of running the tap.

• If using a dishwasher, run the dishwasher only when it’s full. You do not need to pre-rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher.

• In an emergency, collect graywater that was used for washing and use for flushing the toilet or watering plants. Use graywater as soon as possible: Do not store it for longer than 24 hours as bacteria or mold will multiply.

• If the tap is not running, use paper plates, cups, and disposable utensils instead of dishes.

More from: The Penny-Pinching Prepper

Organizing a Successful Garage Sale
Protecting Your Home from Thieves

Reprinted with permission fromThe Penny-Pinching Prepper (2015), by Bernie Carr and published by Ulysses Press.