Will You Have Potable Water After An Earthquake?
The sometimes violent movement of the ground that can accompany an earthquake can disrupt water supplies. If the water mains are ruptured, it will mean that no water will be able to reach your home. Damage could also be done to the water treatment plant, meaning that there will be no water until repairs have been made. Even if you have your own well, you could find yourself in trouble – the water pipe coming to your home could have been broken or the earthquake could change the geology of the area and your well could go temporarily dry. Regardless, it may well come to pass that after an earthquake you will be unable to rely on your normal water supply.
An Emergency Supply Of Water
When preparing an emergency water supply, you should store one gallon per person per day. Although a three day supply is often recommended, it would be better to have one week of water stored, and more if you have the space. Bottled water from the store is a good way to build up your supply, but it is also possible to bottle up your own tap water. If you choose to do this, make sure the containers you use are completely clean. Do not use containers that have held milk or fruit juices. Empty soda containers are fine, however, and you can also buy food grade containers. After filling the containers, date them. Water that you bottle yourself is good for six months, then it must be discarded and the process begun again.
Treating Questionable Water
If, after an earthquake, you have access to water, but are uncertain as to its quality, you will have to purify it yourself. Water that has sediment in it should be run through a coffee filter, and then boiled for 10 minutes. You can also purify water by using household bleach, and this method is used when it is impossible to boil the water. Do not use scented bleach. In order to purify one gallon of water, add 8 drops of bleach. If the water is cloudy, use 16 drops instead. Stir the water to distribute the bleach and allow it to sit for half an hour. At the end of this time, smell the water – it should have a slightly chlorine odor to it. If you are unable to smell the bleach, you should add 2 drops more and stir the water again.
Water Purification Tablets
These are excellent to use in the aftermath of an earthquake when the water may be contaminated. There are two types of these tablets – chlorine and iodine. Both will work to kill pathogens, but iodine tablets will kill more types of dangerous organisms than will chlorine tablets. Generally, it will take about 30 minutes for the tablets to dispose of any pathogens in the water, although this time will extend to several hours if the temperature of the water is cold. Pay attention to the sell by date, as these tablets will lose their effectiveness once their shelf life has expired.