The following account is shared by American Contingency member @jw5337, from the AmCon North Region.
My county in Iowa has been in a near drought for the last 3 years. We’ve had just enough water to not be in an official drought status. I live in a rural area, with many homes on well water. I’ve owned this house 12 years. When we bought it, we elected to stay on the well for a few reasons – with money savings and contamination control being high on the list.
On Wednesday, November 22nd, we were at a friend’s house for Thanksgiving, and my daughter showed up a few minutes after we did and told us that there’s no water at our house.
I drove out to the property and checked our pressure tank to see if it tripped – it’s online. I drove down to the well and found that it was extremely low. In the 12 years we’ve lived here we have never run out of water. I shut everything down and went back to our friend’s house. There’s nothing I can do at 8:00 PM on Thanksgiving eve.
On Thanksgiving morning, I reached out to a friend who does well work and asked if he would bring a load of water over on Friday to prime the well. I got out the three 6-gallon water jugs that I keep at the house for “just in case.” We have plenty of bottled water for drinking but washing dishes and flushing toilets is a different story.
- We did this to ourselves. Since this had never happened before, we didn’t pay attention. My daughter came home from college and my wife did a LOT of laundry.
- People were taking “Hollywood” showers.
- 18 gallons of water for toilets and dishes doesn’t cut it. The average toilet seems to take about 2+ gallons to flush. With 4 women and me in the house, we used about 30 gallons – which I was filling up at a friend’s house in town.
- We’re paying more attention to the amount of laundry we’re doing on a given day by reducing the number of loads to allow the well to refill.
- I’m changing the shower heads back to low flow. When it was just the two of us, we indulged with the luxury rain shower.
- I’ve been wanting to add rain barrels, but putting it off. This would allow me to be able to use that water for toilets, etc. when the weather is nice.
- We are going to be looking at moving to rural water next year. I want to be able to keep the well for emergencies, but we need dependability.
It doesn’t matter why we didn’t have water; did we have what we needed to take care of the situation? Yes and no. I patted myself on the back for a long time about staying on the well, but when I analyzed it, I realize I don’t have reliable water, even without the drought. If we had a power outage, we would be without water, since the pump is electric. In addition, the well is 200 yards downhill from the house. That’s a lot of Sherpa duty. Also, I don’t have a truck mounted potable water tank and I’m relying on friends to take care of the problem for me.
We often worry about worst case scenarios, but being self-reliant is being able to weather the little storms as well as the big ones. Do you have what you need to take care of your family? If I were to grade it, I got maybe a C in preparedness concerning the water and a D when it came to sanitation and hygiene.
Always take the time to learn from your mistakes and shortcomings.