If you’ve experienced a power outage in your home, you know it can be frustrating, especially if it lasts more than a few hours or days. Power outages disrupt a lot around the house, from entertainment to necessities. But will you lose water if you lose power?
You can definitely lose water if you lose power because the two are intricately tied together in all cities. If you rely on electric pumps to get water from city reservoirs or public utilities into your home, you’ll likely lose water as the pumps can’t work without electricity.
In this article, we will explore how a power outage could affect the water flow in your home. We will also discuss preparing for a power outage and keeping your water safe during this period. Keep reading to learn more!
Do Power Outages Affect Your Homes Water Supply?
Yes, power outages can affect the water supply depending on the length of time the power is out. Some pumps that move the water from the water sources to your home require electricity. An interruption in electricity flow from the power grid can lead to disruptions in the water supply.
Any disruption in the supply of electrical power can have a tremendous impact on several areas. From businesses, hospitals, and schools to homes, no power will cause significant losses in productivity and services.
Power outages can have several effects on water across the board. For instance:
- In some areas, power outages can cause water systems to be overwhelmed. Pumps and valves may not keep up with the demand. This results in pressure drop or insufficient water supply.
- In long-term power outages, water will stop flowing completely in municipal settings. City water pumps need power to work so no water can be pumped or used without electricity.
- In other cases, power outages may cause water treatment plants to shut down. This could cause a loss of clean, safe drinking water.
- Sanitation systems may also be affected. An outage could mean that water treatment plants cannot operate. As a result, the supply of contaminated water becomes inevitable.
Power outages can directly affect water supply in various ways. So, it’s important to be aware of the potential effects and plan accordingly.
What is the Likely Cause of Long Term Electrical Power Outages?
There are many causes of electrical power outages these days, including age of the power grids, extreme weather, natural disasters, overload, human error, hacking, and terrorist attacks. Weather by far is the greatest contributor to electrical power outages in the United States.
Rolling blackouts are a tool used by electrical companies so they do not overload their power grid systems. In the United States, we have electrical blackouts every year from hurricanes, tornadoes, freezing weather, and drought induced heat.
We have been relatively lucky so far in the U.S. as we have not had power grid outages for more than a few days or weeks. If the American Power Grids were to go out for anything over a couple weeks, then the impact of such an emergence only gets more serious and dangerous each day.
We discuss many of these subjects in our articles like “What Happens if the American Power Grid Goes Down?” or “Should You Be Worried About Weather Caused Power Grid Outages?”
What Is A Catastrophic Power Outage?
According to the NIAC, a Catastrophic Power Outage is defined as:
The U.S. President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC)-Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage.
- An event beyond modern experience that exhausts or exceeds mutual aid capabilities.
- Likely to be no-notice or limited-notice and could be complicated by a cyber-physical attack.
- Long duration, lasting several weeks to months because of physical infrastructure damage.
- Affects a broad geographic area, covering multiple states or regions and affecting tens of millions of people.
- Causes severe cascading affects that force critical sectors—drinking water and wastewater systems, communications, transportation, healthcare, and financial services—to operate in a degraded state.
How Long Can You Live Without Water?
How serious a threat is a power outage to your water supply? The answer is very serious.
The average human in good health can survive without water and food for the following times:
- With no water or fluids, the average human can live 3 days.
- With water only, but no food, survival time may extend up to 2 to 3 months.
- If you have no food or water combined, you might live about 7 to 21 days.
- How much water each person’s body needs, and how it uses water, is different for everyone.
Other extremely important factors that affect how much water a person needs include:
- General Health and Condition
Black Sky Hazard Planning–Preparing for long-duration, widespread power outages.
According to the Electric Infrastructure Security Council (EIS) A Black Sky Hazard is a catastrophic event that severely disrupts the normal functioning of our critical infrastructures in multiple regions, for long durations.
In our modern electricity run society, most are completely unprepared for a catastrophic event like a level 5 Geomagnetic solar storm or “Carrington Event.” A major 9.5 earthquake could shut down any major power grid in the country and possibly permanently.
Nuclear power plants in California are visibly vulnerable to earthquake risk down the coast and on or near the San Andreas fault line. One Southern California nuclear power plant has the potential to affect a population of over 5 million people.
H.B. Robinson Unit #2 nuclear reactors near Hartsville, South Carolina have a one in 7,700 chance per year that an earthquake could cause a meltdown with a history of major earthquakes.
So where does that leave the average American when it comes to emergency preparedness in case of power outages and getting water?
There are several things you can do to avoid inconveniences caused by a power outage.
Steps You Can Take To Prepare for a Power Outage
Several factors, including extreme weather changes, can cause a power outage. If you live in an area prone to power outages, it’s important to understand what you can do to prepare for the issue.
Preparing for a power outage can be a daunting task. However, here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re ready in an emergency:
Have an Emergency Supply of Water
An emergency water supply is essential to prepare for a power outage. Ensure you have enough water to last you and your family for at least five days. This includes:
- Drinking water
- Flushing water
- Water for washing
- Cooking water
Also, the following tips may come in handy:
- Aim to have at least a gallon (3.78 liters) of water per person daily and store it in clean, airtight containers.
- If tap water is safe to drink, you can fill up pitchers and jugs and store them in the refrigerator.
- If tap water is unsafe to drink, buy bottled water or invest in a water filtration system.
- If you live in hot areas like the U.S. Desert Southwest, your water needs are likely double.
- Unsealed or questionable water can be used as grey water for washing or other uses.
- Remember that municipal sewer systems can back up into the municipal water supply in some areas so be vigilant.
Have an Emergency Backup Power Plan
When the power goes out, having a backup power plan in place can make all the difference in keeping your home running smoothly. Here are some steps to prepare for a power outage:
Invest in a Generator or a Solar Portable Power Station
A generator or a solar portable power station can help you power your essential appliances and electronics. Make sure to follow safety guidelines when operating the generator.
We discuss Generators and Solar Portable Power Station in depth in our product review articles on “Combo Propane Gas Hybrid and Solar Generators” and “What Makes a Good Portable Power Station In Emergencies?”
The Washington State Department of Health recommends several precautions when using a generator.
If you have a generator, ensure it’s in working order and has enough fuel to last through the outage.
Purchase a Battery-Powered Water Pump
A battery-powered water pump is ideal for anyone looking for a reliable, easy-to-use, portable water pump.
Whether you need to fill your tub, pool, or garden pond with water, a battery-powered water pump can help you finish the job in no time. Plus, you don’t need to worry about having access to an external power source because the pump can run independently.
If you have a battery-powered water pump, always keep it charged and ready to use in case of a power outage. Here’s a review of some of the best battery-powered water pumps.
Have a Manual Water Well Hand Pump on Hand
If you have access to well water or some other form of natural water, a hand pump may be a lifesaver. Hand pumps can be used on a well in place of an electric pump to pump water back into your pipes or into a bucket if necessary.
A hand pump is easy to store and operate and is a must-have item on any emergency power outage list.
This video discusses the benefits of an emergency hand well pump.
Know How You Can Reach the Local Power Company
Finally, stay informed and know how to contact your local power company.
Most power companies have a 24/7 customer service line to call for help. You can also visit the website of your local power company. Use the contact form provided to report a power outage or check whether a live chat feature is available for support.
It’s important to take note of any information the representative gives you, including the estimated time the repair will take. By taking these steps, you can be better prepared for a power outage and keep your home running smoothly.
How To Ensure You Use Safe Water During a Power Outage
When an outage occurs, it’s important to ensure your water supply is safe. Here are a few tips to achieve this objective:
- Store your emergency water supply in a cool, dry place. Keep it sealed to avoid contamination.
- Boil any water you may need to drink or cook for at least one minute to kill any bacteria.
- If boiling isn’t an option, use a water purification product such as chlorine, iodine tablets, or a filter to make the water safe.
- You can also buy bottled water for your emergency supply. Check for any expiration dates for safety reasons.
- If using a well, use an emergency hand pump to draw water. You should avoid using water from streams, lakes, or ponds as it could be contaminated.
Storing an emergency water supply will ensure that you and your family are well-sorted during a power outage.
- Store emergency water supplies in a location with cool temperatures.
- Store emergency water supplies in a location that cannot freeze and break containers.
- Do not store emergency water in direct sunlight.
- Label tap water container as “drinking water” with the date stored.
- Rotate and use store-bought bottled water and keep track of the expiration dates.
- Replace stored water for drinking every six months.
These simple steps will ensure you use clean water during a power outage.
How Long Does Water Stay Hot Without Power?
Water can stay hot without power for up to two days if you have a well-insulated water heater tank and, depending on the time of year. The time your water stays hot is also affected by the size of your tank, how hot the water was when the power went out, and whether your tank is indoors or outdoors.
If you have an on-demand water heater that doesn’t store heated water in a tank, your access to hot water will be disrupted the moment the power goes out.
On the other hand, if your water heater stores hot water in a tank, you could have hot water for hours or even days.
The most important factor is insulation. If your water heater is poorly insulated, the water won’t stay hot for more than a few hours. At the same time, if the pipes from the water heater are exposed, the water won’t stay hot for long.
Information on Electricity to Ponder
Electrical power outages are predominantly advanced civilization issues. Many people in the world do not have to worry about power outages because they don’t have any electrical power.
Losing power can cause you to lose water as well. This is likely to happen if your water supply depends on electricity.
It’s important to prepare for any potential power or water outages. Take your time to plan to ensure you have access to clean water during a power outage.
Taking the necessary precautions can help you avoid problems and keep your family and home safe.
- Tech Evaluate: Should You Be Worried About Weather-Caused Power Grid Outages?
- Ready: Power Outages
- National Library of Medicine-Survival time without food and drink
- Washington State Department of Health: Generator Use During a Power Outage
- McMahon Services: The 5 Best Battery-Powered Water Pumps
- YouTube: Gunslinger Emergency Hand Well Pump Demo- Starting Out
- Power Resilience: Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities
- Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage
- Combo Propane Gas Hybrid and Solar Generators
- What Makes a Good Portable Power Station In Emergencies?