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Survivalists may think about water heaters as a source of emergency water, but most homeowners would not. We are conditioned to think of the water heater as strictly a source of hot water for bathing or cleaning. However, most water heaters in the home hold at least 40 gallons of water.

If your water supply is cut-off, the water in the hot water heater can be accessed by taking the following steps:

  1. Shut off the power supply to the tank
  2. Shut off the main water line valve
  3. Disconnect the hot water heater tank power supply 4. Let the water cool for several hours
  4. Disconnect the hot water line
  5. Have a water container handy for holding drained water and a short length of rubber hose or garden hose
  6. Connect the hose to the hot water tank
  7. Open the water drain valve on the tank and let the water drain into the clean container through the hose
  8. Purify the water using bleach

Watch for tank corrosion sediment or rust while the water is draining. The first water may need discarding. Water can also be filtered through material or coffee filters to catch rust or tank sediment.

Up to this point, you have read about wilderness and suburban water supplies and sources and methods for collecting water. In the next chapter, the various methods of purifying water are reviewed.