How your water is supplied to you largely depends on the city or area you live in.
Places like New York, for example, work largely on gravity-pumped water, which doesn’t require electricity to get water flowing into your home.
And the water stations do have backup generator power, so a short-term outage may not be terrible.
But what if power is out for over two weeks? Even gravity-powered water supply systems may run dry.
And if you live out of town and rely on a well to get water, you will lose access to your water as soon as the lights go out.
Even if you are on a water supply grid, there are things to consider.
Does Power Outage Affect Water Supply?
This is both yes and no. Many cities rely on water pumped into water towers placed in areas with high elevation. Gravity will keep the water flowing to your home, electricity, or no.
But this will last only as long as the water in the towers. When that runs out, you’re stuck.
Also, these gravity-powered water systems are useless with multiple-story buildings. The high rise has to have water pumps in the basement to deliver water to all floors.
These pumps run on electricity, so an outage will immediately leave you with no water.
What About Wells?
If you live in the countryside, your water likely comes from a well.
Wells relies on electricity to pump the water up, so a power outage will affect you immediately, leaving you without water until you get the electricity back.
And if you have a couple of hundred heads of cattle or a bunch of greenhouses on your farm, you could quickly find yourself in dire straits.
It is one scenario where a backup generator is quite literally indispensable.
Did you know?
According to USGS, roughly 43 million Americans still rely on well water for their homes and businesses. (Source)
Some Plumbing Appliances Do Require Electricity
Many of our plumbing appliances function without electricity, but some important ones will be affected by a power outage.
Pump-assisted sewer systems
They rely on electric pumps to collect the sewerage. A longer-term outage can cause waste to flow backward and even overflow into your home.
They are used to pump rainwater out of your basement to keep it from flooding. A power outage combined with a rainstorm or flood can have disastrous consequences. It is another case where a backup generator is simply a necessity.
Pump-assisted toilets are not very common, but if you do have one, it will cease to function once the water in the pipes runs out. You’ll be okay if your power is only out for a few hours. But for anything that lasts a few days, you’ll need to have a backup solution.
You May Have Water During an Outage, But Is It Clean?
Now, all you city-dwelling folk might be thinking, hah, what gives.
A few days without electricity may lower my water pressure, but that’s about it. But beware, when the power goes out, your city’s water purification systems may not be functioning at full capacity.
It means that you may not have water safe for cooking, drinking, and personal hygiene.
To combat this, you can invest in-home water purification mechanisms, and keep some bottled water on hand.
Need a recommendation for the best in-home water purification system? I recommend this particular model for your house. It has 6 filtration stages and easy to install by yourself.
An Extreme Situation May Cut You Entirely Off the City Water Grid
Nobody likes to think about these things, but the times are what they are.
A natural disaster or terrorist attack could thwart all your city’s water supply backup plans, leaving you waterless in the space of a couple of hours.
This will be in addition to your not being able to use all your household appliances.
You can (and should!) have some water stored in your house for emergencies, but you’ll need to consider other alternatives too.
Maybe you can install a rainwater collection system, or access a nearby water source. Either way, for a truly convenient system, you’ll need a pump.
And this brings us back to how useful a portable generator can be.
Also read: Things to do if the power goes out in winter
A Backup Generator is The Best Insurance Against Power Outages
There are many things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe and functional during power outages, especially if they last a while.
But one of the most convenient and efficient ways to keep the basics in your home running is a portable generator.
They are the most reliable source of electricity for emergency and easy to use.
A portable generator meant for home use doesn’t have to be crazy expensive and can keep your most important electricity-run appliances going.
If you need to power your sump pump, well pump, water heater, or purifier system, a generator is the single most reliable backup solution.
They are affordable and generally easy to set up. They come in several sizes, and you can select one that will power what you need, from your water pumps to water heaters. These do require you to keep a supply of fuel, though. See available gasoline-powered generators options here.
They don’t need any fuel but are more difficult to set up, and often more expensive too. They need to be installed in advance, but usually have a longer lifespan than gasoline-powered ones. Here is the model that I recommend.
A standby generator is also worth considering as it provides a reliable and stable electric supply to your house.
But choosing a standby generator as a backup power requires careful attention. You need to know the right size and power that is sufficient to power up all appliances in the house.
Whether you live in a big city or out in the countryside, water is something you can’t do without.
Your very survival depends on it, and it’s well worth your while making sure you have a backup plan in case your regular supply is cut off.
It is especially true if you rely on a well for your water, or if your house uses a sump pump or pump-assisted sewerage setup.
A short power outage lasting a couple of hours may not do more than inconvenience you, but anything longer than that can start causing real trouble.
A couple of hundred gallons of stored water at home can help short-term, but for any longer periods, you will need alternative sources of water.
Having a portable generator can make sure that you can still access the water by powering the necessary pumping mechanisms.
It could be a well, a rainwater harvesting system, or even a nearby stream or river that you’re pumping from.