Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Guest Post: Water by the Gallon Jug

by Xander Opal

My favorite source of water is the humble gallon jug found at every supermarket and convenience store, preferably with a screw-on lid in case it gets knocked around or over. I get several uses out of each jug, refilling it as needed.

Uses of the Gallon Jug
The most obvious use is for drinking, though there are a number of other situations that make me glad I had that water along.
  • Washing. Sure, there are hand sanitizers, but those aren't good for rinsing and removing dust, dirt, or even nastier stuff that one might be spreading or spraying in the middle of a field, far from a tap.
  • Cooling. You can always pour water on a cloth tied around your head or neck and use to to cool yourself. There are also times when your vehicle has lost coolant and you need to limp just a bit further, so (carefully!) adding water to the radiator will do the trick. 
  • Fires. I was in a fast food drive-through when a careless smoker tossed a cigarette butt into the landscaping, which started to burn the dry wood chip mulch. One application of a handy gallon of water later and the initial problem was solved. While an 'A-B-C' fire extinguisher should be used for fires that aren't burning wood or grass, there are times where this is just plain handy.

To keep your water palatable, keep it cool and out of direct sunlight. I have also found that if that isn't an option (such as the only place available on a vehicle being in sunlight, against the transmission hump, on a hot day), putting a few mint leaves in means you at least have some halfway decent tea instead of hot water. This isn't good for long-term, but if you're out on a job for a day or less, it can help.

You're eventually going to run out of water, however many bottles, jugs, or barrels you have.

In civilized areas, make note of where stores, service stations, and restaurants are as well as their operating hours. If you're unfamiliar with a town or city, don't go wandering about on foot in the heat without knowing where you can stop by, top up and cool off.  Not only will this prevent heat injury by staying hydrated, but  if you encounter someone who doesn't know where to get water you can also be a big help to them.

Out in the wilds, clean potable water is harder to come by. There are many ways to purify water, but these devices and techniques do you no good without a source in the first place. Maps that indicate small streams and ponds, not just what might be shown on a road atlas, are important here. If you might end up away from civilization, plan ahead so that you can find the water you need to get back.

Water is important, so keep it close by and keep drinking!

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