Plans for a new series of cooking lessons over the summer take a back seat as we struggle to survive a waterless summer.
Yes, there is a water crisis. But whether it’s natural or manmade, I am not sure. It’s summer in the entire country but only Manila and the province of Rizal areas are reeling from the water shortage.
Truth be told, we’ve been luckier than most. When the first wave of water shortage hit in March, we went waterless for two days and then everything returned to normal.
Suddenly, the tap went dry. I checked for advisories and discovered that the rotational water interruption meant we won’t have water from 5.00 p.m. until 5.00 a.m. of the following day until the rainy season begins and the dams can be refilled.
Fifteen years ago, I would have written some scathing piece blaming everything and everyone from capitalism to government corruption and ineptitude. I could again right now. But will that give us water? Hell, no. More likely, it’ll give me an anxiety attack.
So, rather than waste my breath cursing and raging, I’m listing down and sharing ways you can deal with this terrible situation.
Of course, right? But there’s a lousy way to store water and a smart way to do it. Trust me, I know. Back in the 1990s, we’ve through this insanity before.
Know your water consumption
Take your water bill for the past year, see how many cubic meters of water you consume per month, add all that together and divide by 12 to get your average monthly water consumption.
Why bother? Because in a situation where your neighborhood can go waterless for a week or longer, you need to know what kind of water storage containers you’ll need to get and how big they should be.
About water storage containers
If you have the means to get an overhead water tank, go ahead and do it. But if you’re late in the game, considering how the water crisis has been going on for almost two months now, expect sellers of overhead water tanks to jack up the prices.
If overhead tanks are too extravagant, get drums. Large plastic drums that won’t rust. Large plastic drums with lids that fit snugly.
Why large? Consider your overhead tanks (or drums, if that’s your preference) as your private reservoir. Draw from it only what you need. Replenish as soon as water supply is restored.
Why do the water containers need to have covers? Not just covers but covers that fit snugly. It’s to prevent insects from touching the water. Most especially, to prevent the water from becoming the breeding ground of mosquitoes which could expose your family to the dangers of dengue and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
How to make stored water last
The trick really is to do everything when there is water supply. Bathe. Cook. Do the laundry. Clean the bathrooms. Wash the car. If you’ve used up some of the previously store water during the hours when the tap was dry, replenish until all water containers are filled up again.
We’re lucky that, because we work from home, we can adjust our cooking, laundry and even our sleeping hours to enable us to maximize the hours when there’s water.
I understand that not everyone can do that. Those who go to work and families with school-aged children will find that difficult especially if there’s water only during the hours when everyone’s out to work or school. I’m really not in a position to recommend any strategy in such cases.
Cooking and keeping the kitchen clean during a water crisis
Cook when there’s no water? Well, if the water supply schedule is followed and we know what hours there will be water, we do the cooking during that time.
When we’re caught unaware, we don’t cook. We do takeout. It happened last night. We hadn’t had water interruption in over a month and, suddenly, the tap was dry. We had leftovers from lunch but they weren’t enough for dinner. Speedy went out and bought barbecue.
It’s really not the time to be heroic and insist that because home cooked food is best, we should continue cooking our meals even we have no idea how long our stored water will last.
Not cooking means no pots, chopping boards, knives and other kitchen equipment to wash.
Not cooking means the kitchen hardly gets dirty.
Disposable plates and cups are your friends
Disposable plates, cups, spoons, forks, knives… they are your best friends when there’s a water crisis.
Don’t use plastic though or anything that will take centuries to decompose. Just because there’s no water doesn’t mean you have an excuse to add to non-biodegradable trash,
Paper plates and paper cups are easy enough to source. They’re available in every market and grocery.
There are disposable spoons, forks and knives made from bamboo. They are more environment-friendly than their plastic counterparts.
I sound calm and composed for someone experiencing a water crisis? We’ve been without water only for the past eight hours. If water supply has not resumed by the time we’ve consumed more than half of our stored water, I doubt I’d be this calm. Maybe I’d be writing another post about the water crisis and hurling invectives.