Well, the better part of the day, anyway.
Yesterday's mishap with the shut off valve, led to one of those practical guides of how much water do we need to store.
Water storage pre-mishap:
Bowl of water in sink, soaking to loosen dried food (poured into doggie stew pot)
1 5 gallon pail, nearly full, which collects water from the relief valve on the water tank. (used to wash dishes).
14 2L pop bottles (used 2 for dish rinse water. I wanted 'cleaner' water for the rinse, which proved fruitless after the first few items were rinsed, used 1 in the bathroom to wash hands and flush the toilet until the snow melted)
2 4L jugs distilled water. (used half of one to bake bread).
24 500ml bottles (drank about 4)
pot of tea (made before the mishap)
3 5 gallon pail of snow (dishes)
4 5 gallon pails of snow (bathtub, to flush toilet, and wold have added hot water for baths if we didn't get the problem fixed)
At the end of the day:
11 2L bottles
about 20 500ml bottles
Melting snow is definitely more convenient (and cleaner) than hauling water from the creek. It can also be put into a variety of readily available containers once the bucket comes in the house. I had two pots on the stove, and one on the wood stove all day, melting and heating snow. I filled the bathtub with snow to melt slowly. I could have easily grabbed more 5 gallon pails, pots and bowls if I needed more, or faster water.
I also left the critters to fend for themselves for the day. Although it's not really recommended (eating snow requires more energy than drinking water), one day wasn't going to hurt them.
If this had happened in the summer, with everyone at home, with our water intake being higher, and needing to get water to the critters, we would have been in trouble. Not because we don't have access to water- we have the creek and a natural spring next door, but because carrying water takes some forethought. For one thing, carting 5 gallon pails are heavy, and without lids, would spill quite a bit.
So even though we had more than enough water for this situation, I'm going to increase my water storage. 2L pop bottles would work well to get water from the spring, and if I'm going to store them, I might as well store them filled. I have a large camping jug, and I might as well keep it filled as well. A couple more of those would be handy for hauling water, as would some 5 gallon pails with lids. A couple more cases of bottled water wouldn't take up too much room either, and the bottles would be very convenient if I had to do this long term.
Another handy device would be a siphoning hose set aside just for water.
For the critters, I think I need to look at a 55 gallon drum. We have lots that we use as rain barrels, and water 'troughs' for the critters, but one without the top cut off wold be good for hauling water from the creek. Of course, long term, running the fence to the creek would be the best solution.
Dad picked up the parts I needed in town, and came over to help me fix the pipe last night. By 7pm, we were back in business, and now I know how to do minor plumbing repairs.