Water Supply

The Potential For a Water Famine in America

water storageWhat’s happening to my water? There’s very low pressure coming out of the faucets, and I’m wondering if the water is safe to drink?

And much of the food in the pantry and the refrigerator needs water for preparation. Now I’m getting scared. If it stays this way for very long, what can I do to be certain we are safe?

Don’t Panic

We need to approach our immediate needs realistically. Air to breathe… check! Water… grocery store? Their supply won’t last long. The same with food. What are we going to do? Most important… don’t panic… be calm and we’ll figure this out.

Put yourself in this scene and answer some basic questions.

Are you prepared to deal with whatever is happening? More and more people are reaching the point my husband Mike and I did months ago… coming to the belief shared by millions of people in the United States that our country’s electric grid will be… or already is… under attack and compromised and will go down. The only thing we can do about it is prepare for a period of time where we have to provide for our families and loved ones… with no outside help… for whatever period of time is required.

The First and Most Pressing Issue

This situation is impossible to get your head around, if you try to understand EVERYTHING that is involved, all at once. So let’s approach it in segments… take a few minutes and pray for God to grant you inner peace, a clear mind and his unwavering protection. And then… the first and most pressing issue is WATER.

Current blogs about preparing or planning for an emergency living situation target a 2-week period as the first step toward a one-year goal of total preparedness. At The Survival Gene, we focus instead on “The Rule of 3,” mainly because it is a number we can use consistently.

  • 3 days = an immediate period (3 days without water causes death)
  • 3 weeks = a short-term period
  • 3 months = an intermediate period

and, ultimately, a long term goal of preparedness for you, your family and pets is for one year of total self reliance.

Ten things you do throughout the day which currently rely on water from your faucet are:

  1. taking a shower or bath
  2. brushing your teeth
  3. flushing the toilet
  4. washing your hair
  5. washing your clothes
  6. making coffee or tea
  7. drinking a glass of water
  8. preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner meals
  9. washing dishes, silverware and cooking utensils
  10. providing water for your pets

Events or Disasters That Affect Water Supply

Break down at the plant – normally not a serious threat to the water supply. Lasts, at the most, several days and you have access to bottled water at the market.

water storage

Contamination – can last a few weeks before the water is drinkable again. Flooding from rain and hurricanes has recently caused a number of water plants to close because run off water has contaminated the water typically used for personal use. Terrorism is also another potential threat… this poisons the water.

Cyber Attack or Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) – this is potentially capable of causing a “water famine.” 4-star General Lloyd Austin at CentCom has said, “the threat of a cyber attack on our electrical system is not a question of if, but when.” No electricity to pump the supply water and this could last months, not days or weeks.

If the electric goes out totally and you find there is still water coming from your faucets, the source of that water can be contaminated or eliminated at any moment, if it is not already compromised.

Having a sufficient supply of water already set aside for each member of the family and your pets is critical! Experts say we should store 1 gallon per day per person and additional amounts for pets. A great way to approach the task of stockpiling is to store what is recommended, and then add some extra “just in case.”

Storing a Three Week Supply

Preparing NOW, while you have available resources, is critical. Storing a three week supply is a good first objective. That’s a short enough time that we can ALL accomplish the task.

Most “Preppers” (yes, we actually have a name! Those who “prepare” to live thru short-, mid- and long-term emergencies or disasters are “Preppers”) recommend storing your short term water supply in 5 gallon containers (the one displayed in this link is specifically PBA-free). You can purchase them from Amazon.com, at your local hardware store, or even from WalMart. (Note: a phone call to my local WalMart revealed the in-store pick-up cost of a jug to be at least 50% less than online ordering prices, and with no shipping charges added… however, they may not have available the quantity you want, and you also may not want people to see what you are buying — you’ll learn more about personal security and the need for secrecy a little further along.)

Water storageTo make the most of your available storage space at home, it is recommended that you store the containers on their sides and stack them. Don’t forget to purchase a device to dispense water from the top of the 5 gallon containers; otherwise, accessing the water supply can be a real challenge.

You have some choices, here. If you are filling the water bottles prior to an emergency situation, you can fill the containers from your home faucets, if your water is safe for drinking. Otherwise, you can choose to either purifying the water before using it for drinking, food preparation or cooking, or you can do the filtering/purifying before putting the water into the storage bottles. (Be sure to purify the water for your pets, too.)

Several survivalists I’ve either read or watched on YouTube strongly caution against taking water from your garden hose, which carries significant amounts of bacteria as it delivers water.

To purify and to make water suitable to drink, there are a multitude of products/processes that are effective. Choices are limited only by your approach to water purification and your budget. You can use tablets to assure the safety of the water content. A very credible product is the Potable Aqua Water Purification Germicidal Tablets, which are effective against Giardia. One bottle of 50 tablets will treat just over 6 gallons of water, so the expense could be a factor. This particular product uses iodine to purify the water. For people allergic to iodine, there are products which use chlorine, instead.

You can also consider using a simple household product to treat your water. Here is a video for you to watch,********

water storageTime out for a minute… Many sites will state “Effective (or not) against Giardia”; however, I have yet to see any site explain to a true novice the nature of “Giardia.” So let’s take care of that at the outset. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) explains that Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarreal illness known as “giardiasis.” It is found on surfaces or in soil, food or water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals. In an emergency living situation, I’m sure you don’t want to have to deal with it!

water storageA process I’ve seen recommended in many places is one you can use alongside the 5 gallon storage containers, if you have to filter/purify the water before using. It is a serious filtering/purifying pitcher, such as the Seychelle 1-40401-W Radiological Family Water Pitcher which has a filter that claims to reduce 99% of dissolved solids, along with Radium 226, Radon 222, Plutonium, Uranium, and Cesium to purify the water. The filter in this pitcher handles up to 150 gallons. These claims sound pretty serious, so I’m checking out this pitcher! A little later in this blog, we’ll look at equipment which will purify water more easily and more quickly, especially considering a longer-term living situation.

During this period of living in an emergency situation, you will probably not be within arm’s reach of your water supply 24/7. So each person in your household must have their own portable water bottle capable of filtering and purifying a personal water supply, especially when obtained from questionable sources, such as creeks and lakes, or even from lake water, just one quick step off my dock. Be sure to invest in something like this Seychelle pH20 PUREWATER 28 oz. Flip Top Bottle… choose a bottle that does a whole lot more than just carry your water. There are several high tech options capable of rendering water from questionable sources to be safe to drink.

Three Month WATER Supply

Providing safe consumable water for a three month supply is our second objective. Many Preppers use 55-gallon water barrels for their stockpiled bulk water storage, which can be filled from your in-home water faucets, including the faucet which supplies water to your laundry room clothes washer. Be conscious of the add-on of any shipping charges when you order.

Once we’re living in an emergency situation, stores and suppliers will quickly run out of their inventory of purified water, so we will then have to look to sources beyond our stockpiled supply. A logical source is rain water, easily captured using rain barrels. This water source should be purified before drinking. You will also need a water diverter to move the rain water from your downspout into the rain barrel. (Note: Some states prohibit the use of rain barrels… be sure to check your state for use.)

water storageSo… have you considered how much you will miss your hot shower? Don’t worry, there’s even a solution (sort of!) for that… Ivation makes a portable 5-gallon outdoor shower, which can sit in the sun filled with water, until the water is warm. In case you are imagining yourself out in the side yard in your birthday suit for all the neighbors the see, you can even hang it up to work in your bathroom shower! If it’s winter, with no sun available, you can heat some water… using whatever indoor heating solution you’ve chosen… so you can still take a warm shower.

Long-Term Options for Assuring the Safety of Your Drinking Water

By now, I’m certain you recognize how labor intensive it may be to provide clean and safe drinking water for yourself and your family members and pets. For that reason, we need to look at several serious long-term options for purifying water.

Here are three options you may find interesting which, for your use, can only be limited by the degree of your commitment to preparation and by your budget. When you purchase one of these systems, be sure to stock up on whatever filters are needed, as well.

  • Take a good long look at the Berkey Water Filtering Systems. Berkey’s website says that, configured with 2 purification elements, the system can process up to 3.5 gallons per hour… using 4 elements, it can purify up to 7 gallons per hour. Berkey’s website states the system removes viruses, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces rust, silt, sediment, foul taste and odors and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs.
  • Let’s take a quick look at another system. Katadyn products have been time-tested by the military and worldwide relief organizations to provide safe drinking water throughout the world. The Katadyn TRK Drip model holds 10 liters (2.64 gallons) and purifies 4 liters (1.06 gallons) per hour.
  • Regardless of which larger system I purchased, I would also get the much smaller, very portable Katadyn Vario Water Filter. It can transform water from creeks and streams into safe drinking water at the rate of 2 quarts per minute.
  • This section would be incomplete without telling you about the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. Most important is that you can place one end of the LifeStraw in any water supply (lake, creek, canal) and drink the water that is delivered into your mouth! Literature on the product describes its removing minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and surpassing EPA standards for water filters. Unbelievably inexpensive, as well. This is a good product to carry in your backpack, your car’s glove compartment, or even in your purse!

Rotation of Water Supply Is Important

Several experts recommend your placing a date on each storage container, making it much easier to empty your containers at the 3-month mark and refill.

Again, don’t overlook the need to stock up on filters that will be needed for extended use of these products.

We’ve talked about the “why” and the “how,” and I want to leave you with a very important word of advice. When you take your first steps in preparing for the uncertain future we expect, you will probably begin to feel a sense of excitement and purpose in what you have started to accomplish. My advice to you is this… don’t share your plans with friends and acquaintances unless they, themselves, reveal to you they are Preppers. In an emergency living situation, the reasons will become obvious.

Many people will have done NOTHING to prepare. Your stockpile of water and food may be, to them, an irresistable resource for providing for their needs. So be wise. For example, if you are storing water and food in shelving units in the garage, design a way to cover the units… maybe something as simple as a drape hung from the ceiling. There’s a lot to be said for “out of sight, out of mind!”

Be conscious of even a store clerk asking what you’re going to do with your 5-gallon water jugs. Your answer will be heard by everyone else in line and may tip someone onto the fact that you are stockpiling at your house. Protect yourself with privacy!

We will be talking more later about protecting your family, your property and your stockpile from outside forces.

So, what is the most important thing you can do today? Make a plan, then get started! Your life… and the lives of your loved ones… may depend on it very soon.

And may God bless us all!