If you believe that there is NO CHANCE that the water supply that you enjoy could ever be cut off, contaminated, or interfered with in any way, then DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME READING THIS ARTICLE! If you have less than 100% confidence in the government that assures the safety of your water, you might want to read on….
Many of the survival and preparedness websites advise people to build up their food pantries, and store food. I think that this is good advice, and food storage is a part of our preparedness plan. One thing that I think gets overlooked by a lot of people is clean water. We are so used to being able to turn on the faucet & get water any time we want, that we forget what it would be like if the water supply wasn’t available.
Most healthy people can live for several weeks without food, and they won’t die. They won’t be healthy or happy, but they won’t die. Without water, most of us would not survive more than a few days. Most of the experts tell us that you should plan on having at least one gallon of water per person per day in your emergency stores.
All of the government recommendations tell us that we should be prepared to take care of ourselves for a MINIMUM of three days, before we can realistically expect help from emergency workers. So, for a family of four, you should have at least 12 gallons of safe clean water stored up to last you for 3 days. Extreme temperatures will require more.
Events in recent years have shown us that despite extreme efforts from very hard working, dedicated emergency workers, they can become overwhelmed when there is a large disaster. They can’t always get to everyone within that 3 day window. You may be on your own for a week or more.
Your body weight is 55% -60% water. Water is VERY important to your health. When you are dehydrated, you can get into very serious, and potentially life threatening condition quickly. Severe dehydration can cause cardiac and/or respiratory problems – up to & including death!
From the Mayo Clinic:
Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
- Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
- Few or no tears when crying
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or light-headedness
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- Lack of sweating
- Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
- In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- No tears when crying
- In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Read more about dehydration from the Mayo Clinic HERE.
In addition to illness & death caused from a lack of water, you should also think about illness and death caused from drinking unsafe water. Did you know
- 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases (including cholera); 90% are children under 5, mostly in developing countries.
- 88% of diarrheal disease is attributed to unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
- Improved water supply reduces diarrheal morbidity by between 6% to 25%, if severe outcomes are included.
- Improved sanitation reduces diarrhoea morbidity by 32%.
- Hygiene interventions including hygiene education and promotion of hand washing can lead to a reduction of diarrheal cases by up to 45%.
- Improvements in drinking-water quality through household water treatment, such as chlorination at point of use, can lead to a reduction of diarrheal episodes by between 35% and 39%.
- Read more HERE
Here are some other facts and figures about water and sanitation that you may not know:
- 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population.
- 2.4 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, about two-fifths of the world’s population.
- 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
- Some 6,000 children die every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene – equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
- At any one time it is estimated that half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne diseases.
- 200 million people in the world are infected with schistosomiasis, of whom 20 million suffer severe consequences. The disease is still found in 74 countries of the world. Scientific studies show that a 77% reduction of incidence from the disease was achieved through well designed water and sanitation interventions.
- The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 km.
- The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is the equivalent of your airport luggage allowance (20kg).
- The average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water a day.
- The average person in the United Kingdom uses 135 liters of water every day.
- One flush of your toilet uses as much water as the average person in the developing world uses for a whole day’s washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking.
- Comparative costs: In Europe $11 billion is spent each year on ice cream; in USA and Europe, $17 billion is spent on pet food; in Europe $105 billion is spent annually on alcoholic drinks, ten times the amount required to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
- In the past 10 years diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.
- In China, India and Indonesia twice as many people are dying from diarrheal diseases as from HIV/AIDS.
- In 1998, 308,000 people died from war in Africa, but more than two million (six times as many) died of diarrheal disease.
- The population of the Kibeira slum in Nairobi, Kenya pay up to five times the price for a liter of water than the average American citizen.
- An estimated 25% of people in developing country cities use water vendors purchasing their water at significantly higher prices than piped water.
- Projections for 2025 indicate that the number of people living in water-stressed countries will increase to 3 billion – a six-fold increase. Today, 470 million people live in regions where severe shortages exist.
- The simple act of washing hands with soap and water can reduce diarrhea disease by one-third.
- Following the introduction of the Guatemalan Hand Washing Initiative in 1998, there were 322,000 fewer cases of diarrhea each year amongst the 1.5 million children under 5 nationwide in the country’s lowest income groups.
- In Zambia, one in five children die before their fifth birthday. In contrast in the UK fewer than 1% of children die before they reach the age of five.
- A study in Karachi found that people living in areas without adequate sanitation who had no hygiene education spend six times more on medical treatments than those with sanitation facilities.
- Waterborne diseases (the consequence of a combination of lack of clean water supply and inadequate sanitation) cost the Indian economy 73 million working days a year. And a cholera outbreak in Peru in the early 1990s cost the economy US$1 billion in lost tourism and agricultural exports in just 10 weeks.
- Improved water quality reduces childhood diarrhea by 15-20% BUT better hygiene through hand washing and safe food handling reduces it by 35% AND safe disposal of children’s feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40%.
- At any time, 1.5 billion people suffer from parasitic worm infections stemming from human excreta and solid wastes in the environment. Intestinal worms can be controlled through better sanitation, hygiene and water. These parasites can lead to malnutrition, anaemia and retarded growth, depending upon the severity of the infection.
- It is estimated that pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria, which account for 20% of global disease burden, receive less than 1% of total public and private funds devoted to health research.
- Ecological sanitation is one option being practiced in some communities in China, Mexico, Vietnam, etc. Excreta contains valuable nutrients. We produce 4.56 kg nitrogen, 0.55 kg phosphorous, and 1.28 kg potassium per person per year from faeces and urine. This is enough to produce wheat and maize for one person every year.
- One gram of feces can contains:10,000,000 Viruses, 1,000,000 bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, 100 parasite eggs.
- Info from rehydrate.org
If your water supply is cut off for any reason – natural disaster, terrorist attack, whatever – what steps have you taken to assure the health & safety of your family. I think that there should be much more focus in the prepper/survival community in general on having an adequate water supply than on having dozens of guns & thousands of rounds of ammunition. Self defense is important, but even if you have all the big bad guns & ammo you can store, you can’t defend anything if you are dead!
Store some water for your family. Then work on getting a good, high quality, high capacity water filter to prevent disease in case of longer term water shortages. The best sniper in the world, equipped with the best equipment in the world, can’t shoot the germs that can kill you and your family. For much less than the cost of most center fire rifles, you can buy a high quality water filter that will keep your water safe to drink. Only you can decide what’s right for your family, but I believe if there is ever a widespread, long term water shortage in America, there will be a lot of well armed corpses laying around because they didn’t think things through.
Thanks for reading! ^MM