At the educational center where my girls take French class and music lessons there's this science book we like to look at. One of the discussions in the book centers on dehydration and has a very interesting graphic that shows a guy who's suffering from dehydration. The illustation is pretty ... *not* pretty.
One resource I consulted stated that one can live for ten days (in 50° weather) without any water at all, but as the article points out, a person who had gotten to that point wouldn't be in any condition to be looking for water, and the damage to his/her body from severe dehydratioon would be significant, perhaps not recoverable.
So, we'll say that water is pretty important. Everybody knows it. We've always known it, in fact. I can remember, as a kid, watching some of those old Westerns, and one of the tricks adversaries used to use against each other out in the desert was to "poison" the water with an animal carcass. As a kid, I didn't know why it was bad, just that it was, but now, I understand it is bacterial contamination (like food poisoning), which will cause diarrhea, which will exacerbate the chances of dehydration. One can die pretty quickly, and painfully, from bacterial poisoning.
Right now, I get my water from a municipal water company, but in a lower energy future, the ability for this company to suck water into their facility from the river where they get my water, and then, add the necessary chemicals to make it safe for drinking, and THEN, send it through miles and miles of pipes into my home, may be significantly compromised. In fact, during the summer months, when the population of my town swells to three times its winter size, there is a noticable drop in water pressure as the demand for this life-giving elixir is increased.
As such, in preparation for the coming emergency, water security is second only to making sure I have shelter.
Some time ago, I was watching a video about the problem of drinking water in a village somewhere on the African continent. Much of the continent is arid, and there are significant issues with desertification, specifically around Lake Chad, which has been receding for a good many years. As such, water is scarce, and clean water is even more so.
According to the video, almost by accident, a village woman discovered how to purify water. She would put the water in plastic (PET) bottles and then leave it on top of her corrugated metal roof for six to forty-eight hours (depending on the cloud cover). This would kill the disease-causing pathogens. The number one cause of death among children in third world countries is diarrhea, usually the result of drinking contaminated water. This woman's discovery of a very simple, very low-tech, very accessible way of purifying her water supply was nothing short of miraculous.
This article was also particularly enlightening, and just so you know, a combination of boiling and filtering (using a simple and easily homemade sand/charcoal filter) will make water safe to drink - but if there is any question as to what may be in the water, BOTH boiling AND filteration should be used. Boiling kills the pathogens (parasites and bacteria) and filteration takes out contaiminates like heavy metals.
Getting clean water doesn't have to be high tech or difficult, but it does need to be done, and those of us who are dependent on a delivery system that is, let's face it, pretty fragile and not wholly reliable, will need to make some plans for what we can do to make sure we have water, because after only a few hours without water, I start to get loopy ... after a few days, I'm pretty sure I'm a goner.
To get you started on securing your water supply, I have a treat for you.
After you boil the water from the creek near your house, you can filter it through this pitcher and have great tasting, CLEAN water for your family to drink. It holds 40 fluid ounces of water, and the replacement filters are cheap.
Some people will say store gallons of water, and if I lived in a water scarce area, I would probably have water storage of some kind, but for my preps, it just seems easier to have a way to make dirty water clean than to find a place to store clean water.
If you would like to be entered into the drawing for this Brita water pitcher, please leave a comment. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 2 ;).