According to Professor Benjamin Sovacool of Denmark, we can expect severe water shortages on a global scale by the year 2040, unless we make drastic changes.
In the United States, we certainly take water access for granted. 11% of the people in the world lack a basic access to clean drinking water. A surprising addition to that figure, is more than two million Americans lack the access to drinking water. More than half of the world's consumable water can be found in only six counties. In addition, more than 100 million people in the United States receive their water from public wells, which can be susceptible to contaminants such as radon, arsenic, uranium, lead and agriculture fertilizers.
While these water sources are clearly not perfect, they are also very susceptible to natural disasters, chemical spills, aging infrastructure, industrial accidents, and terrorist attacks. This is particularly disturbing when you learn that a human can only survive for three to four days without water. While you may be thinking that your local stream or lake might be a safe alternative, you should remember that thousands of Americans contract waterborne diseases every year. The most common are Giardia, Legionella, Norovirus, Shigella, and Campylobacter.
Access to water is not only required for drinking, but also sewer systems, property maintenance and general cleaning. Surprisingly, the average person uses 101.5 gallons of water per day. In a catastrophe, those who rely on public water supplies can only expect to receive water for several days or a couple of weeks at most. This is due to our water supply being pumped into water towers using electric pumps. This means that a widespread blackout or workers strike could lead to an eminent lack of water for entire cities or even counties.
What You Can Do
This article is not intended to scare you, and if you live in a first world country, it is more likely than not that you will never face a seriously threatening water crisis. However, it is important to recognize the dangers posed, and assess your personal ability to respond if such a situation were ever to occur.
The most common option to acquire local and sustainable water is a well pump. Depending on your property location, a well can supply your entire property with clean and renewable water year round. While electric pumps are the most common and user friendly, you can also install manual well pumps that can be used in case of loss of electricity. If your property does not have access to groundwater, you can install water collection systems that harvest rainwater and store them in barrels for when it is needed.
Outside of a catastrophic event, a rainwater collection system can be used to water your garden and lawn or hydrate your livestock and pets in an efficient and cost effective manner. For example, a single chicken can drink up to a pint of water every day, which can quickly deplete your reserves. However, with a rainwater collection system, you can supply your chickens (and in an emergency, your family) with a constant source of free, fresh water. Drink up!
Contact Wildline Solutions for help exploring your personal drinking water situation, or for aid in adding solutions such as a well or rainwater harvesting to your lifestyle.