When The Water Stops Flowing


Will the water treatment facilities fail during a SHTF crisis? Many will.

The question is… what about your water supply…? For most, if the power goes out, and after the generator fuel is exhausted (if there are generators,) the water will stop flowing.

When the water stops flowing, there will be…

Looting of all the grocery stores by the second or third day.

Minor outbreaks of violence during the looting. Shop owners, for example, may attempt to defend their shops with firearms.

Mass exodus of residents from the cities in search of water.

Ransacking of any houses or farms within a gas tank (likely less) radius of the city (perhaps 150 miles), presumably by desperate people with weapons.

Mass traffic jams on the outbound highways as people run out of gas and abandon their vehicles (if it’s bad enough, this could actually block the highways and trap people in the cities).

Mass outbreak of water-borne diseases as people use streams and rivers for drinking water and for a bathroom. People who excrement upstream are going to infect the people drinking downstream. Very few have any kind of water filtration device or know how to purify water for drinking.

Once the water flow stops, disease is going to strike.

As you may or may not be aware, while people can live without food for a relatively longer time (~2-3 weeks), water is needed on a daily basis. You can go 2-3 days without it (depending on circumstances), but beyond that, well… that will be your end.

That means people will do anything to get water, because to not have it means death. And guess where it’s going to be the most difficult to actually get water?

You guessed it: in the cities. During the first day of the water crisis, many people still won’t figure out what’s going on. They’ll figure it’s temporary and the city or government will get it fixed soon enough. As hours stretch into days, these people will get very worried.

By the second day of the water shortage, more and more people will realize the water isn’t coming. At that point, you could easily see a breakdown of social order.

People will begin their “search for water,” and the first place they’re likely to go is where they always go: the grocery store, the local Walmart, the 7-11. The shelves will be cleaned out rather quickly.

Beyond that (because water and other liquid drinks aren’t going to last long), you’re going to see people engaged in a mass-exodus from the cities. They’ll take the gas they have left in their tanks and they’ll leave the city in search of water. Some will go to “Grandma’s house” out in the country where they might at least find a pond or stream to drink from. Others will simply go on an expanded looting mission, stopping at any house they see and asking the residents if they have any water, or more likely they will simply ‘take’ what you have by force. Desperate people do desperate things.

How can you avoid this scenario? Move out of the city.

Or, upon first signs of trouble (major power outage), GET OUT of the city – before the others realize the magnitude of the situation. Have a plan. Know where you’re going (ahead of time).

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  1. I’d be filling up the bathtub and any buckets in sight. For sanitary purposes. Flushing toilets and the like. I have over 100 gallons of treated water for drinking. Also a Berkey.

    Your thought on, the unprepared, bugging out to Grandmas is amusing. Hopefully, they will takes their friends. Odds are they won’t live very long there either.

    Not a chance in hell I’m going to let them *take* anything from me. Went through this to a lesser degree during the L.A. riots. If you send rounds downrange they will act like roaches when the lights get turned on.

    1. My plan is to fill up EVERYTHING if the power stays down for over 24 hours. There will be no PSA: “The water system is down and what is in the towers is all we have left”

  2. Sewage works will seize up within a couple of days.
    Within a week sewage related diseases will crop up and will grow exponentially. The cities will be real health hazards.

    The introduction of sewage drains in London in the late 19th century virtually eliminated cholera from London within months.

    1. I don’t see sewage processing shutting down quickly here. They are gravity fed. I know that EPA has forced local governments, here anyway, to spend a boatload of money on treating sewage. Almost seems like EPA is more concerned about a river that nobody drinks from than the aquifier that most use.

      What are the unprepared going to use to flush toilets in order to clog the system? Some of that extra virgin olive oil they got on food stamps and were saving for a *special* occasion?

      As an aside… Several years ago a treatment tank failed. Drowned one worker. Talk about a crappy way to die.

        1. Sewers are mostly NOT gravity fed. While gravity is used for part of the movement of sewage, it falls in to lift stations, where it is “lifted” by pumps, then travels via gravity until it cannot go any further. Then, it falls in to another lift station. This is true in any big city. When electricity fails, the sewage systems fails as well.

          1. Your post jogged my noggin’ about a few things.

            1. Look for areas of green growth (post-collapse) and soft earth to indicate broken septic lines. There won’t be anyone to pump out your septic system, and thus this will end up happening at some point. Routinely adding bacteria to help digest it (they sell products for this purpose) will help this from happening as quickly. If full, I’d pump it out if you thought a collapse was around the corner which would buy you a lot of time later.

            2. During Hurricane Sandy, the toilets didn’t work in high rise apartment building and believe it or not people deposited their manure in the hallways or dumped it from windows. I kid you not, and it’s indicative of how little common sense people have. That’s going to be a teaching point for survivors and preppers to assist them.

            3. At some point the sewers won’t work, and that will back up into many homes and could make it unliveable. They make caps for toilets to prevent that, and this would be a good thing to have on hand. It means removing the commode, and then installing the cap.

          2. Where i live we are all on septic tanks. Many people I know have not had to pump out their tanks for six or seven years. We all use the treated pulp to maintain good concentrations of microbes in our systems. The reason I pump mine out so often is because in a SHTF I probably will not be able to source the truck and pump to do so, therefore by keeping the solids level a lot lower, I essentially buy time.

          3. I’m glad that you’re participating in this discussion, because you’re detailing out some ideas that are not usually discussed outside of maintenance and engineering circles.

            Your tip on the lift stations is very important because while a prepper may control lots of things within their domicile, the sewers might create issues immediately outside and ruin their plans for making a safe environment. A large scale problem would lead to many sanitation issues, a real concern about mosquito borne diseases as a vector from that happening.

          4. Check to see if your house has a cleanout in the main sanitary line either before or after it exits the house. If it does, acquire an inflatable plumber’s test plug in the correct size (probably 3″) and a bike pump. This will prevent sewage backup inside your house. Maybe a good idea to reinforce it with wood blocks wedged behind it to insure that it doesn’t pop out.

  3. Earlier in the year, the American Trucking Association put out a report concerning Just-In-Time inventory controls and logistics for water treatment facilities to receive chlorine. It averages 7-14 days. Therefore from the onset of a SHTF event, then you would begin to see concern about this issue.

    What’s been hypothesized is that some people would fill up reservoirs to prepare, and as large organizations did that (for many industries have large capacity storage tanks on site), then combined you’d have much higher water usage than normal. This would result in lowered water pressure.

    Those who didn’t prepare would notice the low water pressure, but might not do anything. As that persisted, then there would be concern about it and more people buying water, so all forms in stores would disappear.

    Even the smart preppers in cities who wish to bug in, they’d at best would most likely only have less than 150 gallons with forty gallons of that from their hotwater tank (that assumes they’ve checked it for rust/sediment/calcium deposits).

    Let’s assume a family of four. At a gallon a day per person for cleaning and consumption, then that’s 4 gallons a day for the family. That’s ten days of water if there is no spillage (which is unrealistic). If the preppers managed to have an additional 110 gallons, then they would have enough for 27.5 days. Total amount of water reserve = 37.5 days of water.

    But that assumes that wild folks won’t be going house-to-house in cities in search of water, right? This is why I think urban dwellers are doomed.

    When the SHTF in Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people stayed because they had no economic means of leaving. Then they started looting. There’s lots of videos on that. When that happened, the soldiers went in and forcibly relocated some, but also disarmed folks who were attempting to stay. How would you deal with that because you can’t take the water with you? You won’t be able to defend yourself either.

    Urban folks will be totally screwed up by mitigation methods there that are imposed by officials.

  4. We keep a Well Point, 30 ft. of Well Pipe, and a Pitcher Pump to draw the water. Also a good pipe driver and 80 lbs. of cement to make a pad, stored in sealed buckets.
    Should/when the SHTF, driving a shallow water well on a bit of “wetlands” on my land is our plan. We also have a Flow-Jack as a back up. Two=one + One = 0

  5. It’s the one area where are preps are the strongest. First we have a deep well, 500′. Then a generator with 10 to 30 days running time depending on how frugal we are with the gas. Only 55 gallons stored water as we have storage space limitations right now. A brook runs behind the house about 100′ away. A small pond sits on our property, and a spring run-off. Then we have a rain barrel, and a Berkey filter. We have a septic tank, so waste will not be a problem. Eventually we are planning on a manual pump for the well.

  6. I read about this…please let me know if it works…
    Empty bottle of bleach, or what ever type container, fill with water. (For after toilet hand cleaning you could add small amount of bleach or liquid antibacterial soap to the water).
    Screw on cap, hang container with twine/wire by handle, insert thumb tack into bottom side part of container. Pull out thumb tack wash hands. Hole gets too big use golf tee. Push tack/tee back in to stop water.
    Get string and womens nylons or some kinda thin fabric wrap a bar of soap inside fabric and tie and let hang from container handle for easy use. Now have basic functioning cheap way to wash hands and use very little water. Put basin underneath bottle if indoors.

    Camping…(i do this ALL the time…Guerilla camping)…to avoid using light to your water source/toilet or wherever you need to get to…just use heavy duty fishline from tree to tree or what ever…Also great to find your ‘hide”…(your hidden campsite at night, or to navigate or to find a temp cache).
    I will get the Big Berkey…but still highly recommend the M.S.R. water filter, and the dromedary bags. ( The filter screws into the dromedary…when not in use the dromedary rolls up and is super small.
    I also recomend the life straw….cheap….prob is ….like the mag bars and firesteels…they are so cheap i always give them away as gifts so i am down to 1 life straw now.
    Also recomend the katadyn pocket, have owned 2 …they are very tough and durable.
    Get a roll of heavy guage plastic for collecting rain water. ( plastic is a major prep anyway for shelter/And expedient fallout shelters/expedient rain gear etc.).

  7. In Florida, the problem will not be getting water. It’s everywhere. All one needs is a ceramic gravity .5 micron filter and you are all set. So, we will not run out of water, especially when it rains just about every day in the hotter months. Just gather the family and food supply, bar ground floor windows, fortify doors..and hope things get better. I will always choose to bug in…unless there is absolutely no choice. Can you imagine trying to bug out while carrying everything everyone else wants really, really, bad? Being displaced from your nest is simply a death sentence.

    When there really is no place to go…don’t go.

    1. @Ision.

      If I were in Florida, I would be far more concerned with having to drink salt water.

      1. In March of this year, there was a news article about perforene, a special form of graphene which can be utilized for desalination. If anyone lives along the coasts where fresh water is a major issue, they may wish to see what commerical applications are available or what a hobbist might do to make their own.

      2. While usually not worth it for the materials and energy costs to make it work, there are two methods of water purification from salt water.

        One method that’s been tried is solar distillation. There’s a couple of research projects that were tried in arid conditions, and the device can be cheaply constructed now (but would be difficult to source materials under collapse conditions). It does produce a steady if slow supply of water. See Luujia and Rosendahl among many designs.

        They make a solar distillation unit for boaters but the amount of water produced is very small. See the Aquamate Inflatable solar still.

        A lot of energy and good will has been expended on that subject in trying to find the most economical method of producing pure water. Solar stills are the cheapest ways, but the amounts produced are so low. Every soldier learns how to make a solar still, but again it’s only a theoretical possibility and one that might still cause phytochemical contamination when trying to acquire the water by transpiration or by solar distillation from plant life.

  8. In another article and within the comment section, someone brought up melting snow for water. Here’s a smart way to do that without using firewood, but it is limited in other ways.

    Two years ago, a young college student was stranded by bad weather while off far from a populated area, but still within a vehicle. By luck she had a water bottle, I believe a Nalgene bottle and some bandy bars. Each day, she would place snow within the Nalgene bottle, and because the sun was out or being inside the car, the temperature was hot enough to melt snow.

    This would be a long process and governed by the ability of you to gather snow in sufficient quantities (6-7 inches of snow is equivalent to an inch of water) and then to melt enough snow by either method to acquire the two quarts needed per day. What’s more likely to happen is slow dehydration for it takes too long to acquire enough water this way and is so contingent upon many things.

    Under Winter conditions, survivors would have to adjust what they think is a comfortable temperature. The interior of a home without heat can get approach within 1/2 of one degree F of the outside temperature. However some rooms will be more insulated within your home and may thus be warm enough to melt snow on a continual basis. That will be extremely slow and expect to lose moisture to the dry air in Winter through evaporation.

    I urge everyone to learn the principles of Biosand filtration. This is the most likely way that a community would purify water. Otherwise your water filters are more precious than gold in a collapse and you could be assaulted in attempts to seize them from you. Sometimes facilitating your neighbors having water will increase your security.

    Now that Winter is here, I urge everyone to read about the Drought Monitor map. I believe that Ken did an article about it. Ordinarily farmers and bargemen monitor it as it indicates arid conditions and low river levels (which directly affect the depth that barges can be loaded and not drag the bottoms of rivers).

    A huge swatch of the USA is in a persistant drought, and while you might think, “There’s a lake a mile away….” in actuality it might be very dangerous to go outside to gather than water and a lot of trouble to bring it back.

    Nothing beats having a shallow point well, but technically that is for agricultural use only, for it can easily get contaminated. Look at the flow of rainwater during a storm and how much water flows on to your property from neighbors at higher elevations. It’s not just what you do for sanitation during a collapse, but what the other folks in your region are doing that might contaminate your well.

    If you have a shallow point, is it insulated? If not, it can freeze and pipes can burst. Deeper well equipment can also have this happen, and hence why the pumps can be within insulated buildings. That also might not be noticed by desperate people seeking water.

      1. Intermittently-operated slow sand filtration

        “Intermittently-operated slow sand filters can be small units that easily supply enough clean water for a family. Therefore, they are particularly suited for use in low-income countries, where the majority of people rely on untreated, contaminated surface water. Find out in detail how intermittently-operated slow sand filters work.”…

        “Until recently, it was considered impractical to operate a slow sand filter intermittently, due to the need for a continuous supply of food and oxygen. However, Dr. Manz of the University of Calgary re-designed the traditional sand filter, making it suitable for intermittent use at a household level. This adaptation, brilliant in simplicity, consists of raising the under drain pipe back up to between 1 and 8 cm above the sand level, ensuring a foolproof method for maintaining the water level just above the sand. Manz proved that, even when water is not continually added to the filter, oxygen can still permeate into the water to reach the organisms living in the sand by diffusion accross this shallow layer of standing water.”…

        “The effectiveness of slow sand filtration for water treatment has been very well documented.”…

        “No other single process can effect such an improvement in the physical, chemical and bacteriological quality of surface waters.” …
        “The Centre for Affordable Water Supply, CAWST, is one of the main champions of household bio-sand filtration. They offer trainings and have developed quality promotional materials. Their website offers a wealth of information on the bio-sand filter.”.

        References above from website:


      2. You’re welcome. While the concept is simple and cheap now, post-collapse you’d have to source the materials to make up the device. Regarding sand,pea gravel, and pebbles or gravel, I’d recommend baking those substances, then letting the natural microbiology colonies form. Because there might have been local debris from animal or fish carcasses in the region, then it could be precontaminated.

        Likewise the sand needs to be from a fresh water source, or washed a lot to remove it from the building materials.

        Such devices could save a lot of people post-collapse, and would make excellent trade items.

  9. I live in a small town in northern Wyoming. The emergency management officer here told me that our town gets its water from a well. It is gravity fed and doesn’t need treatment. He claimed that we get our water automatically and nothing needs to be done to keep it flowing or to treat it. I am 6 blocks away from the Big Horn River and have a Berkley filter, so I should be ok. However, I don’t know about the sewage system. I suppose that would be a bigger problem.

    Bigger problems yet are the possibility of flood if the Boyson Dam fails — 90 miles to the south of me. Another bigger problem is the cold. It has not gotten above 0 for the last two days. -20 for the last several nights and it is only December. I have a 30,000 btu vented wall heater in my living room that heats by radiant heat. The starter and thermostat are also non-electric. It will heat the main parts of my house for a few weeks until the natural gas pressure runs out. We had a power outage two nights ago that lasted for 5 hours while the temp was 20 below. I closed off the bedrooms and stayed toasty warm. But after the power came back I opened the bedroom doors and it was very cold in there. Same with my basement, though not as bad.

  10. always have backups to your backups
    you can’t depend on government to keep the water flowing
    after the last big hurricane here
    a neighboring county lost water
    the power went out
    and the backup generators kicked in
    and then proceeded to fail one by one

  11. If you plan on melting snow on a stove understand that if the flame is to high you can scorch the snow giving it a bad taste. Yes you can burn water lol.

    1. Agreed. I think if folks are considering snowmelt, they should do some checking on the backpacking or bushcraft forums, for many of these issues have been empirically tested in diverse places.

      What many folks thing is that snowmelt doesn’t have to purified…which is incorrect. Our atmosphere caries aloft all manner of not only spores but also algae. Backpackers in mountainous regions often report a reddish tinge to their snowmelt, and that’s often caused by algae in the snow…believe it or not…and not healthy to drink.

      One manner of melting the snow is the compaction method. You take something like a pillow case and compress the snow, bring it into a room, then it slowly melts and drips, and then this is caught in a pan.

      However if you do that in fact, I think you’ll discover how little it produces versus the body’s needs. While noncompacted snow can vary from 6-7 inches = 1 inch of water …to up to a foot based upon the snow conditions and elevation, then when you compact it into your pillow case, you remove the air from it. This eliminates much of the snow’s insulation effects and also results in more ice. That melts easier believe it or not.

      Compressed snow will often give you a 1:3 ratio of water, but if compressed into a pot and heated, yes it will scorch and the upper half won’t melt as quickly. Thus you would be wasting a lot of fuel for a mundance but essential reason. We have to be smarter than this to conserve fuel and avoid dehydration and unnecessary work during malnutrion and starvation.

      During Winter, tribes starved and relied upon provisions that couldn’t be replaced until far later, with the exception of maple syrup. As such, folks got weakened by routinely having less blood sugar, loss of weight, muscle wasting, weakness, depressed immune systems, etc. One doesn’t waste their strength and calories under collapse conditions to do unnecessary work.

      1. The phenomena of the reddish tint to snowmelt is called watermelon snow. The algae is actually green it just has a red pigment within it. If you live in a region where that happens, then you might be able to find out how backpackers deal with that on a regular basis when Winter camping.

  12. Oregon deep freeze lessons..

    We don’t stay below freezing for days on end here western Oregon, so I was excited for a week of bad weather to lightly test the preps.

    Tooting my horn a bit..I was smart enough to top off all my propane tanks. Gas station friend (get one for bad times!) said people have been running all over the place to find an unfrozen propane fill site..I said glad I visited last week when I watched the forecast.!
    I went back and forth on dumping my rain barrels. 45 gallons takes a long time to freeze and I wanted to keep that last resort water supply…

    And they froze solid and blew out the top of one.

    In a “bad” situation where I thought we would stay frozen for weeks or months, I can’t think of a better pour in place, bollard! Thinking back to WWII the russians should have just gone bonkers with pour in place ice barrels. Tanks would high center all day long.

    I can still bring the ice in to thaw near the stove for water..So preps are not for not.

    I am burning all the odd-shaped wood now. On my wood pile I make a “neat” wood stacked row/box and throw all my weird shaped wood in the middle. The culls of firewood if you will. If it burns and fits in the stove, it is free heat! As long as there is no issue with my leggo-level stackers I will burn all the weird shaped ones first. Leaves me the opportunity to sell the perfect logs while heating the house for free.

    That may sound weird but odd-shaped wood won’t sell. BTU production is higher though.. knots are my friend. If you are buying a splitter, buy as big as you can (Tonnage wise) to be able to say yes to any wood.

    just my 2 cents hit me back with other ideas…

  13. In my location here in Florida, we’re on a septic system. i try and keep it pumped out every twenty months or so because it will last about three years between pump-outs,, meaning sewage isn’t an immediate problem. Water is available everywhere around here but will need serious filtering.

    We keep a Big Berkey for final filtration, and I have two bags of diatomaceous earth that I will use as a layer in my 5-gallon bucket pre-filter. I hope I never have to use that system. We have a shallow well that I can use for washing and laundry but I probably wouldn’t drink it. We shot a well down to the bottom of a sand layer and while the water smells pretty good, it had relatively high bacteria counts. I’m sure we could treat and filter it, but I’ll stick to rainwater whenever I can and only use that well for emergencies. It’s kind of nice that it has a decent natural head to it, but scary that I am in such close proximity to other folks septic systems.

    1. Is there a reason that you’re using diatomaceous earth as a prefilter? This isn’t a criticism, just not understanding what you hope to accomplish. Because diatomaceous earth is very important to manage insect pests in the garden, as well as help with worm and flea problems (if food grade), then I think I’d hang on to that as it can’t easily be replaced under collapse conditions. Diatomaceous earth is harvested in special areas in which there are large deposits of the diatoms, so unless that’s locally harvested, then I would do that.

      Instead, why not consider a biosand filter? I think that’s way cheaper and proven tech.

      Quite a few people will probably end up making real charcoal for any number of reasons (blacksmithing, weaponry) like water purification. Because water can have an off taste, a final filtration with charcoal will dramatically improve it.

      1. The diatomaceous earth will act as a sort of microbial assassin. We have lots of water, but it’s lake water. Down here in Florida the water isn’t like a lot of lakes up north that are fairly clear. There is a lot of organic stuff in the water we need to kill/get out and the DT earth does that. The Big Berkey fixes the rest.

        1. Yeah, that’s a way of pretreating worm cysts and amebic dyssentery. I gotcha. Look up the biosand filtration method. That’s used all over the world for about $50 for the materials or less. That’s placed near the well site, and drawn water if filtered through that. It catched 95% of pathogens and renders the water safe.

          Post-collapse, if you’re organizing the survivors, then that’s the most likely way to deal with it. You sure wouldn’t want anyone to know you have a Berkey.

          It’s not as good as the Berkey, but you might want to save the filter.

  14. I don’t see “masses of people leaving the city in search of water”. Most likely they will use the contaminated sources that are in or near the city already. Pools, creeks, ditches and shallow wells will all be sources they’ll turn to. Very few will think that there’s more water in the country unless there happens to be a lake in the area.

  15. I think a lot of people are missing a HUGE point in this article. Once the water stops there is no way to flush your toilet thus where will MILLIONS living in cities go to the toilet? The cities will become bacteria ridden in days and life threatening within weeks. Our history shows that once a contamination starts the sick will quickly spread infection and disease will spread like wildfire. Then there is the very real fact of no water to drink and thus the dogs will come out looking for water. If you think filling your tub will be enough your sadly mistaken. Any kind of long term water shortage will be catastrophic to everyone ESPICALLY those living in cities. You must have a way to procure water and have adequate means of purifying that water or your history. A lot have people have given there advise on this subject so I wont take a long time in arguing points. If you have no clear way to adequately procure water I suggest you start looking into it as it WILL save your life and without it your dead.

    1. Agreed. Since 80% of Americans live in the urban regions, and since they could easily lose the ability to provide clean water to them (say an economic collapse) by merely being unable to provide chlorine, then a huge number of people could die.

      Water purification was the number one improvement in public health. Naturally this would most affect urban areas and spread bacterial infections. You’d also have things like dyssentary. Then all of the other diseases that have water as a vector for transmission.

      But if things were worse and there is no city water pressure, then you have dehydration in three days and deaths.

      There are lots of conversations about what would happen with so many people dying in urban areas and not being buried and what would result from that. Truly, these areas would be dead zones with rodents, insects, and disease.

      Then of course the immense sanitation issues in a very short amount of time.

      All of that comes into play in the zombie horde model, for those folks might try to get out of the cities in search of basic things like water and then carry over the issues by overwhelming the more rural zones in their exodus to safer zones.

      But then, since most Americans are in that boat, this is why I cannot see how they will survive. It’s tough enough from a long term standpoint to consider rural life without transported goods, and we can raise a lot of our needs locally. What in the world would the large populations do in these areas who are totally dependent upon transportation for everything?

      1. If there is a mass exodus from large cities, many will already be weakened and be victimized along the way.

        1. Agreed. Imagine an exodus from the East Coast. The folks leaving from their urban center run out of gas as they travel (for they never took into account the traffic jams limiting how far they could travel plus all of the detours). They run out of gas on the outskirts of another urban center. It will be sheer insanity.

          Now in a new and unfamiliar zone without a base of operations and carrying heavy items, most likely luggage and not backpacks, and minus standard camping equipment, they must then barter for food, water, and supplies. It will be nightmarish, something right out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting.

          An endless wave of refugees seeing to find a safe zone with little government mitigation, for if we have something like an economic collapse, a pandemic, and EMP, etc then it affects everyone.

          They will drink unfiltered iffy water along the way, innoculating themselves with bacteria, viruses, amoebic dyssentery, worms, etc. All those people trying to find deadwood to burn, some shelter to stay in, etc.

          How will that pan out? There will lots of fistfights over the most basic things.

          Meanwhile the smaller urban areas, cities, and towns will be mobilizing their local law enforcement to try to divert the influx of refugees. They sure don’t want them using up what little water resources they have. Water isn’t free, it costs the cities something to produce, but is essential to the inhabitants. Thus this idea of relatively free water will go away.

          And if the weather is bad or cold, multiply the conditions x ten or worse. Then you have people dying of exposure.

    2. To jog folks memory, do an Internet search for bottled water NOT being available for delivery to the Hurricane Sandy zones. FEMA doesn’t have bottled water in a warehouse somewhere, but rather has to place bids for the water, then must ship it wherever it’s needed. That created a terrible lag, and only because several water bottling companies donating water was there water for the folks impacted.

      Now multiply that by a large disaster leading up to a collapse. It would be a monsterous problem. There isn’t a source that could be simultaneously dispatched.

      There are a lot of lessons in disaster mitigation to be learned from that hurricane.

  16. There are three little known ways that I know of to harvest water, and lots of variations on that theme.

    Perhaps you’ve considered the way that a dehumidifier works to pull excess humidity from the air, but at a cost in terms of energy.

    Then there are variations called fog harvesting. These are passive systems that are utilized to wick out the moisture and produce a practical amount of water per day.

    Then there is the seawater condensation method. If one lives near a coastal region or near a body of water, that thermal mass usually is much colder than the air temperature due to its depth. It takes a long time to reach an equilibium with the air, but to do so means a very long period of warm weather, and often Southern latitudes. Because in Northern lattitudes, the weather turns cold faster, then the deep water doesn’t reach equilibrium with the air temperature in Spring and Summer, so it is always colder.

    OK, let’s say you live in Maine. You have to be a polar bear in summer to swim in the ocean, for it is much colder than say a river in Alabama. If one runs a pipe of that water into the air, then the change in the temperature results in condensation forming on the surface of the pipe. That condensation is water vapor that is in the air as humidity. The more humid the air, and the colder the water is in reference to the air temperature, then the MORE WATER can be collected. This method has been successfully done in China to provide the drinking water for local schoolchildren.

    There’s no reason that a bright person couldn’t build a similar low tech system in America, but only if they had access to a body of water deep enough to stay cold in Summers, and then operate when it is more humid.

    Fog harvesting usually works better in mountainous regions when there are perpetually fogs coming in, a type of ecosystem called a cloud forest in Costa Rica. The humidity catches upon a fine billowy mesh and that traps the water particles and the condensation then is wicked into a reservoir.

    The military has purchased some atmospheric water generators. They must always have water, but must generally truck it in or purify it from local sources. This method extracts the water from the air similar to the principles of dehumidifiers. Here’s a link to show how that works:

    The cost is 40cents per gallon. This isn’t a commercial endorsement, just demonstrating the theoretical feasibility of them.

    Of course these devices cost money, supplies, and the knowhow to build them. There are any number of free plans for practical applications being done by government aid workers and NGOs in 3rd world countries. I urge you all to consider these part of your preps, for they might offer a significant source of water.

    There is no free ride. If you collect the humidity, then you’re reducing the amount of water that condensing post-twilight and pre-sunrise upon the local plants. Thus you’re inevitably affecting the moisture levels that won’t be deposited due to collection.

    The most practical one is the ocean condensation one, for they have a major issue with desalinization otherwise unless there are local bodies of fresh water and access to it.

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