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).