Preparing for a Clean Water Shortage After a Disaster

Fluid pouring into pint glass

Clean water is a valuable commodity yet something we take for granted. For most people, water is a faucet away. But our expectations of a constant source of clean water could be shattered by a small-scale event, such as contaminated municipal water, or a larger disaster, such as a hurricane. The clean water we rely on to drink, cook with, and clean with suddenly disappears.

The coronavirus pandemic gave the world a small glimpse of what could go wrong if there is a water shortage. People were stockpiling bottled water in fear the COVID-19 outbreak could get worse. Many individuals were unable to find and purchase water. The stockpiling was unnecessary, but it left many wondering what could go wrong if there was an actual water crisis.

In light of the situation, it would be prudent to have an emergency contingency plan that includes access to clean water without the need to rely on supermarkets or government help. 

What’s in Clean Water?

The human body needs water to carry out many of its essential functions — it can only survive without water for about three days. One of the reasons you should think twice about relying on municipal tap water is because of what your local government puts in it. 

Fluoride is a controversial component that is added to water for its health benefits. Many believe fluoride can help prevent tooth decay, but at what cost? A recent study has opened up the fluoride debate again. Expectant mothers with higher fluoride exposure during pregnancy had kids with a lower IQ level.

Besides fluoride, municipalities often add disinfecting agents to the water supply. Some of the more common chemicals added to purify water are:

  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Chloramine


Although most organizations claim that disinfecting chemicals have no effect on humans, chlorine and chloramine are lethal to fish and other aquatics may cause rashes in some people, and could endanger patients undergoing kidney dialysis. 

Having a clean and pure water source is crucial when treating people in an emergency or for those who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as those undergoing kidney dialysis, or taking medications such as Entyvio for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease. Certain medications and treatments call for more water intake to combat dehydration. If the water source isn’t pure, the person is increasing the number of chemicals and toxins they’re ingesting, thus counteracting their treatment. 

The Case for Finding an Independent Water Source

For most of the world, the global water crisis is due to a shortage of water. Data science reveals that 10% of the world’s population lacks access to drinking water. But another water crisis is underfoot — water contamination. In the U.S. alone, there have been a couple of recent events raising alarms about the quality of our water supply:

Flint, Michigan

The residents of Flint insisted for years that their water was making them sick. Kids, specifically, had up to three times the blood lead levels of other communities. A coalition of citizens and groups sued the city in 2016, and a federal judge finally sided with residents to recognize the source of the lead poisoning was the municipal water supply.


The overuse of water in the state has led to the ground sinking as more groundwater is drawn deep from under the earth. The sinking ground then pushes contaminants such as arsenic into the water supply. Nearly 500 community water systems in California are classified as high risk because of the levels of contaminants in the water systems. 

Ways You Can Ensure Access to Clean Water

Now that you have a better idea of the potential dangers in your tap water and the uncertainty of the drinking supply, there are steps you can take to independently source your own clean water. It will safeguard you and your family’s health and help you survive a water shortage during an emergency. Ways you can ensure access to clean water include:


  • Knowing how to disinfect water by several methods, including boiling or using iodine tablets.
  • Turning to your water heater’s supply, which could be between 30 and 60 gallons of clean drinking water, in case of an emergency. You just have to drain it off properly and make sure you sanitize it.
  • Investing in a system like the MINI Water Filtration System by Sawyer. It’s compact enough to travel with you everywhere and has a 100,000-gallon filter lifespan.
  • Having a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for all household members. The pocket-size filter removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites.
  • Maintaining a long-term supply of water in a safe place to help you weather a water shortage.

Preparation Is the Answer

Being prepared for an emergency or disaster may be what ensures you and your loved ones survive the unforeseen event. The last thing you want to worry about in a crisis is having to source valuable supplies with other panicked individuals. Fortunately, it’s simple to ensure that your water supply is clean and safe with a small investment of time and money.


Image Source: Pexels

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