Monday, June 9, 2014

Pondering Water Shortages


       I remember, almost as if it were yesterday, attending grade school in the US.  Each Monday, we all received something called a "weekly reader".  It was a few pages of news that the publisher thought might be of interest to American children.  It was designed, I think, to give all of us an appetite for a newspaper in the years to come.  In some classes, different children would be asked to read the articles aloud, thus improving the reading skills and vocabulary of us all.   I still remember specific articles and predictions made by people who wrote for the weekly reader.  Many times, the articles told us about innovations being developed, particularly in the United States.  Then, the writer of that particular article would predict how soon it would be before such innovations made it to our own use.  I can remember being seven, eight and nine, and believing every word of the weekly reader !  Of course, they did not foresee the internet per se, debit cards, or cell phones, although they did discuss a telephone with a screen, I suppose an early vision of what might now be described as Skype-like.    I remember reading in one of their articles that there would be no traffic jams by 1984.  "What a relief" I thought.  Saturdays before Christmas were already pretty crowded in the town which housed our county seat. The article said that by 1984 we would all have cars that would work like hovercraft. These clean vehicles would be able to carefully fly over other vehicles when traffic jams occurred.  I had some questions about how you might signal for something like that, but I learned pretty early that you don't ask too many questions of your teacher who might not be any sharper than the person who writes the weekly reader.    There was one article in the weekly reader that has proven to be fairly accurate.  The article spoke of water being in short supply in the future, and that the shortage of clean water could lead to illness and death.   It seems that even on the planet with oceans on 70% of it, that only a few percent of the water is clean enough to drink at any one time.  Sadly, a lot of nations on Earth are in places with poor access to any water at all.  The weekly reader concluded that in the future, wars would be fought over water shortages.  I don't think the writers of the weekly reader expected any of us to remember what they said.  Many of the articles were either inaccurate, written with a progressive or highly liberal agenda or they had a less than accurate or overly simplistic conservation message.

             It's taken forty years but one of the articles in the weekly reader has finally made a prediction that it appears will be fairly accurate.  Weekly Reader..........One.   It seems that a number of newspapers and magazines are writing stories in which they cite droughts in the Middle East, California, Africa, Brazil, Egypt and others.  The news sources believe that water stress will be a cause for civil unrest, violence and ultimately war.   In some places, they cite, drinkable water is already more expensive than oil.

            The US is certainly not immune.  In Colorado, for example, it is illegal to collect the water from your roof into gutters and downspouts and use it for any purpose on your home/farm.      The government there needs every drop of rain to return and recharge the underground aquifer, and so they can sell farmers water shares.

          As a person with an interest in preparedness, it makes sense to do whatever you can now to secure clean and abundant water.    This might mean moving.  it might mean drilling a supplemental well.  It might mean the addition of a hand operated water pump in a secret location on your property.  It might involve having your well tested for pathogens or contaminants.  It might involve buying a British Berkefeld  (Big Berkey) now.  It might involve having a reverse osmosis water filtration system installed in your home.  It could be that you may need to consider the installation of a solar assisted water pump.   Whatever it is, please give access to clean water some thought at both your primary residence and your beta site, if you have one.   Water is the most essential element we need for survival, and even the staff of the weekly reader knew this !

Links that relate to this subject

Prior Rational Preparedness posts which relate to water preparedness:



Rob said...

We are overstocked in the water department this year in MN. Our city raised their water/sewer rates to all most double. I bet not one person showed up to council meetings to object. I have a few gallons stored but nowhere as much as we will ever need. Lack of storage space.

Tewshooz said...

Oh yes, the Weekly Reader! Had forgotten all about it. Even if one drills another well, it would probably be taken over at one point. We bought a Berkey Filter years ago....the water in our town is so bad that most buy bottled water or have water delivered. The Berkey worked will filter ditch water, even. Now we have great water where we live, but always have the Berkey handy. It is part of our survival gear. You know, wars have been fought over water for hundreds of years. He who controls the water controls the people. No wonder the EPA wants control of all the water in the USA.

BBC said...

I've been talking about water wars for over ten years. There is plenty of it where I live but that is going to change in twenty years. Because others will want it.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, as populations increase or shift water needs will change.

JaneofVirginia said...

The level of disconnect between much of the public and local governments is astounding. When I had public utilities, I stayed in touch. If the bill increased, we spoke to one another !

JaneofVirginia said...

You are absolutely right. My great grandparents owned a 9600 acre ranch in Northern California on which they raised cattle. It sounds like a lot of land, but water was so scarce that they were perennially moving cattle back and forth riding on horses among all those rattlesnakes. Their worst fears were not being thrown from a hot and tired horse, but water disputes with a neighbor which would make their operation even more difficult.

JaneofVirginia said...

This reader is unable to comment directly to this blog, and so she sent her comment to me.
I am posted it on her behalf.

Practical Parsimony

11:13 PM (9 hours ago)

to me
Once again, I forgot I could not comment on your blog. UGH! So, here is what I wrote. You can publish it or not. The name of my publication was My Weekly Reader.

I often think about the My Weekly Reader and different articles! I am quite a bit older than you, but I remember water being discussed. I was already hooked on reading the newspaper by the time I was four even though I could not read yet. My mother read it for the four of us little ones. I was the oldest and started reading to the younger three.

Yes, we do have a water shortage, especially when people turn the desert into an oasis and think they are due to keep living that lifestyle at the expense of others. Then, the forests are destroyed to satisfy our "needs." The people who live and use the forests can just suffer to satisfy corporate greed. Mix greed and population increase with a mix of increasingly unpredictable weather changes and drought, and we are all in trouble.

My town has its own large lake for a water supply. Plus, I suppose the resort lake could be used....if it continues to fill. I am just west of the GA/TN water fight. Often I wonder if some day we will be involved in that.

We were supposed to read just one article of the My Weekly Reader as the teacher assigned it. I could read so fast that I read more than one article in the allotted time. I am sure the teacher must have seen me, but I was such a good child that I was never directly chastised. I think that we could take it home after we read it and discussed it for several days in class. I think sometimes we just took it home instead of using it in class.

In My Weekly Reader I saw an aerial view of the first cloverleaf in the US and thought it was marvelous. Actually, at that age I had never seen an interstate to my knowledge. I begged to find a cloverleaf. I must have made my parents crazy with begging to see one.

JaneofVirginia said...

I am glad that I am not the only one who recalls the Weekly Reader. It seems we both derived some lasting ideas and entertainment from it. I agree that water use and conservation were recurring themes in their articles.
Thanks for commenting.

lotta joy said...

I have been the butt of internet jokes by a few people for mentioning our pool as a future source of drinking water. It makes me smile, for when we first moved to this area, I wanted to have the pool filled with dirt and made into a garden. The pool is enclosed by an enormous pool cage. This would keep insects and varmints from our plants and would be quite the wonderful option.

But since we can't have it both ways, I've at least eliminated one horror. With my my Berkey, we'll have water to drink, cook with, and wash the grime from our faces. Plus, when it rains, it will refill to a certain extent.

In your opinion, isn't that the better way to go of the two options? After all, we can't wash our faces with green beans or drink potatoes. We value your opinions on EVERYTHING.

To my hero with love, Dana

JaneofVirginia said...

I think having a pool with clean water that could easily be filtered through a Berkey for drinking is actually an excellent idea. I did give some thought to having a pool put in here but distant neighbors who have pools have often awoken to see bear cubs or yearling males playing in the pool. I think I would be simply thrilled that your pool was "inherited" when you bought the home.
As for growing food, an awful lot can be grown in containers on a deck or porch. This year, rather than hanging baskets of flowers, we have hung baskets of strawberries, varietal lettuces, Swiss chard, etc. I am actually surprised at not only how ornamentally attractive growing food can be, but also at the yield.
Thanks for your loyalty to the blog and your kind words !

kymber said...

Jane and Tewshooz - we bought our first Berkey about 9 years ago and then saved for another. i tested it in all of the ways that the Berkey site recommended - i put water with food colouring in it - and out came pure, clear water, i then tried the wet mud method - it took a while but out came pure, clear water. i recommend everyone invest in a lifetime's supply of berkey filters - then make your own "berkey" out of 5 gallon, food-grade buckets. we use 4 filters in the top 5gallon bucket and that filters our very minerally well water into the second bucket. you don't need to buy the actual Berkeys - you can make your own, and to whatever scale you want. what you need is the filters. the filters, if cleaned regularly will last at least up to 5 years - we have gotten up to 6yrs per filter. water is the most important thing now, and in the future. and, if your state allows it - invest in some good rainbarrels or rain catchment systems.

very good and timely post Jane! your friend,

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for this Kymber. I have one conventional steel Berkey and one we made for the animals (should we ever need an emergency backup for a sick animal or for ourselves) using food grade plastic and Berkey filters. I love the Berkey !
Thanks for posting this !