How dependant are we on the grid to get our drinking water?

Poppy

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I don't want to get into the political situation in Israel and the Gaza strip, but I think that some water pipelines have been opened to allow water to flow into the strip, but they don't have electricity to pump it.

I feel confident that we, where we live, will always have a water supply, except in the case of an earthquake that disrupts water lines. Perhaps I'm nieve, and much of my water supply is dependant upon pumping.

I am content to think that there are freshwater rivers, and lakes nearby that I could use to get filtered water, and or boiled water. But boy, oh boy, that would be an inconvenience.

If the water supply was cut off from your house, how would you deal with that?
 

Poppy

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Cut off for what length of time? A day? Two days? A week, month, longer?
Oh I guess a week or two.
Certainly it depends upon how wide a path there is that was cut off.

I also wonder, if there was a major power outage, would the utilities be able to supply us with water? Does the system depend upon electricity to maintain water pressure?
How does it go uphill?
 

bykfixer

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In my community electric pumps fill the storage tanks called water towers. Gravity feeds the pipes from there by using the head pressure of the weight of a million gallons 200 feet above the ground. About a decade ago they removed one that held a million gallons because it was built to supply a portion of the system. A larger, taller tank made it obsolete.

In a neighboring community a series of pumps send water from a resevior. Trouble is the resevior is shrinking. Sediment from upstream is reducing capacity. Couple that with "more straws" sucking water from the resevior due to development and influx of people. Enviornmental regs disallow removal of the sediment.

When I was a lad one of those tanks could supply the community for a week or two. Now, a day or two. When Isabell hit and we had wide spread power outages the community put in place voluntary water restrictions the next day.

I'd say my community is pretty typical for America these days. We are VERY dependent on the grid for our water. Yikes!!
 

orbital

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...

If the water supply was cut off from your house, how would you deal with that?
+

You have to get creative, filling the tank on your toilet becomes a priority in ones life.
As you know, I was without a well of the last half of the summer = not a typo.
Honestly, the hard part was thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong w/ putting in my new well on my property.
..didn't have alot of options, check that, one option for several things & those had to go perfect..............

Aged me a bit
 

Megalamuffin

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I drink at least 1/2 to 1 gallon of water a day. There's always a some 1 gallon jugs around, so if I had to ration I could probably get by a week or week and a half. I also have one of those lifestraws and could take a short walk down to the creek and get water that way, or draw it, take it back home and boil it.

Extended periods of time would obviously be a problem, but for a short term disaster I wouldn't be worried about sourcing clean water.
 

LEDphile

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In my community electric pumps fill the storage tanks called water towers. Gravity feeds the pipes from there by using the head pressure of the weight of a million gallons 200 feet above the ground. About a decade ago they removed one that held a million gallons because it was built to supply a portion of the system. A larger, taller tank made it obsolete.

<snip>

I'd say my community is pretty typical for America these days. We are VERY dependent on the grid for our water. Yikes!!

The "pump water into elevated and/or pressurized storage" approach is the standard approach for water distribution these days (for everything from a single small well up to large-scale municipal systems), and has been for a long time. This is for the simple reason that water consumption is variable, pumps operate best at a fixed rate, and the storage smooths out the variation. It has the additional advantage of being tolerant of temporary outages of the pumps (useful for maintenance).

Generally, the pumps are backed with generators in case utility power fails, and the storage will handle things for hours to days (depending on the design of the system).
 

IMA SOL MAN

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My community had a water outage some time ago. The city had truckloads of bottled water brought in and dumped it at a particular public location. I believe it was rationed, don't recall the particulars now. I'm sure delivery was given to shut-ins, etc. Took about two weeks to get water back. My property is high, so I was one of the last to get service.

No power outage, Darwin award candidate cluster, system got FUBAR. Had to order special electrical parts, wait for delivery then installation, then the towers to fill, then fill the pipelines. Thankfully, I had some water already stored. We never ran dry, as I recall, but it was close.

ETA: That reminds me, I need to refill my water Jerry cans and restock the bottled water. Goal for the week!
 
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idleprocess

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I could manage a few weeks without utilities.

I also wonder, if there was a major power outage, would the utilities be able to supply us with water? Does the system depend upon electricity to maintain water pressure?
Distributing drinking water takes significant amounts of power - I recall reading that it's routinely the largest municipal use of power. So much of this power is wasted that recapturing the energy via inline turbines is being experimented with in lieu of conventional pressure-reducing valves.

On the local distribution side there seems to be decent resiliency. The water towers in my region commonly have a big standby generators to run pumps in case of power loss. I gather treatment plants have backup power and also reasonably deep inventory of spare parts and consumables (i.e. chlorine or other treatment chemicals). How long these systems can run in isolation is uncertain; planning for a two week outage for critical industrial production is a common standard (I worked in a building that ran on generator power in 2011 for about that long, however I believe the diesel tanks were topped off at least once during that interval).

The wastewater side ... I don't know. Given that there's apt to be similar excitement should sanitary sewers back up I imagine there's some resiliency there as well. My city's water treatment facility is ~1.5 miles from the wastewater facility so no shared infrastructure.
 

LuxLuthor

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It is a real problem. I would never live in an area that has a climate related/overpopulation significant shortage of water for that reason. It is the most essential ingredient for human life (assuming air is OK). I fill the bathtubs if a bad storm is coming. Used to have an inground pool which would have been handy if needed. Have a Big Berkey water purifier and chlorine for sanitation if needed. Also keep a dozen of those 5 gallon spring water jugs in rotation. Use about 5-6/month for two of us.
 

kaichu dento

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I fill the bathtubs if a bad storm is coming.
Forgot all about that one, but will start doing it in the future. All I've done so far over the years has been to have several stashes of water placed about wherever there was space for them, and encouraging friends to at very least have a couple jugs of water, if not more. Better to at least have a couple gallons than none, and if they can benefit from it even once, they'll probably start adding more to their back supply.
Have a Big Berkey water purifier and chlorine for sanitation if needed.
I know I could probably just look it up, but could you tell us here in the thread a bit more about this type of setup?
 

LuxLuthor

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Forgot all about that one, but will start doing it in the future. All I've done so far over the years has been to have several stashes of water placed about wherever there was space for them, and encouraging friends to at very least have a couple jugs of water, if not more. Better to at least have a couple gallons than none, and if they can benefit from it even once, they'll probably start adding more to their back supply.

I know I could probably just look it up, but could you tell us here in the thread a bit more about this type of setup?

It's a simple gravity fed system that filters out almost everything you would ever need to worry about. I had a 3M reverse osmosis system in Connecticut but that only works if you have water pressure driving it. Berkey is very highly regarded by survivalist. They say their 2 included filters will last for 6,000 gallons or 11 years of water filtering. Can be used for city, untreated streams, ponds, lakes.

 
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kaichu dento

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It's a simple gravity fed system that filters out almost everything you would ever need to worry about. Berkey is very highly regarded by survivalists. They say their 2 included filters will last for 6,000 gallons or 11 years of water filtering. Can be used for city, untreated streams, ponds, lakes.
Thanks for the introduction and it looks like I'll be getting the slightly more compact Travel Berkey, with a stainless visual level check spigot. Always thought I should get something like this, but simply hadn't liked the ones I'd seen till now.
 

TPA

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In my area, water towers are considered relics and they've been aggressively removing them over the past couple of decades in favor of variable speed pumps. I think this is foolish, as once water's in the tower, it's all on gravity to do the rest of the work. Sure, it takes electric pumps to get the water up there, but it gives you a buffer in case something happens.

It really depends where you're living. Even in a single state it varies. The City of Tampa has had multiple water outages over the years. Further south, Lee County hasn't...until Cat 5 Hurricane Ian showed up last year. They'd weathered a few Cat 4s over the decades without a problem..but a Cat 5 is a different animal. The storm surge scraped 1,000+ buildings right off the map, and broke many thousands more, leaving the city plumbing behind and gushing at full volume, dropping systemwide pressure. They're very good, but it still took weeks before they gave the A-OK to drink tap water again.

Careful on the Berkey water filters. Do some research and see actual 3rd party tests on them. There's a reason Berkey doesn't get their filters certified. Here's a guy who did some tests on multiple filters with no agenda on any of them:

I personally travel with a Sawyer filter and a collapsible kettle. Makes good coffee / tea. At home I have a distiller, although I don't use it all that often. Came in handy after the hurricane though. And there's something rewarding about dumping the sludge from the distiller.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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Wow. That video sure is an eye-opener, at least for me. I was thinking about getting a Berkey, but now instead I'm going for the Zerowater, better results and a lot cheaper.

As I heard a long time ago, "You either have a water filter, or you ARE the water filter." How true.
 

TPA

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The same is true with food. You can either pay your grocer or pay your doctor. Do I go all organic and buy everything from Whole Paycheck(Foods)? Absolutely not. But I do try to buy from small local growers when I can. We don't have pig farms and CAFOs in my part of Florida. I also avoid pre-packaged foods as much as possible. Especially pre-packaged produce.

You learn all sorts of fun (read: disgusting) things in an Industrial Microbiology class.
 

LuxLuthor

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Wow. That video sure is an eye-opener, at least for me. I was thinking about getting a Berkey, but now instead I'm going for the Zerowater, better results and a lot cheaper.

As I heard a long time ago, "You either have a water filter, or you ARE the water filter." How true.
I only have the Berkey as a standby system in case of a disaster. It's still in the box, but none of the water filtration/purification systems are perfect.

My everyday setup here in Mississippi is using 5 gallon quality spring water jugs. Luckily I can afford them, but many have a hard time justifying that cost.

There are many aspects to water testing that are not addressed in that video that to his credit did quickly go through a wide array of filters. TDS is of the least concern for water purification, and Zero Water is well known to be one of the least effective water filtration systems--which immediately had me realize his credibility and understanding in this video is flawed.

From: https://bottledwater.org/nr/ibwa-fi...se-and-misleading-claims-about-bottled-water/

Zero Water claims that its products "remove 100% of detectable dissolved solids" and falsely suggests that the absence of all total dissolved solids (TDS) creates a healthier, cleaner, tastier water. In its lawsuit, IBWA points out that TDS is not an indicator of water quality or contamination, as Zero Water insinuates. Rather it is an innocuous collection of minerals commonly found in water. According to IBWA President Joe Doss, "Total Dissolved Solids mainly affect the taste of water and have not been shown to produce adverse physical health effects. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that certain concentrations of TDS may even have beneficial health effects."

Contrary to their advertising claims, Zero Water filters do not remove all impurities or contaminants from water. Furthermore, Zero Water filters only remove certain organic contaminants for a short period of time before its low-capacity carbon filter is exhausted.

Zero Water's ads make repeated references to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FDA definitions for purified water that mislead the consuming public into thinking that Zero Water and its products have been tested, regulated, or approved by the FDA. However, Zero Water's products are not regulated by the FDA and there is no evidence to suggest that Zero Water's products have been tested to determine whether they "meet the FDA definition for purified bottled water" as stated in Zero Water's ads. Rather, water filtration systems such as Zero Water's are for the most part unregulated. This leaves consumers particularly vulnerable to claims like the ones made by Zero Water: unsubstantiated, false, or misleading statements about the safety, health benefits, and taste qualities of water treated by at-home water filtration systems.

 

idleprocess

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In my area, water towers are considered relics and they've been aggressively removing them over the past couple of decades in favor of variable speed pumps. I think this is foolish, as once water's in the tower, it's all on gravity to do the rest of the work. Sure, it takes electric pumps to get the water up there, but it gives you a buffer in case something happens.
I gather this is becoming commonplace. Presumably the upfront capital for a variable pump is less than a fixed pump + tower, at the price of needing to be sized for peak rather than average demand. Such a topology does demand constant power and has zero margin for failure - that pump fails you need to replace it immediately.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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I only have the Berkey as a standby system in case of a disaster. It's still in the box, but none of the water filtration/purification systems are perfect.

My everyday setup here in Mississippi is using 5 gallon quality spring water jugs. Luckily I can afford them, but many have a hard time justifying that cost.

There are many aspects to water testing that are not addressed in that video that to his credit did quickly go through a wide array of filters. TDS is of the least concern for water purification, and Zero Water is well known to be one of the least effective water filtration systems--which immediately had me realize his credibility and understanding in this video is flawed.

From: https://bottledwater.org/nr/ibwa-fi...se-and-misleading-claims-about-bottled-water/



As mentioned earlier, I think in this thread , I used to use PUR faucet-mounted filters while the kids were growing up. Took it off for some reason, maybe the gasket leaked, I don't really remember, and just never got one back on. Went with PUR because it was NSF approved, and the filter specs on the PUR paper work looked good. And as I mentioned, I was thinking of getting the Berkey. I still may, then, because of your post. Unsure whether to get the clear plastic ones, or the metal ones. Any insight?
 

LuxLuthor

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As mentioned earlier, I think in this thread , I used to use PUR faucet-mounted filters while the kids were growing up. Took it off for some reason, maybe the gasket leaked, I don't really remember, and just never got one back on. Went with PUR because it was NSF approved, and the filter specs on the PUR paper work looked good. And as I mentioned, I was thinking of getting the Berkey. I still may, then, because of your post. Unsure whether to get the clear plastic ones, or the metal ones. Any insight?

I think the metal is sturdier, but its really personal preference.
 
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