Is Water what you want? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Is water what you want to drink if Y2k plays out Catastrophically. Let's consider logistics here. Water is the most fundamental need known to all organisms. Plant and animal life depends on it. If there was an extended power outage where water treatment plants could not deliver for an extended period of time, what would we do?

What would you do if you knew in advance we were going to be without water"....based on a prepare for the worst scenario? what would be the outcomes of your specific preparation if worst case scenario came about? Remember, not only do you need water, your pets, garden and potential neighbors who are unprepared (that you have empathy for) will need water as well.

1. If you stored a limited quantity....jugs or 55 gallon drums, just enough to fit your some point it would run out.

2. if you used 55 gallon drums and set your roof gutters (rain catchment)to fill them up during a rain.....your chances would be better than if you had no means to refill the containers....but can you count on the rain when you need it?

3. swimming pools and large storage container(s) that are food grade fiberglass or plastic or concrete.....again, you would be better off if you had rain catchment than not, to refill containers after a good downpour. This would be much more beneficial if everyone did this, however, the world is not perfect. The success would become obvious and attract others (unprepared) who could peer into your back yard.....possibly taking you back closer to steps (1) and (2)

4. Existing near a river or waterway. Can everyone do this? Would there be land ownership issues getting in the way?....The masses would dictate and there would be crowding near and along all water ways but would relieve those who took steps (1),(2) and (3). Can Everyone exist with all 4 steps ...Probably not.....getting enough to drink would be more possible than getting enough to drink and having enough to grow enough food to sustain the population.....Food would need to be near waterways and there would not be enough space to grow next to waterway to fulfill everyones needs (the population). It would require toting water from waterways to garden plots further away. Many would still be left out due to massive population's needs, even if everyone were to cooperate....ha.

5. 1-4 are happening yet there is another choice. This choice can only be made by country or rural dwellers. Water wells cannot be drilled in city due to city codes and restrictions. Those who have hand pumped water wells can get water and if 1-4 were exercised there would be more water available ...especially with rain catchment in tandem. Can the total population survive? It would depend on the amount of rain. This would increase the total populations survival rate

6. As stated before, 1-4 and manually pumped water wells can help increase Total population survival, however, if electricity is out, so are the non-manual electrically pumped water wells. They won't be a part of this hypothesis. Solar panels and D.C. powered water pumps will pump from 500 gallons per day at 600 ft deep to 3,000 gallons a day at a shallow level. Note this scenario: If you remove A.C. water pumps that require the grid and replace them with D.C. water pumps, If there was no electricity, there would be plenty of water...especially if 1-5 steps were exercised. Now if electricity was available and A.C was replaced by D.C. water well pumps, there would be a reduction in water available because A.C. pumps can put out more water than D.C. pumps.......The only alternative would be to drill a secondary water well and have both A.C. and D.C. current running the total water supply. This would end up being the best case scenario for societal survival. Food would be the issue instead of water and food being the issue.

7. Govt. stepping in and allowing water wells to be drilled in inner cities with the installation of Solar powered D.C. water well pumps. The masses would not have to steal as much from neighbors and county-folk and less area along rivers and waterways would be required to sustain gardens. This would be the best-case scenario.....hey it is up to all of us to spread the word and write to your congressman and state this while we still have the luxury before TSHTF. It is up to all of it now!...

thank you.... sincerely, Feller

-- Feller (, April 19, 1999


Feller, thank you. Water is the most significant aspect of Y2K that keeps slipping off the agenda with an off-handed, "Oh, I got my filter already".

This problem is much more complex than a little filtration implies. What if the water doesn't run? If there are pumping problems... say intermitent ones(that's even worse, because you keep thinking it will come back on any hour, day, week now...)

The issues of Water should be divided into a few categories, I think:. Perhaps, some should be: - source issues - purity issues - access issues (includes community vs. individual solutions and - contingency plans, for the spread of water-borne diseases.

I am no longer optomisstic enough to think that political leaders would respond in time to pass new legislation as you suggest in your point #7.

Just a reminder about that recent U.S./Canadian water report that Jim Lord covered that indicated 30 million people will likely be without water. That included metro areas.

I think we still need more water conversations on this board and, more important, in our community meetings.

-- Sara Nealy (, April 19, 1999.

This is why most people are sh- out of luck. There is no way the logistics can be maintained if viaducts or dams are damaged, pumping stations out of order -- or water contaminated (another thread gives that as a Russian or other of U.S. myriads of enemies -- decide to contaminate the supplies (biological/chemical).)

-- A (, April 19, 1999.

I have an on the grid well pump. As you say, to install a solar pump one needs to pull the existing well pump. I am told by my local pump people that, from their experience, the solar pumps last far less than a decade before they must be replaced. I have installed a cut-over on the pump for my generator and have a side-by-side hand pump, but it will only supply minimal water. I have a 500 gal. tank for storage. I am hoping that power will be off and on at worst (barring no problem) and I can store for the off times.

Watering gardens by moving them to riparian areas will be difficult in the arid west. State laws governing surface water use rights are extremely complex and most new uses require a permit. I live in an area that still employs ditch "diversion" and "flood irrigation" on riparian parcels. The water is already considered fully appropriated and most of the rights date back to the late 1800s. Federal Endangered Species considerations for fish are making the mechanics of this type of irrigation extremely difficult. But it is not only in the rural areas. In the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle) regulations for urban areas will be forthcoming shortly to conserve water and curtail urban runoff.

In addition, regulations for non-point source pollution issues such as nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature and sediment are being imposed on a watershed basis. Activities that contribute to the cummulative effects of this will be budgeted (prohibited) to the level of "pristine" conditions under Total Maximum Daily Loads established by State Water Quality Boards and the EPA. TMDLs I have seen established were based on photographic documents from the 1920s. The EPA has already stated that it will enforce the law in the year 2000.

Throughout the west, under the Aquatic Conservation Strategy of Option 9 (FEMA - Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment,) the salmon and steelhead listings and TMDLs, riparian "buffer strips" of little to no activity are being put in place. The Administration has previously targeted riparian "buffers" in its Clean Water Action Plan, Heritage Rivers and other programs. These buffers range from 300 feet to the entire floodplain. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Army Corps, EPA, US Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries is being signed right now to use the various authorities of these different federal agencies to collaboratively enforce these buffers and control riparian use through permitting.

At least in the west, modification of habitat essential to fish habitat (including riparian function, alteration of vegetation, elevation of temperature through field runoff, surface water diversion for irrigation, sediment through timber cutting or cultivation, nutrient contribution through livestock raising) can be prohibited as a "take" of endangered fish.

I hope that the bureaucracy will bend their rules if y2k effects are severe, but I don't see any indication, so far, that this is the case. On the contrary, the EPA has already said it won't.

-- inthetrenches (, April 19, 1999.

I agree with you Sara, I do not expect any leadership at the levels it would take. I think it is much easier to focus on food and water barrels than to consider the loss of water. You have a good point about the effect of sporadic power or water. I have been asking myself how long will we wait before we give up on it completely. And by that time, our resources needed to make a move could be gone. That is in the event the roads are open, which I highly doubt.

I think Feller has done a good job of setting forth some scenarios and possible solutions. I think all of us who see this coming and the things that need to be done can see that good leadership would greatly help right now. Many dedicated souls are not giving up on raising enough awareness. I have a very hard time having any hope for it personally but I may work in my neighborhood to try to get a well in our suburb before it is too late.

But looking at the water situation has left me in a state of panic and paralysis. I agree that it only really works in a rural place with the space to grow and fewer people, etc. But in the suburb, I just do not see how this can be solved for the 30 million or how ever many it turns out to be. I also wonder why no one has asked which water companies have reported they will not be done. If they can count the numbers, someone must know who they are? That this is not yet in the news is astounding.

I have started to collect gallon jugs to add to my 55 gal drum and other water containers. I am hoping that there is enough public y2k problems before it is too late to leave to convince my family to move to a place that gets enough rain.

I ordered the information for the Hydro Drill and saw that it was too expensive. Never mind if its illegal, I would drill it anyway if I could afford it. It is the least expensive option.

I now have food and seeds and much information on gardening thanks to this site and others. But water is much more critical, you need much more of it, and you just can't store enough of it. And for those in the desert, it is very scarce as it is.

Not only this, but there are so many factors that affect the water and power such as oil supplies, oil transport, power, y2k compliance, chemicals, embedded chips in the supply lines, etc. If our major oil producers are a year behind, even with 2 months of oil in storage, the power may eventually go down. Even if everything else goes perfect.

We have a choice of expecting the worst and taking drastic measures now while we can, or storing what we can in bottles and hoping y2k is not that bad. But the longer we wait, the more likely our choices will get limited.

I would be interested in more discussion of this problem. I noticed many people talk about their wells and I pay great attention to all the posts on water. But there does seem to be less focus on it and less on the sanitation issue. Maybe because there is so little that we can do about it short of drilling a well or moving to a place that has plenty of it. These are fairly difficult.

I often wonder what those of you in community preparedness are saying with regards to water. I know the standard recommendation is a few days or a couple weeks. But it seems that this would be going on the assumption that y2k does not last that long. And yet, since there is the possibility of it lasting longer, it seems that y2k activists should be telling people about that as well. If you live in the desert, wouldn't it be especially important to warn people so they could consider moving? I have been considering doing y2k education in my neighborhood. But I can not help feeling that if I want to get away from here, maybe I should focus more on preparing to leave. It is such a difficult choice to have to make, and so much is at stake if I am wrong one way or the other.

Well, those are my water worries. And my free internet astrological chart just warned me that I tend to worry a lot. This is true. Y2K is definitely not helping either. It is all I can do this week, after the new GAO report and the army slides, I am woke up from my brief period of satisfaction at getting some preps done.

I am back from Utah where people every in the state are in a constant state of preparations. There are 50 pound sacks and 5 gal buckets in every market on sale, with y2k booklets and talk everywhere. It makes headlines. My mother helped me immensely to get 6 months dry food and plenty of garden stuff including some great seeds. I am excited to start a big garden but have not decided where to put it yet. I just have to solve this water problem first.

Thanks for all the great info on this site and the place to worry out loud a bit! I can't say a word about it at home yet. But I am compiling some great binders full of y2k info off the internet. Hopefully I will be able to make my case in time. Or at least have plenty of evidence for others to read in those long hours with no tv!


-- Lora (, April 19, 1999.


Thanks for the great info on the water regulations. Do I understand you right, are they prohibiting activities such as farming that would cause a change in the local water? Would this affect drilling a well or just something like logging that would greatly impact a river?

I know that these laws are tight and getting tighter, but it seems that there will be no way to enforce them if things break down to the extent that power and water shortages are widespread. But in the meantime, prior to y2k problems while we are trying to prepare, they would affect us. If I were to move to Oregon and try to use a river for farming irrigation, would these laws affect me?

Greatly appreciate any insight since you are obviously the one with experience on this matter.


-- Lora Ereshan (, April 19, 1999.

Yes the regulations apply to ranching and farming. The combination of field run-off and diversion structures can result in low dissolved oxygen that could result in algae blooms and nocturnal fish kills. (Nutrients + temperature of field runoff + low flows or slack water behind structures.) Since much of the west is a snow-fed hydological system, the summer flows are stored in snow-pack released by the sun. This results in high flows in winter and low in summer, (particularly in drought.) A common method of diversion is to put in small flash-board dams or push gravel up in the stream. This makes the water deep enough to divert through a ditch. (Hopefully screened so the fish won't go down it.) Wells are most likely interconnected with subsuface flows and can interfere with surface water flows.

Oregon has a permit system for surface diversion. Many water rights are adjudicated in the arid west - meaning that they went through a court process to establish the priority of who gets first use, when and how much. Oregon has a statewide salmon restoration plan and water quality plan that is watershed based. It also has very strict landuse laws and you cannot build a house on your property if it is in a certain area. Because of the northern spotted owl and the salmon (coho, chinook, steelhead trout, etc.,) there are many land use restrictions in Washington, Oregon and California. I am most familiar with California laws and practices.

There is a primer for California water law on our site at However, California law is different than the rest of the west because it is a mix of appropriative and riparian water law. (Groundwater is considered a riparian right in Ca) The rest of the west just uses the appropriative water law. (First in time, first in right)

Salmon regulatory issues are at

The standard ag paper in the west is If you are planning on farming in Oregon, I suggest you subscribe to it as it is published there.

-- inthetrenches (, April 19, 1999.

You are all nuts. The only way for a prolonged and sustained power and water outage would be a nuclear war triggered by Y2K. Do you want to be a survivor? A power grid is not JUST controllers and microchips. Sustained outage > 1 week just because of Y2k will NOT happen. You guys are of in lala land.

-- see (your'e@nuts.orf), April 19, 1999.

See- today a nuclear war or terrorist acts involving the water supply does not sound as nuts as it may have just a mere month ago! Signed-- Another worrier.

-- sue (, April 19, 1999.

Regarding the D.G.I. statement: Nuclear war or War-like sabbotage of water supplies is not the only outcome that limits water. The Jim Lord article and the fact that water treatment plants may not be 100% ready indicates this. Also, as stated before, can we count on all the variables that promote the grids welfare, ie. questionable coal transport by train for coal burning utilities, nuclear reactors and success at refineries and natural gas pipelines that feed grids in texas (texas utilities require 90+ % petro and natural gas to stay up) given the fact that Venezula and Saudi Arabia are 12-18 months behind and maritime industry has major lag as well.

Those who take water for granted may wish to think other-wise if they further investigate. Self fulfilling prophesies work both ways.

By the way....there are 2,500 gallon water tanks (food grade plastic) that are available in central texas area for about 700$. Bleach = 1-2$ Consumer insurance is the only type of insurance (provided by you) where you get everything back that you pay into it.

thank you....sincerely, Feller

-- Feller (, April 19, 1999.

and on the filtration issue...can runoff water be filtered??what about river water downstream from a chemical plant that has dumped a load of ooze??are those chemicals seperable afterward??I'm sure lives could depend on it

-- zoobie (, April 19, 1999.

In my little town -- which apparently was featured in a John Travolta movie recently, someone told me -- you can drill a well. It's legal. Except the chemical company has destroyed the groundwater. (I heard that related to the movie.) And the groundwater is so salinated that even the "processed" water from the taps is disgusting. Smells horrible. Can't even be used in cooking without ruining dinner. So my initial plans for drilling a well on my RENTED property, if I could get permission and the money, were out.

We have to store enough, and cache enough via rainwater, water to survive. Gods but I hope the Y2K Texas summer isn't as long and hot and dry as the last one was, or the only survivors in my little town of 1100 people will be the native Pecan trees.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 20, 1999.

For sure I live along a waterway. I live on a boat. Upstream, water treatment plants pump treated sewage into the water. Perhaps after Y2K they will be pumping unteated sewage into the water. Adequate filterage of that water concerns me greatly. Is it possible?.....People in my community are unconcerned about water because it is gravity fed. An interuption (or several interuptions, by terrorists) in that pipeline, would cut off water to many thousands.........Part of my water storage routine includes storing water in those black rubber ex-military bladders. Each holds 5 gals. I just know that water is gonna taste like rubber. I hope (haven't tried it yet) my Britta will remove the taste. While wilderness camping I found some fresh water which tasted like cedar. After boiling, we added a tspn of brandy per gal. It improved the taste dramatically.....Take care, and write soon, Tim

-- Tim Johnson (, June 13, 1999.

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