Water, Water Everywhere, But…

do we really want to drink it?


When we were kids, we filled our canteens with water and went hiking. Yes, actual canteens. Back then you would’ve been considered crazy to buy water in bottles when you already paid for it to come out of your faucet. You made sure you had enough water too because no one shared. You didn’t want a sibling drinking off your canteen and giving you cooties.

We couldn’t stick our faces in any stream and slurp. If Giardia, intestinal parasites, were the only worry, we could’ve added chlorine drops or boiled the water, but in our area the rivers and streams ran orange. It wasn’t the pretty orange of a Gerber Daisy, but the ugly orange of a rusted Chevy.

The color wasn’t the biggie. Many streams also had a pH similar to battery acid. The water was lifeless. Who wanted a drink of water that sounded as if one sip could burn a hole through your cheek?

The cause of our undrinkable water was acid mine drainage. Mountains of mine waste, called bony piles, dotted the landscape near our rivers. As kids, we weren’t allowed to climb the bony piles because Mom said,” Think if one of those piles lets loose. I’d have to identify your crushed body at the morgue.” Thank God Mom scared the hell out of us because those piles of mine refuse harbored cancer causing and other nasty agents. I could’ve grown a third arm.

Since we couldn’t drink the water from our streams or swim in it, laws were enacted to control where future mine waste was dumped. Some towns began cleanup of the bony piles now that we knew better. Many streams required treatment for thousands of years or in perpetuity with costs in the billions to clean the pollution.

In case we missed trashing a river in the first go around, those laws have now been repealed. Mining companies would once again be allowed to dump their refuse wherever they chose. Not only that, but oil companies wanted to take pipes filled with oil underneath rivers.

Oil under rivers would be okay if you’re old and had about five years left to live on this planet, but not so for the rest of us. A viscous liquid, used for fuel and that could catch on fire, surely couldn’t be cleaned from water by boiling, baking, straining, or dropping a tablet in it. Animal poop in our water has become the least of our worries.

You could survive three days without water, but not thousands of years. Mankind did things we knew were stupid because of money. Money had power. Money had the power to make people do stupid things.

Instead of humming “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink,” I’ve come up with a list of emergency water sources when yours has gone to hell and moist towelettes were the only bathing option.

  • Catch rain water from your rainspout in a BPA free bucket. You’ll have to strain the asphalt particles from your shingles, boil it, and add tablets to kill bacteria. Like many Americans working two jobs, you should have a few extra hours to dedicate to safe drinking water, everyday.
  • Stake out a huge tarp (BPA free of course) in your backyard to catch rainwater, strain, boil, and add tablets.
  • Purchase an atmospheric water generator (starting at $1,400 shipping not included). This machine can generate seven gallons of water from humidity in the air.
  • Order water from Amazon. Prime shipping in two days. Though during a country wide crisis, they may only accept payment in gold bullion or water. This may not be a reliable option.

Most important, pray for rain or you could try drinking money.

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