Mapping the Water Supply

Securing a safe water supply is important to every entity in the world.  With changing weather patterns bringing droughts to regions normally the best farmlands, it is getting more frustrating for cities and states as they try to find water sources and negotiate prices and methods to transport water.

Coastal states have the ability to build desalinization plants, but landlocked states must rely on rivers, lakes and aquifers.  To this end there have been many man-made lakes and rivers dammed up for both water and electricity. 

Even after some rains, aquifers remain at levels below 50% or less in some areas of the United States, and around the world.  It takes many days of rain to replenish the water supply both above and below ground.

Because of this, it is important to know where water can be accessed and to keep up with the status of those locations on a weekly basis.  Aquifers serve not just one well but instead wells for entire cities, your wells may have water this week, but not have water next week under severe drought conditions.

One thing you can do is pay attention to EPA, state, and local water authority reports which list where contaminated ground water is already found.  Knowing water is already contaminated and what the contaminants are is a step in the right direction when choosing which places to eliminate as possible sources of fresh water in the future.

Mapping safe and unsafe water is an important part of being prepared.  Keep your map Map of the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Arkansas Territory.up to date since water wells that are clean today may be contaminated next week; and contaminated wells today may be safe next year.  Similarly, it is important to realize that if your well is contaminated, it is possible that those adjacent to yours is contaminated too.  Generally, water wells within cities are likely contaminated with any number of lawn and garden, industrial or other chemicals and not fit for human or animal consumption.

Another thing important is to recognize what a water well looks like.  They are not all like the picturesque open top well, nor are they marked with rustic hand-pump wells.  Some have signs on them that read “city of $%^ pumping station” or “city of $%^ well”.  Some wells, particularly those in colder regions use submersible pumps and therefore may not have a cap visible from a distance.  Instead they are  capped with a slab of concrete or some other structure to keep people from falling inside.  In warmer climates, often there is a tank visible next to the well.  Many people decorate these with cute fake wells. Taking note of where these wells are could be important.  

One easy way to keep your map up to date is to laminate a map and use dry erase markers to make notations and changes.  Label the wells with the notations about the type of of contamination and what is required to make the water potable.  When the time comes that you need to take your water map with you, simply snap a picture of it with your tablet or cell phone, then when time permits, can use your photo to transfer it to a permanent map.  

Here are two links to get you started:

Radiological Contamination, Water Treatment and the Water Well

Well water is subject to contamination from above and below ground contaminants the same as surface water.  Agricultural and residential fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides are regularly found in ground water.  Industrial chemicals sometimes contaminate ground water and surface water.  Radiation and toxic chemicals found in water wells can be caused by the currently popular fracturing (fracking) process used by some oil and natural gas companies.  

Just as you can’t tell by looking if the water you wish to drink is contaminated with chemicals, bacteria and viruses, you can’t tell if it is contaminated by radiation.  Certainly you will need special equipment for that.  As stated in the article about purifying water, be on the look out for dead things in, on, or near the water source before approaching, touching, or using it.

Observing surface water is easier than observing ground water.  Plants and animals lying dead all around a stream or lake is a sure sign something is wrong.  Radiation contamination doesn’t kill instantly.  The animals may drink the water and go a long distance away from the source before they die.  When observing surface water, pay attention to more than the shores and banks.

Ground water is another matter completely.  While there may be chemicals and bacteria, there won’t be animals standing around the well dead or dying.  Instead, there might be people living in the area who can tell you about families who used a certain well or wells, who got sick and/or died from it.

But, let’s suppose you are in a world changing event and need to know if water is safe.  You’d get out your handy water test kit to check for chemicals.  Wait.  If the water is contaminated with radiation, you may have already contaminated yourself, simply by touching anything the well water may have touched.

Instead, when approaching a water well, get out your handy Fluke radiation detector (charged by your solar powered charger) to find out if there is radiation present on the ground or surfaces of the interior of the well. Once you have safely approached the well, be careful about how you get the water out of the well.  If the water is contaminated, breathing it’s fumes or touching it may likely will contaminate you.  If you are going to sample the water be sure to wear protective gear and use protective equipment if at all possible!

Once you have determined that the water is contaminated with radiation, it’s up to you to decide if the risk of contaminating yourself is worth the reward of cleaning the water.  Seriously, the only way most people would think the risk is acceptable is if there were absolutely no alternative sources of water and they were going to die before any other source of water can be found.

Major water purification systems designed to purify water for entire cities can’t even remove all the radiation contamination.  Since using a source of water contaminated by radiation will be difficult to purify, will ruin any filters and utensils, may contaminate you during the process, and still may not be safe to use, one would only consider this under the most dire circumstances. 

Right now, before some world altering event happens is the time to have your well water tested by professionals.  It should be tested frequently since changes can happen without warning signs.



What About Your Water Supply?

Many hours of work and dollars are involved in water storage.Many people a lulled into thinking if they have a stash of bottled water, barrels of rain water, a cistern, or other way to store large amounts of water they are in the clear.  That is only the beginning.

Imagine, thousands of gallons of water sitting there, but you can’t use it because it was contaminated during the disaster.  What good did it do to store all that water if you can’t use it after the disaster?  Plenty of good, if you are prepared.

When you return to your location after the disaster, first things first.  Check on any livestock that might not have been evacuated and render first aid to them.   Check out the safety of the home and tend to the immediate needs of the family only using food and water that came back with you.  After that, it’s time to set about the business of checking on the food and water supplies.

The food is either safe or it is not.  There’s not much you can do to fix it if it is contaminated.  The water on the other hand, can be cleaned and be useful.

How to know if it is contaminated?  Use your common sense and your senses.  If the disaster and your water supply obviously crossed paths, the first thing is to test the water.  Such cases as natural disasters that disturb land and water like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.  All of these can contaminate wells with petrochemicals and other things.  Obviously a nuclear disaster would demand that you not return to your home.

The EPA provides information about water contamination and what to do about it.  The EPA chart about which tests order is helpful.  Considering that state agencies will be flooded with work after a disaster, it might be a good idea to have test kits on hand.  It helps to know which tests to use.

Consider your location.  For instance, in our location there is the risk of contamination from all manner of refineries after a hurricane.  For this reason, we would know that our wells would be likely contaminated with industrial chemicals, animal decay, sewer system failure, and salt water.  We would not use any stored water until it can be purified and retested.  Over time the wells would clean themselves, but certainly not fast enough to use right after a disaster.  Frequent testing of the wells will let you know when they are safe to use again.  In the meantime it will be necessary to purify the water according to EPA instructions for the contaminants found.

It is important to note that wells may test negative for one contaminant this week, but next week it might test positive because of the underground flow of water or rain washing contaminants into the well.  Until all wells in the area test clean, don’t assume your well is always safe.  For that information contact the appropriate authorities in your region.

The EPA and water quality associations are dedicated to pure water for everyone one.  Use the resources they offer.

Why are we Preppers?

People ask us why we are preppers and sometimes I ask myself the same thing. Looking at our country…our world, I have to wonder…are things getting worse? I observe things going along day by day fairly normal fashion. People go to work or school; families spend time in the parks or other family events. Life seems good most of the time, even though costs for basic wants and needs are climbing.  So sometimes, it’s hard for me to envision how far our country will have to fall in order to bring us to the doomsday many preppers (including my husband and I) are preparing for. To think food and fuel shortages, electrical blackouts and other difficulties could arise seem far-fetched.  Yet it could happen overnight.

The tornadoes in Moore OK brought devastation in the matter of minutes. Hurricanes, earthquakes and so many other natural disasters can as well. These are usually localized, but consider what would happen if something on a national scale.

News of government corruption brings the possibility of hard times rushing back. We grasp the national scandals and doubt whether our leaders are being truthful. Our politicians have legislated everything from our health-care, safety, and morality plus anything else they can get away with. These same politicians are spending our nation into ruin. They play God taking from the working and giving to those who cannot, will not or can’t find work. All the while taxing the rest of us into poverty.

On the local front, a friend took his boys into the mountains for a day of camping and hiking only to be hassled and ticketed by the rangers…they were not even in the park. Feds show up at the door of another friend demanding to know where his well is. They say they are going to gps it so if they need to tap it later they can and will. The feds claim rights (through the EPA) that all flowing water belongs to them…state, local or property owners have no rights. Unelected (appointed) officials are regulating many industries beyond what is necessary for safety. They believe they know what is best so they make regulations to force their beliefs on everybody. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

All this brings us to speculate about the future. The fact is I’m amazed things are holding together at all. I find it hard to understand why the public is not questioning and pushing back already. Are they so self-absorbed they don’t comprehend what is happening because it has not touched them yet? Or do they see it and figure, ‘That won’t happen to me or my industry.’?

What will it take to wake them up? In Germany, the people did not see the evil until it was upon them. Everything done to change the country was accomplished under the guise of ‘This is for the good of all.’  Our government is following a similar playbook. Their spread the wealth and social justice follows the same path that leads to tyranny.

We are at a turning point. If we continue down this road, it leads to slavery. Government will expand its hold on our personal lives and regulate us into submission. Or we turn back to personal responsibility, freedom and self-direction. The question is…are we already too far down the path to serfdom?

Well, for me and my house, we will hope for the best and prepare for the worse. We are preppers and will continue to be.