Until I moved to my present location, I took water for granted. The only precaution I took was to store about 50 gallons of water under my house just in case a big storm knocked out the power and I ran out of gasoline for the generator so that I could run my well pump. I was on a private well for water at the time. If I had been on city water, I probably wouldn't have taken any precautions at all. Water was always there. Water was a given. But now the situation in West Virginia has shown us that perhaps that is foolish thinking.
So have you given your water any thought lately?
On my farm we catch rainwater. Over the years we've expanded our ability to catch and store water. Some of our tanks are covered, thus protected from the weather, leaves, dirt. Some are open, housing fish, being used for crop irrigation. In addition we have separate safe drinking water storage containers stored under the house for in case of a hurricane.
Although I do not need to implement it, I have the knowledge and ability to distill ocean water into drinking water. I could build a solar water sanitizer. I could make a homemade water filtration system.
If forced to relocate, I am aware how previous generations gathered drinking water in lava caves and from fresh springs located under ocean waves. And with a sheet of clear plastic or glass, or even a bottle, could make a simple water still. One still won't produce much water, but make a hundred out of discarded trash and you are set.
Water is such a basic thing. If it gets contaminated to the point that it can't be used, then we're in deep trouble! Our civilization is doing all sorts of things that are endangering our water. Runoff from farms, industry, mining, forestry, even parking lots and salted highways. Fracking. Drilling for gas and oil. Chemical industry. Paper making. Textile industry. Power generating plants. Sewerage treatment. Food processing. Ocean shipping. Trash dumps. Just to point out a few activities that are pumping contaminants into the water system. I'm amazed when I read articles about the various toxins being found in various drinking water systems and people aren't screaming and rioting about it. Not just toxins, but medications, hormone disrupters, micro bits of plastic, etc.
Oh boy, I can feel myself on the verge of a rant. Calm down, take a deep breathe. Focus back on the homestead.
Yes, homestead. Self sufficiency. Self reliance. When I first came to Hawaii, harvesting rainwater scared me. It still scares the State of Hawaii Health Department, who does not deem catchment water to be potable even if the most modern sanitation systems are used. But ya know, I'm really glad I harvest my own water. I can control it's quality. It doesn't arrive to my sink via old asbestos pipes, or more modern pipes which harbor a layer of sludge on the bottom and needs extra chlorination when the pressure gets low during drought times. Nor contains chemical contamination due to the toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers used by commercial farming and industry. Luckily the main air pollution in Hawaii is due to the volcano. It's not from a chemical plant, industrial smokestacks, automobiles and trucks. I can work with the volcano.
Did I say that Hawaii says that catchment is not potable water? Then why use it? Well, let me first say that catchment water at the Volcanes National Park and Kilauea Military Camp are both declared legal potable water. Uumm. So if you're a federal facility, catchment is just fine. But if you're not, then it's not legal water. Uumm. Perhaps enough said.
Good filtration systems with UV sterilization units that are properly maintained make catchment water perfectly safe, even for drinking. Although one state office claims the water isn't potable, other state offices approve that water for not only residential use but also public use at B&Bs, etc. Crazy that one hand says no while the other says yes. But that aside, it indicates that correctly treated catchment is fine.
While no water source is safe from a mananical enemy, I feel comfortable knowing that my catchment water is rather safe. I don't have to worry about industrial chemicals, agricultural runoff, or other dangerous contamination. My system can still give me water even if the electric grid goes down or if the county's water pipes crumble.
I'm not suggesting that everyone run out and start collecting rain water, but it may be an idea to look at your options. Perhaps a storage tank or two of reserve water. Perhaps a well. I don't know. But just assuming that good clean water will flow out of your kitchen faucet every day may be delusional thinking. I'd rather not take the chance and find myself like people in West Vrginia.