According to a new report, more than a third of the population of America has no access to clean, reliable drinking water. We don’t generally think of the United States as being a country where people just cannot afford to access safe water, but this is becoming more common every day.
- When we think about homes without running water, we usually have a picture in our minds of third world countries.
- When we think of water-borne diseases killing babies and those whose systems are just not robust enough to cope with drinking water from creeks and contaminated streams we aren’t thinking about people right here at home.
- When we think about the spread of cholera and typhoid due to lack of clean water and sanitation, we think of squalid destinations far away.
A third of Americans can’t afford public water.A report by Elizabeth Mack, an assistant geography professor at Michigan State University, says that a third of Americans can’t afford public water. It goes on to predict that within 30 years, 36% of Americans will be unable to afford to pay for public water to be piped to their homes. Mack analyzed water consumption, pricing, demographic and socioeconomic data for the study.
Can you imagine that? More than a third of Americans being unable to afford running water and sewer services?Water rates have increased 41 percent since 2010, and if they continue at that pace over the next five years the number of households that cannot afford water and wastewater services could soar to an estimated 40.9 million, or 35.6 percent of all households. Further, shrinking populations in major cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia means fewer people to pay for the large fixed cost of water service. Some 227,000 customers in Philadelphia, or 4 out of 10 water accounts, are past due, while 50,000 delinquent customers in Detroit have had their water service terminated since the start of 2014, the study says. Households in Atlanta and Seattle are paying more than $300 a month for water and wastewater services (based on a family of four).
This lack of services could cause horrible illnesses and death.Even more chilling, can you imagine the kind of diseases that will spread through towns and cities if people cannot effectively dispose of their waste?
Typhoid: Not to confused with typhus, typhoid is caused by the bacteria salmonella typhi and is spread by contaminated food and water. It spreads quickly in overcrowded and/or unsanitary conditions. (source)These aren’t the only conditions that can be spread by dirty water. A few of the more common diseases are:
Food Poisoning: There are many forms of food poisoning, the most lethal of which is Listeria, though it’s closely followed by E.Coli 157. The incidence of food poisoning will rise almost immediately there’s a grid down situation. The lack of refrigeration coupled with the possibility of food not being cleaned or cooked properly will guarantee an uptick in these debilitating and often fatal conditions. (source)
Cholera: In any situation that prevents adequate water treatment we will be in the same position as countless millions of others who live with dirty water. Just one person with mild cholera could unknowingly spread the disease…which sickens more people and then their waste spreads the disease further. Before you know it you have an epidemic on your hands. (source)
dracunculiasis (Guinea worm) and (as they’ve discovered in Flint, Michigan) lead poisoning and chemical poisoning can be caused by drinking contaminated water that contains toxins. I’ve gone into great detail about some waterborne illnesses in my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide. As well, you can learn how to handle water and dispose of waste safely in the book.
How have we reached a place in the 21st century in which millions of American families are facing a future where running water and sewer services are unaffordable?
Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com , where this article first appeared. She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Image Credit: TheFreeThoughtProject.com