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How to Mitigate U.S. Water Shortage Catastrophes

As devastating winter storms battered the United States, snow and ice battered regions of the country were unprepared for the icy blasts that knocked out power and ruptured water mains. As building temperatures dropped, water pipes froze and burst. Entire regions reported water pressure problems and some areas remain under boil water advisories. People are left to boil the tap water that trickles through their faucets, scour stores for bottled water, and obtain water from local churches, fires stations, or other public sources. For the elderly and people without vehicles, obtaining safe drinking water can be extremely challenging.

In recent years, California has made headlines as deadly fires ravaged the state. People in affected areas have been instructed to boil their water and in some areas carcinogenic chemicals were subsequently identified in water pipes.

The impact of recent widespread power failures in Texas, highlight the effect that extreme weather and associated disasters have on people’s health and food security. Burst water pipes may not be repaired for months leaving people to haul water for drinking, food preparation, and hygiene. 


In Texas alone:

  • Over 14 million Texans were without safe drinking water.
  • Today approximately 400,000 still do not have potable water.
  • Over 1,200 water supply systems were impacted.
  • 147 pubic water systems were left completely non-operational and may take months to repair.
  • Many areas continue under a boil water notice.
  • Millions are dealing with burst pipes with plumbers and repair parts in short supply.
  • Over 18 million 16-ounce bottles of water were ordered for distribution
  • FEMA delivered approximately 1,300 tons of bottled water to the Naval Air Station in Forth Worth for distribution in central and south Texas.

Earth Water Alliance has previously responded to the water crises in Puerto Rico  and the Navajo Nation; but we need to do more than just respond after a disaster, we need to be proactive. Contact your local, state, and federal representatives and demand they support actions to safeguard the availability of clean drinking water for all communities.

And, we invite you to share ideas, resources, and tools that could help people in emergency situations have access to potable water while also reducing the mountains of plastic waste generated by single use water bottles.


Share Resources From Our Website

Learn how Distillation Can Remove Contaminates From Drinking Water and see our instructions for collecting and purifying water using a pot and stove.

Learn how to Distill Water using the Sun.

Watch “How to Choose the Best Drinking Water Filters.” 

Read “Water Testing Kits Help Determine the Quality of Your Water” to learn more about testing your water.

Visit our Disaster Planning page for lighting, solar cooking and water filtration recommendations and links to suppliers.

Check out the resources available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn the difference between a Boil Water Advisory, a Do Not Drink Water Advisory, or a Do Not Use Water Advisory.  .


Together We Can make a difference in the lives of millions.

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