Without clean water, we have nothing- literally. Our bodies need fresh and safe water in order to survive, and there is no way of getting around this. One of nature’s most cruel jokes is that two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, yet most of it can not be safely ingested. Even though we are surrounded by the water in our oceans, lakes, aquifers and rivers, much of it, if not all of it needs to be purified and treated before it is safe to drink. Most water that is pulled directly from its source has many contaminants, from natural bacteria and parasites to chemicals that us humans have introduced in to the supply, and our bodies do not have what it takes to resist the ill-effects these substances can produce.
In much of the undeveloped and developing world, the lack of safe drinking water is the leading cause of serious illness and death. Drinking dirty water, even water that looks and smells clean may contain elements that can cause a range of serious health problems. Countries which do not have advanced purification and sanitation systems often have the highest rates of water-borne illnesses in their respective populations. But, the developed world has a lot to fear as well. Our best systems that are in place to ensure that we get a stable and reliable supply of fresh and safe water can fail at any minute for a number of reasons. It is not unheard of for local governments to issue boil orders or warn residents to avoid tap water for a certain amount of time after an accident or a strong storm.
Some will argue that even chemically-treated water has a range of health concerns to worry about, and this is one of the reasons that filters as well as bottled water is so popular these days. But, the health risks from drinking out of the tap are in no way even comparable to the risks of drinking untreated water, even if it comes from the purest spring or aquifer. Parasitic infestations, bacterial infections and chemical contamination can make a mess of the systems inside of our bodies. From problems with the liver and intestines to dehydration from excessive diarrhea, we are particularly sensitive to water-borne contaminants.
Nothing is more important, crucial and necessary to our overall health, well-being and survival than having safe drinking water. This is one reason why many experts suggest that everyone keeps a three day supply of water on hand just in case access to water becomes limited for whatever reason. There are also things like filters and purification tablets that can be used to purify water from outside sources that can also be used if necessary. Rich or poor, sick or healthy, all of us need water to survive. We can only go a few days at best without drinking safe and fresh water, and none of us should take chances on being left high and dry. Keep or have access to a safe back-up supply at all times.