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+1 vote
To clarify: let's say several hundred, or even thousand, people reclaim a part of a city and declare it a free town (no private property, no money/currency, no taxes, institution of a gift economy -- something along those lines). How can this community continue to acquire potable water (assuming this community is nowhere near bodies of water that are even close to safe to drink)? Should it just make at least the one exception of giving into the state and paying for water to be pumped in? Is this even a feasible situation?
What did/do Christiania, the Blitz, Ungdomshuset, and other free anarchist communities do for water and sewage treatment/access?
Sorry if this isn't 101 enough!
siphoning. it's how probably a billion people in the world get their water right now.

4 Answers

–1 vote
They could get a team of people to go around the city with jugs and just collect it from drinking fountains.
by (140 points)
+3 votes
There are a number of different ways to purify water on a small scale (and potentially the ability to increase the scale of these methods) - for example, sand filters and solar distillation.

Besides that, the production of alcohol is an ancient method of purifying water, since either the distillation or fermentation process would kill off harmful bacteria (fermentation does so via the yeast out-producing all other forms of bacteria present and thus destroying them, if my understanding isn't totally off).

For waste disposal, there are compost toilets and the simple ability to piss into nature and have it washed away by the rain. I'm sure there are also other methods.

And then of course it's possible to just expropriate water from other sources in whatever way.
by (8.7k points)
Oh, also, in case it wasn't obvious: most anarchist communities simply rely on existing water and sewage infrastructure. Just as it would be absurd to try to be "ideologically pure" by never making use of a single thing produced by capitalism, the same applies to refusing to use any infrastructure built by employees of the State.

Until we, y'know, seize the means of production and whatnot.
Yeast is a fungus. :o)
Derp. I never attended my biology classes, clearly.
I hate to comment on a long dead topic, but a little misinformation can be deadly in certain circumstance...
The point of alcohol purifying waters - the reason the brew was safe to drink was that they Boiled The Water before they brewed their mash, to keep unwanted microbials from spoiling the brew.  Beer and Tea was safe to drink, drink fresh water and you risked shitting your guts out.

And don't waste your piss if you are growing food (or fuel), urine is ideal plant food.
–1 vote
1. Reclaim the water treatment plant.
2. You can always get reverse osmosis purifiers.
3. A hand dug well. It's not as bad as you think. A lot of people use hand dugs wells. Some people even use hand dug wells and sand mounds. Hell, my dad just got running water a few years ago. He had to run out and get water from a spring.
by (190 points)
edited by
At first, I wondered why practical advice would get a down vote. Then, I realized that someone voted most of my answers/comments down blindly. That's kind of amazing.
+3 votes
If a location is really nowhere near sources of drinking water including rainwater catchment or groundwater, then it's probably not a place where any kind of community should be located, anarchist or otherwise.
by (560 points)

to locate oneself (individual or community) where the resources to sustain oneself are not readily available seems like a symptom of the mindset of oppressive modern industrial civilization. "who cares where it is, we can just harness some tech or biological resources and MOVE it."

of course that doesn't preclude one from having to compete for/share those resources with other living beings (human and otherwise), but that is a different issue altogether.
this is something i happen to know a bit about, due to where i live (no water, no electricity, etc). i catch rainwater, and i grow food with it (among other things).

the amount of water used to move human sewage around is absolutely insane. i know there is no viable alternative in urban areas, but to me that just says something about the impact of humans clustering into urban areas.
Well said.
The way we are removed from our natural environments allows (some of) us to think it is normal to pipe water hundreds of miles, and then waste it on pseudo-aristocratic lawns or to flush our shit back into the nearest body of water.

Historically, human wastes (humanure, or 'night soil') were collected in buckets in the household, and collected each night by 'honey wagons' that hauled the piss and shit out to the market gardens surrounding the town - which in turn fed the town.  Nutrient cycling.
This concept is being revived in the poorer neighborhoods of Mexico and South America.