Water Everywhere – None to Drink

Watching news footage of recent flooding brought up a very important question. When you see relief efforts arrive the first thing they hand out is water. Why is that? People are literally swimming around so the casual observer might think water is not an issue.

The first issue is that few of those people have made plans to sustain them in case of such an emergency. They are forced to rely on the charity of others. That is a large chance to take.

The next issue issue is contamination where the flood waters overload sewage systems that then mix with the flood water. In rural areas, the water can also pick up animal waste as it flows through barns and other livestock housing. That is dangerous enough, but nothing that some minor filtering and boiling will not fix. The more dangerous contamination is chemicals that mix in with the water. These come from a lot of sources. Every vehicle that is flooded has the chance to spill oil, antifreeze, wiper fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. In addition,  industrial buildings caught in the path of the flood can contain hundreds of types of deadly chemicals. These contaminates are a much greater danger because normal filtration and even boiling will not remove them. These can remain in the water table for long periods and contaminate wells.

This brings to the forefront that planning should not only include means to filter and sterilize water, but if possible, a store of clean water. Unfortunately stored water does have a shelf life. Many jugs and other retail containers are not meant for long term storage. Some may fail over time spilling their contents, some may let water slowly evaporate, and others may allow growth of bacteria. Planning should involve investigation into long term containers and stability additives. This store will allow you to not have to rely on the kindness of strangers. Depending on the scenario,  that kindness may be far too little, far too late.

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