Last Wednesday, residents of Nibley, Utah were put under a water ban for 48 hours.
No, it’s not drought conditions that cause the town to order the water ban. Not a water main break or power outage, either. It was diesel fuel contamination that fouled the water. Washing with such water can cause health issues. Eating food cooked with such water can cause health issues. And drinking the water? Well, best not to go there, either.
Can you imagine not being able to drink, cook with, or wash in the water that comes free-flowing from your faucet? That’s exactly what the residents of Nibley had to put up with last Wednesday. In fact, they are still under a partial water ban, 5 days later.
If a city official posted a note on your door stating you were not to use your water for 48 hours, how would you fare?
We’ve talked about water storage a lot on this blog, and for good reason. Usually it’s about drought and its nasty effects. But as we see here, that’s not the only reason you could be forced to go without water.
So what can you do to have water when your main supply is suddenly unusable?
Having water barrels or some form of water storage will help see you through until your water supply becomes usable again. We have three different sizes of water barrels (15 gallon, 30 gallon, and 55 gallon), and a 160 gallon water reserve that can stack to create to create a 320 gallon water reserve. Of course, you may not have room for such large containers. Fortunately, you still have options for water storage in smaller containers, such as 5-gallon containers, bottles, cans, and pouches. These smaller containers make storing water easier in smaller homes and apartments where a 55-gallon water barrel just simply won’t work.
Sometimes you just don’t have room for water barrels. Fortunately, water filters and purifiers are small and don’t take up a lot of space. They are capable of turning all kinds of water unsuitable for human consumption to clean, drinkable water. Remember though, water filters won’t work for chemical-based contamination, like a diesel spill, so that comes back to water storage.
Water purifiers are another option for getting clean water. Instead of filtering out the baddies, water purifiers kill the harmful substances in the water. For example, the SteriPEN Emergency Handheld Water Purifier uses ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Another option are purification tablets, which are effective against those nasty protozoa, bacteria, and viruses using the same proven technology as in municipal water supplies. Compact and lightweight, they make a great travel-sized option for purifying water.
Unfortunately, water purification won’t remove diesel fuel from your tap water, either…again, coming back to water storage as the only viable long-term solution.
As you can see, having a proper water storage will help you get through those unexpected water bans. We can never know for sure when something like that will happen, but we can always be prepared for when they do come.
Dark water surges from the sea, the 40 meter wave crashing down upon anything that stands in its way. Streets become rushing rivers, and then an extension of the ocean itself. Boats take to the flooded streets, belly up as they careen through the city. Entire buildings are uprooted from their foundation, tossed and battered as the tsunami waves push them farther and farther away from where they had once rested.
This may sound like something out of a fantasy novel (because really, a 40 meter wave?), but this is exactly what happened to Japan only four years ago. This video gives you just a taste of the destruction that took place:
How do you prepare for the unexpected?
Four years ago, Japan was rocked by the Great East Japan Earthquake – a 9.0 magnitude – which was followed by a devastating tsunami. Now, the effected regions have had time to recoup and rebuild. Japan is now teaching the world what it’s learned from this disaster.
Every 10 years, the United Nations holds a World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. This year it was hosted in Japan. In particular, the conference was held in Sendai, which, according to the Japan Times, “is a city that is synonymous with resilience to disasters for its remarkable recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.”
There are two things in particular that stand out from what Japan is trying to do.
Cost effective prior investment
“Building back better” (creating nations and regions that are more resilient than they were before the disaster)
Cost Effective Prior Investment
I think the key words here are “prior investment.” Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the government took aims to make their nation safer when it comes to disasters.
This earthquake registered at 9.0 on the Richter scale, and when talking about it they use words like “unpredictable.” But guess what? It happened anyway, predictable or not. However, despite the unexpected quake, Japan already had preparations in place. Well, maybe not for a 9.0, but they get a 7.0 or 8.0 about once a decade, so earthquakes are something they have prepared for. That’s why they’re urging other nations to get prepared, just in case one of these “unpredictable” disasters strikes again. If something of this magnitude doesn’t strike, there are bound to be other disasters instead. As the saying goes, prepare for the worse, hope for a lesser disaster instead (or something to that effect).
Japan has also put into place a Disaster Prevention Law. Don’t be fooled, this law isn’t to meant to illegalize disasters (thereby reducing them through incarceration), but to find ways to make them less devastating. One way is through construction. Their high-rises sway like trees when the ground starts shaking. Because of their construction requirements, these buildings can withstand heavy quakes, thus saving countless lives within the buildings. Another way Japan prepares is by having homes and businesses stockpile food and water.
We talk all the time about storing food and water for those “unpredictable” moments. Fortunately for Japan, it was before the disaster that these preventative measures were put into place. If they had waited until after this massive disaster, many more lives would have been lost. Of course, we’re talking about a global scale here, but we can definitely shrink it down to fit your personal life.
Do you know where you can go when disaster strikes?
For example, how can “prior investment” relate to you? Well, in the same way the Japanese are gathering a supply of food and water for emergencies, can you do the same? Japan has also constructed tsunami evacuation towers to give people a place for refuge during such storms. Do you have your own personal evacuation tower? Where will you go when your tsunami crashes against you? Do you have preventative measures in place to weaken the blow, or lessen the damage?
Prior Investment now is the only way you will weather an earthquake, hurricane, accident, job loss, or any form of disaster that could affect you.
There are several ways to get started with your prior investment. Here are some pre-storm preparations to consider:
There are many different kits available (pre-made) for your convenience, and at a good price. There are also plenty of individual kit items available, so you can build your own kits or add to existing ones (check out the links above for options and ideas).
There is time to prepare before those “unexpected” disasters strike. That time is now.
“Building Back Better”
OK, so maybe you were caught off guard when disaster struck. What should you do now?
Well, I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t sit around thinking lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. Just ask the folks in Kissimmee, Florida who had three hurricanes pass through in 2004, or the people in Moore Oklahoma, today digging out from their second tornado in less than 2 years. These are people committed to “Building Back Better.” We should be, too.
The odds of you getting struck by lightning twice is statistically very low, and the odds of you getting struck even once in your lifetime is 1 in 3000. So if it can happen once, it can happen again. Remember Japan’s 9.0 earthquake? The odds of an earthquake of that magnitude occurring was once in several centuries. Who could have seen that one coming! But come it did. Just because the odds are in your favor, it doesn’t mean you’ll come out the victor.
When it comes to “building back better,” take a look at Japan’s example. They have become the leaders in helping countries be prepared for disaster.
There is a saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
I’d like to change that up, if I could, to something a little more…human:
“Fool me once, shame on me for not preparing for it in the first place. Fool me twice…well, maybe I’ll get lucky? I hope.”
We should never let ourselves be fooled, not even once. It shouldn’t happen, since we can all be prepared for anything. But being fooled twice is downright unacceptable. We need to learn from the past, be it our own or the past of others, like Japan. Lightning has struck in the same place twice, after all (or for one (un)lucky man, seven times).
We can learn a lot from The Great East Japan Earthquake. If you’re prepared before unforeseen disaster strikes, you will be so much better off. If you haven’t prepared…it’s time to take the next step and begin working on preparing yourself and your family.
Has disaster ever caught you unawares? What happened? Looking back, what could you have done better? Share with us your experiences!
Bob Marley once said, “You ain’t gonna miss your water until your well runs dry.”
When Abelardo’s well ran dry nearly a year ago, he feared the worst. On fixed income and in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California, the four-year drought threatened to force the 81-year-old man to move away from his home. Hundreds of others are in the same situation, as the water shortage in California drags on. Fortunately for Abelardo, help came to him by the aid of a non-profit organization that dug him a new, much deeper well.
As ground water levels drop in California, farmers pump more and more water out of the ground to try and save their crops. This causes the water levels to drop even further, drying up wells. Reservoirs are low, and there is far less snow in the mountains this year than there were last year. All these factors threaten to make the drought in California much worse this summer.
The state of California pumps over 10 billion gallons of water per day. That’s an average of 258 gallons of water per day per person. That’s a lot of water! Now take into consideration that less than 1% of all the water on our precious Earth can actually be used by people (everything else is salt water or frozen solid). As a comparison, take flushing the toilet. Each flush uses about 3.5 gallons of water. So if you flush the toilet five times in one day, you’re using 17.5 gallons of water. That means if everyone in California flushed their toilet 5 times a day, that would use over 650 million gallons of water. So you can see how quickly water can go, well, down the drain.
There are other ways for ground water to become unusable or inaccessible. What might happen if the power grid goes down? The municipal water facilities won’t be able to supply your home with water. What then?
Drinking water won't always be readily available.
Or how about chemicals and other contaminants that can penetrate our precious ground water? Ground water gives over half of the total U.S. population its drinking water, and it helps grow 64% of our crops. Septic tanks or gasoline and oil storage tanks – all kept underground – may leak and spill their contents into the soil and water. This leads to contamination containing bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and other harmful substances. Even road salts can find their way underground. Landfills also give us other hazards, from leaking battery acid, paint, and other abandoned products.
Think about how much water you use in a day, from bathing, cooking, drinking, washing, flushing, and all other things we use water for. How desperate would you be without that essential liquid? Personally, I’d be hosed (too soon?).
As you can see, there are more reasons than just drought and overuse that can keep us without water. Fortunately, we have a way to prepare against such calamities.
By building up your water storage, you’re preparing yourself for all of these unforeseen disasters. There are a lot of different options for storing water. There are large, 160 gallon water reserves available, which can even stack on top of each other, thus maximizing storage space. However, that may be a tad too large. If you’re like me and live in a small apartment, you might need something a little smaller. Boxed water kits and smaller 5 gallon jugs might be the only option you have, and that’s OK. Heck, if you have an extra bathtub, we even have a storage product that converts your tub into a 65 gallon water storage container!
From bathtub to water storage!
Essentially, water is important. Without it, life wouldn’t just be hard, it would cease. That’s why preparing for water shortages of any kind is vitally important.
Now we want to hear from you! What are some other ways you have for storing water? What unique situations are you in that makes storing water more difficult? Let us know in the comments!