Search results for: 'water storage'

  • We’ve been posting quite a bit this year about water problems across the country, and most of the issues have been drought related. Need another reason to be extra thrifty with your water? Visit Toledo.

    According to NOAA, Lake Erie is in for its fourth consecutive year of higher-than-average incidence of toxic algal blooms. Blue-green algae may sound picturesque, but the slimy carpeting floating at the surface of infected lakes and seas can kill marine life—and wreak havoc on human bodies, as well. And algae doesn’t just mean a bummer day at the beach; Fox News points out that Lake Erie provides drinking water for much of that region, both in the US and Canada.

    These images from National Geographic show how really, ahem, eerie this phenomenon is around the world.

    Don't Drink the Water: Lake Erie's Toxic Sludge

    Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

    The state governments of Wisconsin and Florida have fact sheets available to clear up some of the misinformation about blue-green algae and help people avoid harm. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s page emphasizes the importance of keeping pets from playing in or consuming “icky-looking and smelly” (their words) water. And Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources strikes at one of the roots of the problem, cautioning residents against over-fertilization, since runoff feeds algae and leads to unnaturally aggressive growth.

    Besides vacationing somewhere other than the southwest shores of the Great Lakes, there are one or two things we can do to minimize our exposure to harmful algae. Check out the facts and tips in these water storage posts.

    Stay safe on the beach this summer, friends, and keep your drinking water clean and slime-free!

     

    --Stacey

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water, Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  •  California's Liquid Gold: Drought Time Water Prices

    Not to beat a parched horse, but here’s an angle on the drought in the western US that we hadn’t considered. Turns out the shortage of water in California is making millionaires out of individuals and organizations with extra stores or claims to private sources.

    According to the AP, in an article titled, “In Dry California, Water Fetching Record Prices,” the price of water has increased by ten times in the last five years, reaching past $2000 per acre-foot. The resource is sold at auctions, with large farms and cities among the bidders. One private water storage district in Bakersfield wrangled in $13.5 million in a single transaction!

    One of the most interesting points in the article is the description of water banks—essentially massive, underground water storage facilities where surplus is banked in years of plenty. Kind of makes my rain barrel look a little paltry!

    On the other hand, if each of us took a page from California’s most prudent large-scale water storage facilities, maybe we’d be less dependent on the kinds of exorbitant transactions that grow out of desperate demand.

    For example, smart home water storage might help maintain a garden during a drought, easing the pain of increased produce costs at the grocery store—the inevitable trickle-down as farms pay through the nose to irrigate commercial crops. (Read about both of these ideas in our articles, “Your Drought Year Garden,” and “How Does the California Drought Affect Your Grocery List?”)

    In any case, it’s all a great reminder of the importance of preparation, storage, and self-sufficiency in times of disaster or scarcity.

     

    What has your experience been with droughts and the cost of food, water, or other resources?

     

    -Stacey

    For more tips about water storage check out:

    45 Ways to Conserve Water

    Water Storage Overview

    Water Storage Options

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, drought, California Drought, Preparedness In The News

  • Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    We’ve talked a lot this year about the destructive drought choking the western US. And while California gets most of the attention (check out UNL’s drought monitor and their frighteningly visual perspective on California’s situation), other states are suffering, as well. In fact, the drop in a single reservoir is affecting residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah—and California! This headline from the Daily Mail sums up the dangerous situation:

    “Satellite images reveal mud-choked Lake Powell is LESS than half full and has hit a record low as the Western drought continues to strain major reservoirs”

    The article, which features a chilling image gallery of the barely recognizable vacation spot, reports that Lake Powell currently sits at 42% of its capacity, with experts estimating that this year’s snowmelt will only bring it up to about 51%. And it’s not just bad news for boaters. The man-made reservoir serves as a source of drinking water for 20 million people living across the west, and the Glen Canyon dam that regulates the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to the area.

    While forecasters predict a cool, wet “El Niño” year for 2014, Eric Holthaus over at Slate.com explains why that won’t be enough to recover from this decade-plus long dry spell in his article, “What Does El Niño Mean For Me?”. With no end in sight, then, how can we…er…weather this storm?

    For ideas on ways to prepare against the effects of severe drought, check out these helpful posts:

    And for a recap of this year’s drought and its unexpected effects, read here:

     

    What are you doing differently this year because of the drought?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, drought, Preparedness In The News

  • Portland Issues a City-Wide Boil Order

    On Friday, May 23, the Portland, Oregon Water Bureau issued a city-wide boil order after E. coli was detected in the water. According to ABC News, this 24-hour boil order was the largest in the city’s history, affecting 670,000 people in the city and several outlying suburbs.

    Coffee shops, restaurants, and bars were forced to close during this period, impacting their weekend sales. But grocery stores saw a spike in sales as people purchased water jugs, bottled water, and soda cans in excess.

    Although the boil order ended on Saturday, May 24th, the city still hasn’t figured out the source of the contamination. But it’s assumed that an animal spread fecal matter through the city’s water system. The city drained and cleaned two reservoirs, but is telling residents to continue to take caution and to run their taps for two minutes to eliminate any contaminated water.

    Even though the boil order only lasted a day, drinking contaminated water can have serious effects and can cause illness. One way to prepare for a boil order and to avoid depleting grocery shelves is to store water and to have a water filter like the Katadyn Hiker and a method of water purification like Micropur tablets on hand that can remove or kill bacteria and protozoa in the water.

     

    To learn more about the Portland boil order, check out these articles:

    “Portland Issues Boil Order . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Looking Back on Portland’s largest Boil Order Alert . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Portland lifts City-Wide Boil Order” from ABC News

     

    To learn more about water storage, and filtration and purification, check out these articles:

    Water Restrictions Making you Blue?

    Discover the Best Water Treatment System for You

     

    What are your tips for surviving a boil order? 

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage, water purification, water filter

  • By now, most of you have probably seen this historic image of the California snowpack. In January, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released photos showing the dramatic effect the California drought has had on the state’s landscape and snowpack.

    As the picture below shows, much of the greenery, snowpack depth, and precipitation in California’s Sierra region has dramatically decreased within just a year. According to Southern California’s NBC affiliate station, the runoff from the California mountain range is a key source of water for California communities and growers. It accounts for about one-third of the state’s water.

     California Snowpack

    In late March, the Sierra Nevada region received some much needed snowfall, but Mark Cowin, Department of Water Resources director, believed even then that the drought was far from over. Fast forward to early April—surveyors skied into the Sierra Nevada to measure the snowpack level. Surveyors measure the amount of water that melts from the snowpack into the streams and reservoirs below. In April, the snowpack was about 32 percent of the average water content.

    The most recent measurement of the snowpack, taken on May 1st, reveals that the situation is not getting any better. After taking the final measurement of the snowpack for the wet season, California’s Department of Water Resources revealed that the snowpack is now at 18 percent of its average water content level. SoCal’s NBC news station states, “Water managers have said the northern Sierra snowpack that feeds California's major reservoirs is 9 percent of average, and those reservoirs are only half full.”

    Since the snowpack is a major source of water in the state, its depletion is a serious issue for the entire state, especially with the hot and dry summer months approaching.

    As Mark Cowin stated, “This drought is a wake-up call that we all have to take water conservation seriously and make it a way of life.” You can take simple steps now to practice water conservation. Learn how to conserve water by taking our “Gallon Challenge—EE Style” You’ll be surprised by how much water you use in a typical day, especially when you only have one gallon for your cooking, drinking, and sanitation needs. Use this challenge to determine how much water to have in your family’s home water storage.

     

    If you would like to know what to do to begin conserving water, check out this article to get started: 45 Ways to Conserve Water.

    What tips do you have for conserving water?

    --Angela

    Photo Courtesy of National Journal

     

    Sources

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/the-california-drought-as-seen-from-space-20140204

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Sierra-Nevada-Snowpack-California-Drought-257500871.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, drought, California Drought

  • The Effects of California's Driest Year

    This post is the second installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. Check out Part One of the series: "California Drought: Four Months in Review

    For the last three to four years, drought conditions have spread all across the western US, but recently, California has been hit the hardest, facing dry temperatures and withered land. The following infographic from Drought Monitor shows you just how dry (and as a result, at risk for fires) certain areas of California are. 100% of the state of California is now in “severe” to exceptional drought.

    California Drought Monitor

    Conservation Mode

    The state is in emergency water conservation mode until further notice. According to Kathleen Miles from the Huffington Post, Governor Brown has advised residents to cut their water use by 20%. Homeowners who don’t promptly fix leaks have been fined by city governments.

    Coin-operated car washes must only use recycled water. Restaurants and private citizens are encouraged to use paper plates and cups, and water is served in restaurants only upon customer request. Newly-constructed swimming pools may not be filled. Earlier in the year, cities were squabbling over who gets how much water; and in Mendocino County, the sheriff’s office is keeping a close eye out for water thieves who try to pump water from Lake Mendocino into trucks and haul it away to sell or use.

    According to a Huffington Post article from May 16th, 40 city employees in Sacramento have even been “re-designated as ‘water cops’ tasked with reporting and responding to wasteful maintenance.”

    Industry Affected

    Tourism is also adversely affected. California’s ski industry struggled all winter for the lack of snow. Fishing has been banned in several rivers to protect drought-stricken salmon and steelhead trout that may be in danger of extinction if the drought continues. The wine industry is also suffering, with grapes growing slowly and ripening before they’ve reached mature size.

    Wildfires Increase

    California is especially vulnerable to wildfires during times of drought. On average, 69 fires are reported monthly during normal conditions; however, just from January 1 to January 25 of this year, 406 wildfires were reported. The California wildfire season typically occurs during the summer and fall, but the drought has caused wildfires to become an all-year-round occurrence.

    According to the National Journal, as of May 15th “brush fires in California had burned nearly 10,000 acres, destroyed 30 homes, threatened multiple military facilities, and forced thousands to evacuate.” The state has also faced a series of heat waves, with highs between 98 and 106 degrees F that are not helping the situation.

     

    These drought conditions are severely taking a toll on daily life in California and other areas in the west. Check out our Insight Articles to help you conserve water in the future by building up your own water storage supply today:

    Tomorrow, check out Part III of our California Drought Series  "California Drought: the Impact on Farming and Produce"

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Photo Courtesy of the United States Drought Monitor

    Editor's Note:  Correction to a statement made in an earlier version of this article. Lawn watering and car washing has not yet been banned in California. Watering has been reduced to two days a week and car washing has not been reduced yet. Residents are asked not to water sidewalks in an effort to conserve water.

     

    Sources:

    www.blogs.usda.gov/2012/08/10/us-drought-and-your-food-costs

    www.theundergroundsite.com/california-drought-could-impact-world-food-prices

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/california-drought-effects-500-years_n_4647529.html

    www.trippapparel.com/2014/18697

    www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Feature/LakeMead

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/california-drought_n_5340596.html

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/california-s-wildfire-season-has-ravaged-nearly-10-000-acres-so-far-20140515

    http://www.capradio.org/articles/2014/02/06/drought-forces-broadest-fishing-ban-in-state-coho-at-risk-of-extinction/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, drought, California Drought

  • California Drought: Four Months in Review

    This post is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. 

    All the western states, including California, are naturally subject to periods of drought. But according to B. Lynn Ingram, University of California Earth Science professor, a study of tree rings shows California’s current drought to be the most severe in the last 500 years.

    Not only did California receive zero rainfall this January (normally the rainiest month of the year), recent past conditions have illustrated the decline in moisture. In 2013, California received a total of 7 inches of rain; the average yearly total is 22 inches. The Sierra snowpack, which gives California 1/3 of its water, was 88% below normal as of January 30, 2013.

    In early 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the state a “primary natural disaster area,” and President Obama announced over $190 million in drought aid. With almost twice as many fires and acres burned between January and March of this year than last year, California needed more than light rain and overcast skies to pull them from this drought. Unfortunately, over four months later, California has not seen the type of precipitation to pull them out of the drought and reduce wildfires in the state.

    The lack of rain over the past few months has led some, such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to alert cities and companies that only 80 percent of requested treated drinking water will be provided for the rest of the year. The companies and cities losing this water typically provide it for about 1.5 million people. However, it’s not only thirsty cities receiving less treated drinking water, but irrigated farmlands are forced to turn to alternate sources of water such as wells.

    During our lifetimes, we’ve become accustomed to California being the garden of the nation, producing nearly half of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables for the whole country. The sight of fallow fields, blowing dust, or browned seedlings failing in the heat is an image we associate more with the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma back in the 1930s than with California. But that may not be the case this year unless there’s a significant change in the weather.

    National Journal reporter, Marina Koren, believes that in order “to break its historic drought, California would need to see 9 to 15 inches of precipitation in one month. That’s more than half a year’s worth of average rainfall for the state.” This lack of precipitation for the state has created water restrictions.

    A water restriction for both irrigation and drinking (whether due to drought, a chemical spill, or another emergency) is a great reason to keep your [water storage] up to date. Check out these articles to learn more about the importance of water storage:

     

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Come back in the next couple of days to check out the rest of our California Drought Series:

    Part II “The Effects of CA's Driest Year"

    Part III "How does  the CA Drought Effect your Grocery List?"

     

    Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post via the Associated Press

    Sources:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25411117/california-drought-silicon-valley-cities-and-farms-hit

    http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_stats

    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=california&MR=1

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, drought, California Drought

  • The Rain Barrel: SoCal's Hot New Accessory

    If California’s (no) water situation seems to be taking up a lot of our attention, it’s because certain circumstances, while unfortunate, provide us opportunities to talk about good preparedness practices that may otherwise slip off our radar.

    Here’s a pretty cool example. In response to record low precipitation levels, some Southern California cities have implemented what they’re calling “no-brainer, low-hanging fruit solution[s]” for water independence—policies and projects geared to reclaiming and recycling local water.

    An ABC News story from earlier this month describes the rainwater collection system that waters the Santa Monica city library’s extensive gardens, as well as the water recycling plant near the famous pier that supplies irrigation to several local parks and schools.

    And individuals are catching on. The same article calls resident Josephine Miller’s 205 gallon rain barrel “fashionable,” as neighborhoods dive in to take advantage of local government rebates for home water conservation. While your city hall may not pay you for your efforts, rainwater storage makes efficient use of one of the few free resources at our disposal. Just make sure it’s legal to do so in your city or state, first.

    So, if you’re interested in harnessing some May showers for yourself, here are a handful of tips, tutorials, and helpful products.

    • Heard worrisome things about using roof-collected rainwater on edible plants? Educate yourself on the real and not-so-real risks, courtesy Rutgers’ cooperative extension.

     

    Here’s wishing you a happy and drippy spring!

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage, drought

  • Imagine this…

    You’ve been storing water over the past few years, sealed safe and sound in the 55-Gallon Water Storage Barrel, but an emergency just turned the world upside down. There’s barely any water left in the state, let alone your city, and what is available is contaminated. Luckily, your family has prepared for this moment. You’ve stored enough clean drinking water to help you outlast this emergency…But how do you get the water out of your storage barrel?

    In an emergency, people resort to all types of ways to get to their clean water (such as tipping the barrel on its side). But there’s no need for that. Not when you can easily do it with the siphon hose and keep your barrel free from contamination. With the siphon hose it’s as easy as one, two, and three. All you need is a bung opener, the hose, and a bucket.

    1.  Get yourself a siphon hose, if you don’t already have one.

    Storing water is fairly useless if you can’t get the water back out of the barrel to use in an emergency. A siphon hose gives you an easy, efficient way to remove water from large containers, whether you need it to drink or you need to empty the barrel so you can clean it out and replace your water.

    In addition to the siphon hose, try adding the Garden Hose Adaptor to your supply. This adapter allows you to connect your siphon hose to your garden hose for additional length when siphoning your water. This adaptor can also be used to extend your garden hose if you need the extra length for other projects.

    How to use a Siphon Hose

    2. Position the bucket and stick the siphon hose in the water

    Place a bucket on a lower surface level than the container you are siphoning your water from so the hose will slope downward. Next, notice the difference between the two ends of your siphon hose. One end is bare, exposing the plastic tube that the water will travel through. The other end has a copper head piece on it—this piece allows for flow control and induces the siphon action. Stick the bare, exposed end of the tube into your empty bucket. Place the siphon end into your water barrel.

    How to use a siphon hose

    3.  Shake it up and down

    Keeping the siphon end fully submerged in the water, begin moving it in a quick, vertical, up-down motion. You’ll begin to see water entering the tube (unable to flow back out through the siphon), making its way out of the barrel and into your empty bucket. After a few seconds, when the water is flowing on its own, you can stop shaking the hose and the water will continue to flow from your barrel into your bucket.

    If you struggle a bit getting the water into the hose to start siphoning, make sure your vertical shaking is done with quick, jerky movements. If the water stops siphoning when you let go of the hose, just shake it in the vertical, up-down motion for a little bit longer.

    4. To stop the flow, remove the copper valve from the water

    Once you have enough water, simply remove the copper valve from the water to stop the flow.

    You can siphon about 2 gallons of water per minute with this hose, making it a great way to quickly remove water from large containers. The siphon hose can also siphon gasoline, oil, diesel, and other fuels, solvents, and chemicals safely. But it doesn’t only siphon—it can remove water from clogged sinks, aquariums, water tanks, and more! The siphon hose is great for a variety of liquid removal needs.

    Note: If you use your siphon for drinking water, use a separate siphon hose for gasoline and other chemicals—and be sure each one is clearly labeled.

     

    Still confused? Check out this video of how to use the siphon hose:

     

    --Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage

  • Learn how to plan a preparedness fair to share your knowledge of prepping with your community

    Like the proverbial elephant that must be consumed one bite at a time, planning a major event like a Preparedness Fair is best done one step at a time. Follow these simple steps for a successful fair:

    Decide the purpose of your Preparedness Fair.

    Are you trying to educate your community on the general advantages of thinking in terms of preparation? Are you hoping to encourage the employees of your company to get emergency kits to keep at work or in their cars? Or do you live in an area where severe weather is a constant threat, and you’re trying to help people prepare for that? 

    Decide who’s hosting the Preparedness Fair.

    A school, church, hospital, business, city or county jurisdiction, emergency services, or any combination thereof could participate in hosting the event. If your group is small, you may want to partner with another.

    Know your target audience.

    Will it be the general public, your church, club, or civic group, extended family, or employees of your company? The answer will dictate the size of the venue, number of presenters, and budget. If you’re trying to attract as many people as possible, you’ll need a large venue such as a community center, hospital lobby, or multipurpose room at a college. If you’re planning several presenters who will repeat their classes, you’ll want a building with classrooms as well as an open area. A local church might be ideal for that. (Remember: free is good!)

    Choose a goal or theme.

    Unless your fair is enormous, it’s usually better to have a central theme rather than trying to cover all aspects of preparedness.  Examples:

    • “Family Safety” with topics such as “Smoke and CO2 Detectors,” “Avoiding Risky Behavior,” “Hidden Dangers in Your Home,” and “Planning to Meet After an Emergency”
    • “Bringing in the Harvest” with classes on gardening, composting, fruit and vegetable recipes, and food preservation methods
    • “Making Your Own Emergency Kits” emphasizing car kits, first-aid kits, 72-hour survival kits, and baby bug-out bags
    • “Water Storage,” covering topics such as ways water can be contaminated, appropriate storage containers, and water purification techniques
    • “Keeping a Weather Eye,” with classes on earthquake, storm, fire, or flood preparedness, evacuation procedures, and how to turn off utilities.
    • For more ideas, browse our website, blog, and Insight articles.

     

    Select presenters.

    Decide if you want commercial booths and vendors or strictly informational presenters. (Remember, if your fair is hosted by a tax-exempt organization, then your presentations will need to be informational only.) Will your presenters expect pay or do it as community service?

    You could have several classes going at a time and let your audience rotate between them, plus have an informational video repeating in the main room along with several booths. Choose presenters who will be well-prepared and professional with up-to-date, practical information. Handouts are helpful. (See the “Education” tab on our website and look through our blogs and insight articles for materials you can use.)

    You may be able to get representatives from FEMA, CERT, or your local police and fire department. If you happen to be in Utah, you can schedule a representative from Emergency Essentials for your event. Just email preparednessevents@beprepared.com for information.

    Select a Crew.

    In addition to your presenters, you’ll need people to set up and take down booths, tables, and chairs; provide technical help with microphones, computers, projectors, etc.; contribute and serve refreshments; man a booth with kid-friendly activities; be greeters; and direct visitors to classrooms. Unless you can get volunteers to do these things, remember to figure staffing expenses into your budget.

    Advertise.

    Some good advertising methods are flyers, posters, community radio spots, word-of-mouth, email messages, yard signs, church or business announcements, Facebook notices, and newspaper article. Be sure all ads give the date, time, and location of the preparedness fair. Include a couple of “hooks” like refreshments or door prizes, and use the back of the flyer to detail activities and presenters.  The more people you involve in some aspect of the fair, the better your attendance will be—they’ll come and usually bring others with them.

    Good luck! Having followed the above guidelines, you should be all set to have a great Preparedness Fair. We hope your event is so successful you’ll want to do it again.

    Feedback: Have you hosted or attended a preparedness fair or expo that included some great ideas you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them.

    Resources for your event:

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness, preparedness fair

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