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  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Prepared With Water

    Water is like reliable Internet; you never realize how much you need it until it’s gone. Unlike the Internet, however, water is something you simply can’t live without (shocking, but true). But what do you need water for, anyway? Some uses are probably pretty obvious. There are others, though, that you may not think of until the time comes, and if you don’t have water in that instant, you’re pretty much hosed.

    Here are 5 reasons why you should be prepared with water.

     

    prepared with water

    Drinking

    This is probably the most blatantly obvious reason water is important. We drink to stay hydrated, and when we’re hydrated our bodies function more effectively. We’re healthier and are able to fight off sicknesses and other bodily harm and can even aid in weight loss.

     

    Cooking and Preparing Food

    prepared with waterMost foods you eat require water. Cooking pasta or rice for dinner? Not if you don’t have water. Many recipes for meals and desserts require water. But perhaps you’re planning to rely on your freeze-dried and dehydrated food in your emergency storage if there’s an emergency. Well, you’re still going to need water. Dehydrated and freeze-dried food tastes so much better once it’s been reconstituted (i.e. soaked up water). So if you plan on eating that emergency food of yours, make sure you have plenty of water to go with it.

     

    Gardening

    prepared with water

    Growing your own food? That’s awesome! But depending on where you live, you might not get a lot of rain, so it’s up to you to ensure it gets sufficient water. One way to do this is to install a rain barrel, so when it does rain, you can capture extra water to save for later use. If that’s not an option in your state or community, then you’ll need to store more elsewhere, such as in a water barrel in your shed, garage, or basement (just be careful about drinking said water if it’s not stored in a cool, dark location).

     

    Sanitation

    prepared with water

    Just because there’s an emergency situation going on doesn’t mean you can stop brushing your teeth. And in order to continue practicing good hygiene you’re going to need (drum roll, please…) more water. Ready.gov recommends storing one gallon of water per day per person, which will keep you hydrated and allow for light sanitation. If you want to bathe (which is highly recommended) or wash your clothes (also recommended), you’ll need more than just a gallon of water per person.

     

    Pets

    prepared with water

    Pets tend to be forgotten in emergency preparations (which is why they’re last on this list). But, just like humans, they need to drink water, too. Dogs and other furry creatures can get dehydrated much faster than other animals due to their thick fur. This makes water especially important for your pets during the summertime.

     

    These five reasons for storing water in case of an emergency should hopefully get you thinking about water storage. Each family and individual has unique needs, so tailor this advice to your situation. Remember, though, that when Ready.gov recommends a gallon a day per person, that’s the minimum you’ll want to have. More water is always a good idea.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner prepared with water

  • Town of Riverhead Issues State of Emergency Due to Lack of Water

    With a name like Riverhead, you wouldn’t expect there to be a water shortage. Despite being on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, this small Canadian town is out of water. A state of emergency has been declared.

    No water for Riverhead

    Riverhead isn’t even in a drought, and yet they have practically zero access to water. People in California can at least turn on their faucets and get water. Those in Riverhead can’t even do that. Due to a faulty pump in a local pump house, water has ceased flowing since Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Five days later, they still had no water.

    And when we say they’re out of water, we mean there is absolutely none available from an open faucet.

    Drinking water has to be imported from other nearby towns or purchased from stores. But that’s just one problem. Since the pump went out, “residents have been unable to shower, water their lawns, or do their laundry.”

    Sanitation is a major issue. At least getting clean drinking water is easier. But if they plan on bathing, washing, and doing laundry, using drinking water for that could get expensive.

    Riverhead Map Riverhead, Newfoundland (via Google Maps)

    Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened to the residents of Riverhead. A state of emergency was also declared in 2013 due to similar issues. For the folks in Riverhead, being prepared for lack of water is probably going to become a priority.

    For everyone else, this emergency in Riverhead shows us just how fragile our freely flowing water source can be.

    From broken water mains to drought conditions, there are many reasons why you might be faced with an instant shortage of usable water, be it for drinking or other activities. In order to prepare for such events, there are certain steps you can take to alleviate the problem.

     

    Water Storage

    Part of any emergency plan should include enough water to last 72 hours per person. It is strongly advised to have at least one gallon of water per day for each person, so for 72 hours, you’ll need three gallons of water for yourself. If you have the room for it, it is recommended to have at least that as a minimum – more if you can.

    Water for Riverhead!One method of water storage is in large barrels. For homes with more room, a 160 gallon water reserve could come in mighty handy. Stack another one on top for an impressive 320 gallon water supply. That would keep you going for quite some time.

    Barrels come in smaller sizes, such as 55 gallons, 30 gallons, and 15 gallons. Any of these sizes will be enough for at least 72 hours, but of course, the more you’re prepared, the less you’ll have to worry during an emergency.

    Water jugs and other alternate water storage methods can be used if space is an issue, such as in apartments or small homes. Store them under your bed, a crawl space, bathtub, or other location that is out of the way yet easy to access.

     

    Water Filters

    Water filters aren’t necessarily an alternative to stored water rather than a backup. However, if running water disappears from your faucet and your water storage is running low, you can always take your filter to a nearby river, stream, or lake and fill your containers from there. Don’t forget that water is heavy (about 8 pounds per gallon), so be careful not to overfill your containers or you might be hard pressed to tote them back to your home.

     

    Pre-Packaged Water

    If preparing your own water for storage isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always the option to go with pre-packaged water. Bottled water from the local store is always a safe option, since it is usually purified before being bottled (still, it doesn’t hurt to check the labels first). Alternately, water can come in cans, or even small pouches for convenience in emergency kits as well as hikes and outdoor activities.

     

    No matter your situation or living conditions, there is generally a way for you to have access to clean drinking water (as well as water for washing and cleaning). It may take a little bit of extra planning, but water is literally life, and by investing in water storage, you’re putting your resources towards a more comfortable experience during and after disasters and unexpected water shut offs.

    The emergency in Riverhead shows us yet another way how running water can slip between our fingers and leave us with nothing.  If this were to happen where you live, would you be prepared to go days without clean, running water?

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - River Song...er, Riverhead

  • What the Animas River Spill Teaches Us About Water Storage

    Water is a fragile resource. One moment it’s here, the next…well, it’s still here, but completely unusable.

    Animas River - CNN Animas River (CNN)

    That’s what happened to the Animas River in Colorado and into the San Juan River through Utah and New Mexico. According to ABC News, “3 million gallons of wastewater containing heavy metals, including lead and arsenic,” were accidentally dumped into the river. This waste came courtesy of the of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado. CNN reported that the EPA was working on treating the contaminated water inside the mine when “the team accidentally caused it to flow into the nearby Animas River.”

    Woops.

    Now, the river has turned a bright orange hue. While the river may look like a popular citrus beverage, drinking it would have adverse effects. The mustard-colored river is a visual warning that the water is far from clean. Officials have warned people to stay out of the water, and for those in the flood plains of the Animas River and San Juan River, they are advised to test their water before using it for cooking, bathing, and of course, drinking.

    Just one accident from the EPA (which, ironically, is supposed to prevent stuff like this from happening) created havoc for nature and humans alike. According to a CNN report, water samples showed mercury was “nearly 10 times higher than EP acceptable levels. Samples of beryllium and cadmium were 33 times higher, and one of the arsenic levels was more than 800 times higher.” Yowzah. If you’re thinking, “That can’t be good,” you’d be right. CNN went on to explain that exposure to the high levels of heavy metals in the water “can cause an array of health problems from cancer to kidney disease to developmental problems in children.”

    So you may want to avoid all kinds of contact with water from that river until it’s deemed clean.

    But this isn’t the first time U.S. rivers have been highly polluted.

    Animus River isn't the first to be polluted Yellowstone River

    Earlier this year, nearly 50,000 gallons of oil found its way into the Yellowstone River in Montana. CNN reported that the governor declared a state of emergency, and “residents in nearby cities were told not to drink the tap water.” Residents were told to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

    This was déjà vu for this river. In 2011, Exxon Mobile’s pipeline ruptured, pouring 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. Not only does lightning strike the same place twice, but apparently oil spills do as well.

    Last year, about 300,000 West Virginians couldn’t drink or wash with water from their tap due to a chemical spill. The ban lasted 10 days.

    Animas River follows the Kalamazoo River in pollution An oil-filled pond next to the Kalamazoo River

    Five years ago, the Kalamazoo River in Michigan turned black with over 1 million gallons of heavy crude oil. 150 families were displaced. As you can imagine, the drinking water was less than ideal.

    That’s a lot of high-level water pollution. But smaller spills effect our water, too. MTV News posted an article with even more rivers that have been contaminated.

    But why am I telling you all this? Because it’s important to know – and remember – how fragile our water supplies can be.

    What we see here are many prime examples of water, our precious resource, being completely and abruptly unusable. This is one reason why having an emergency water storage is vitally important. From water barrels to water filters, you can never be too careful when it comes to getting clean water for you and your family.

    Being without water for 24 hours is one thing, but how would you fare if you had to go without for 10 days like the folks in West Virginia? Definitely something to think about.

     

    Have you ever had an abrupt end to your water supply? How have you prepared for one?

     

    Animas River - Disaster Page

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