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  • Don't Doubt the Drought

    Water Main CoverIn case you missed it, the state of California just passed a new set of water restrictions in its ongoing efforts to survive what experts are calling the second worst drought in US history. We’ve talked about the drought in this forum before. In fact, we spent a good chunk of 2014 looking at the varied effects of such a widespread dry spell—everything from gardening adjustments and grocery prices to wildfires and rattlesnakes!

     

    So, while Californians are already pulling out their lawns and keeping a wary eye out for parched pests, the San Jose Mercury News describes residents’ latest requirements:

     

    “[T]he rules adopted Tuesday:

    Watering Lawn

    • Ban all restaurants, bars and hotels from serving water unless customers ask for it.

     

    • Require all hotels and motels to provide signs in rooms telling guests that they have the option of choosing not to have towels and linens washed daily.

     

    • Ban Californians from watering lawns and landscaping with potable water within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

     

    • Require cities, counties, water districts and private companies to limit lawn watering to two days a week if they aren't already limiting lawn and landscape watering to a certain number of days a week.”

     

    Yikes. And if no ice water at your favorite restaurant sounds drastic, it might not be drastic enough. In light of Gov. Brown’s call to cut water use by 20% in 2014, water activist Conner Everts points out, “we are failing”—the state’s water consumption went down by less than 10% last year, leading to the current restrictions. And then there’s Everts’ haunting question:

     

    “At what point do we accept that this might be the fourth year of a 10-year drought?”

     

    Water LevelsSo, while California farmers drain the last of what blogger Mark Morford calls “our ‘backup’ water” from the ground, we’ll be sending moist thoughts and rainy vibes westward. However, if you live somewhere supposedly unaffected by the drought, don’t think that you get to stop paying attention. Have you heard the adage, “When the time for decision comes, the time for preparation has passed”? In other words, if you’re not currently experiencing a drought, the time to prepare for one is now!

     

    As ever, start with good information. Check out the blog posts listed below to learn more about water purification, filtration, and (critically!) storage. Then don’t forget to browse our water products for everything from tablets and filters to barrels and pouches.

     

     

    How about you? How has your area been affected? What have you been doing to prep for or thrive during a drought?

    Posted In: Additional Reading, Disaster Scenarios, Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: California, drought, Prepare, water

  • Bleach, Boil, & Bottle: Prepping for Water Trouble

    Thirsty? You’re probably pretty used to just turning on the tap. But three incidents from last month remind us that taking our water for granted can land us in serious hot…well, water. In Winnipeg, tests came up positive for E. Coli in parts of the city’s water supply. That same week, a diesel spill in Lewisburg, West Virginia, shut down the city’s water system in an effort to prevent widespread supply contamination. And in Bladensburg, Maryland, an underground water pipe split, causing a sinkhole large enough to flood homes and swallow cars.

    Solutions to these problems ranged from a mayor appearing on YouTube and advising his citizens to boil their water, to a local restaurateur deciding, “We are going to limit our menu frankly to things that don’t require very much water.”

    Water purification and filtration should definitely be a priority, when it comes to emergency preparedness (check out our water filters and purification systems here!). And it wouldn’t hurt to have a repertoire of meals that don’t require boiling water (MREs, anyone?). But one standard prepper practice would make life considerably easier in a similar disaster.

    water-storage
    That’s right. I’m talking water storage.

    If that tap that you turn on a hundred times a day still works, then storing water can be easy and free. Just be sure that you follow credible recommendations to make sure the water you store is safe to use. Both the CDC and Ready.gov provide handy tip sheets on water storage. Here are a few of considerations highlighted there:

    How much water should I store?

    • The recommended amount is a gallon of water per person per day. Keep in mind that some factors may require storing more (hot weather, children or nursing mothers, etc.), and don’t forget to figure pets into your calculations!
    • To go along with your 72-hour emergency supply kit, plan on storing at least three days worth of water for each person in your home.

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    How should I store it?

    • Commercially purchased and sealed water supplies, like our cans and pouches, are the best way to store water, hands down.
    • To supplement store bought water, you can also store your own tap water in clean containers. Don’t use empty milk jugs, fruit juice containers, or anything that ever contained chemicals. Do use two liter soda bottles or dedicated water jugs and barrels.
    • Wash used containers with soap, sanitize with diluted bleach, and let them dry completely before filling them.

    What should I do with my stored water?

    • Keep purification tablets, like our Katadyn Micropur purification tablets, on hand, especially if the bottles haven’t been bleached.
    • Label the bottles clearly with the date and “drinking water.”
    • Store somewhere away from light and high temperatures.
    • Rotate stored tap water every six months.

    Of course, we hope that the tap keeps working the way it’s supposed to. But it’s a smart idea to prepare for every contingency. Let us know how you’re doing on your water storage!

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    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: reserve, water purification, water

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

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    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: Preparedness In The News, Current Events, water

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