The wind is swirling, and the rain is really coming down. Authorities are warning you and your neighbors to evacuate the area or get to higher ground. You're in the middle of a natural disaster.
Unfortunately, natural disasters are common, so you may wonder how they can impact your drinking water. Be assured that water utilities work hard to ensure the safety and delivery of water, especially during natural disasters and emergencies.
Risk and resilience refer to the preparation that water utilities go through to avoid interruptions in water quality and delivery due to emergencies such as natural disasters, accidents or international acts.
Check out DrinkTap’s Water Emergencies page for tips you can use to plan ahead for a water supply emergency.
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that water suppliers tell their customers if the water from the tap is not safe to drink for any reason. Suppliers may use traditional and/or social media to issue a boil water or do not drink notice when testing indicates a problem.
In the event of a “do-not-drink” notice, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) points to a few safe sources for water supplies, including melted ice cubes, liquids from canned goods, water drained from pipes and water drained from the heater. As for unsafe water sources in these situations, FEMA lists radiators, hot water boilers, water in the toilet bowl or flush tank, water beds and swimming pools/spas.
It’s recommended that depending on your personal circumstances, you should store enough water to last between three and 14 days in airtight containers that are preferably new. Storing drinking water in containers that previously stored other liquids, such as milk, could promote bacteria growth. Store these containers in a cool location and change them out every few months to keep the water fresh.
This type of preparedness allows you to properly and quickly react to any of Mother Nature’s surprises.