Although it’s rare that a water utility experiences an interruption in its ability to deliver safe and reliable drinking water, the recent boil water advisories in Houston shine a light on the value of being prepared for emergencies.
Water emergencies that may affect tap water span the gamut of the following:
- Natural disasters, like earthquakes or hurricanes
- Contamination resulting from heavy stormwater runoff
- Sabotage/terrorism, including cyberterrorism
- Major water main breaks
- Power outages
- Civil unrest
- System malfunctions
- Human error
While it is very difficult to foresee emergencies, we can create plans to reduce the impact of such events.
A key to any emergency plan is to have enough water on hand to last through an emergency. It is recommended that water be stored in new, airtight containers. Reusing containers – such as a milk carton – could lead to bacteria growth. It is important to keep these containers in a cool place and refill them with fresh water every few months.
Water suppliers experiencing an emergency may use traditional and/or social media to issue a “boil water” or “do not drink” notice when testing indicates a problem.
DrinkTap’s Water Emergencies page also offers tips to help you through a water emergency.