Know drinking water needs; plan ahead during National Preparedness Month
Sept. 7, 2017 at 11:22 a.m.
The destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, which recently ravaged parts of southeast Texas and Louisiana, serves as a reminder of how important it is for everyone to plan ahead for natural disasters and emergencies.
Coincidentally, September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Ready.gov are encouraging all Americans to learn how to prepare properly for a crisis. This year's overarching theme is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can."
"When planning ahead, make sure you have access to clean, safe drinking water. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) reminds consumers and government officials that during a natural disaster or other emergency that may cause tap water to become unsafe or unavailable, the bottled water industry is committed to providing safe, reliable bottled water to emergency-support organizations, city and state governments, relief centers, retailers, and other points of distribution," said Jill Culora, IBWA vice president of communications.
Stocking your emergency preparedness kit with bottled water can make a huge difference during a natural disaster or emergency. When preparing for such an event, FEMA specifically recommends that store-bought water be part of your supplies. You should have at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation. Storing bottled water is a safe, convenient way to ensure that you have an adequate supply of potable water available, she said.
As shown in IBWA's video, "Bottled Water – Always There When You Need It," the bottled water industry works hard to ensure that bottled water supplies are available during emergency situations. The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters or emergencies, and the response to Hurricane Harvey is the latest example. Bottled water companies have responded to the need for clean drinking water following a variety of disasters—such as the recent lead contamination of Flint, Michigan's public water supply; the contamination of Toledo, Ohio's public water system by a toxin from an algae bloom in Lake Erie in 2014; the 2013 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia; Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina; as well as the numerous floods, wild fires, tornadoes, and earthquakes that occur every year.
"Events like Hurricane Harvey are stark reminders of how important it is for people to take a moment to re-assess their risks and update their emergency plans," said Culora. "Thankfully, catastrophic situations are rare; however, boil alerts and other types of public water system disruptions are frequent occurrences across the country. In addition, continued volatility in weather across the nation only reinforces the importance of always being prepared for unexpected and dangerous weather."
The bottled water industry is proud to help people meet their hydration needs during emergency and crisis situations, as well as providing safe, healthy water on an every-day basis at homes, offices, and on the go. However, we also recognize and support the important and essential role played by public water systems in providing citizens with clean, safe drinking water. In fact, many bottled water companies use public water sources for their bottled water products. Once this water enters a bottled water plant, several processes are employed to ensure that it meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's purified water standard. These treatments may include one or more of the following: reverse osmosis, distillation, micro-filtration, carbon filtration, ozonation, and ultraviolet (UV) light. The finished water product is then sealed in a bottle under sanitary conditions, and sold to the consumer, she said.
More information about bottled water can be found at www.bottledwater.org.