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. 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. [caption id="attachment_20567" align="alignright" width="300"] Riverhead, Newfoundland (via Google Maps)[/caption] 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. 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?
Tags: Newfoundland, Riverhead, Water shortage, Water storage
Diana Smith Hill
We had a similar issue here, a water main broke (infrastructure is a mess) leaving us without water for a week. You never know how much you need water till it’s gone!
No water would be a great concern. We had 3 hurricanes hit us back in 04’ and were without electricity for many days. We had a well at the time, so that prevented us from having water in the house. Luckily, we had an inground pool that we used to flush toilets and cool off in the FL heat. In our new house we have both a well and city water, but it still scares me.
We have a 700-gallon goldfish pond in the backyard which could be used for toilet flushing and laundry if necessary, as well as 2 hot water heaters and 60 gallon jugs full of drinking water, so we would be okay for a while.
We are currently live in a condo, but we always keep stocked up on prepackaged water.
We have extensive supplies for a variety of emergencies, but they are disorganized and would be less than helpful in an evacuation emergency. We need help organizing what we have so we know what gaps we need to fill in and so they could actually be helpful in an immediate-response situation.
Thanks for the give away item
I lived in Florida for many years and always had to be prepared during hurricane season. Now living in Wisconsin, we always have cold weather stuff in addition to food,water.
I had a family member that was in the path of Hurricane Sandy. I had contacted them by social media to see if she had enough of food and water. Her response was that she was cooking soup and a she had a case of water. I then asked if she a bag ready. She did not and gave an “LOL” for bring it up. The water came up so fast that she was not able to get to her car, that was parked down the street. She lost everything and had nothing but the clothes on her back.
I don’t have as much water storage as I’d like to have right now, living in an apartment, but I’m better off than my neighbors. We have cases of bottled water in a corner in my closet. It would be enough for us to drink and cook with for several days for my family of 3. I’m much better prepared in other areas and constantly working towards being more prepared for almost any scenario we might face. This weekend we are moving to our new home, which is on a private well and septic system. It’s also in an area much less densely populated. One of our many goals at our new home is to have backup power to the well pump, and have other ways to draw from the well besides the electric pump. I can honestly say my preparedness for my family has helped not only my immediate family during harder times, but also family, friends, and strangers. Our small charger we keep in the truck was used to jump start a stranger’s vehicle one day. My food storage has been used to donate to a couple different family members on several occasions when they hit tight financial times. My first aid kit I keep in my car has been helpful on several occasions- someone burnt themselves with hot grease on a camping trip- I had burn ointment. Someone else had poison ivy- I had creams and benadryl for that. Another occasion. Had, of all tgings, a bug that decided to take up residence in my son’s ear. I had tweezers, a flashlight and hydrogen peroxide to flush and pluck it out. I still haven’t convinced the family and friends I’ve helped that preparing for emergencies is a good idea. They still laugh at my ‘preps’, but I’m not giving up on them! They will eventually have their AHA moment, and I’ll be here to help them learn.
Mary Anne Mandel
We had a water pipe break during a winter storm and were without water for 4 days. Snow was 2 feet deep and plumber could not get to our house for those 4 days. We had to connect several hoses to reach to a neighbors house to fill our bath tubs and fill jars and jugs. We are now prepared with some water storage.
large 1500 gal rain water collections system still need to set up a purification method on it
Jones Foxx Jr.
While Hurricane Hugo wasn’t unexpected,the oak tree in the front yard being blown down and its roots ripping up the water line and totally separating it from the city’s water line was. Everyone else on the street had water restored in a few days. We didn’t have it restored for 2 weeks. And a few days is all the neighborly helpfulness lasted for a bucket of water a day [ despite having helped remove trees of several houses on the street ] Luckily we had acquired several clean barrels prior to the storm [ but not because of it ] and had them filled so we were able to make a decent go of it til the city was able to get to our area and get the water flowing again.
we have a large 1500 gal water reserve
So glad i found this site. We have began the process of preparedness and hope we never have to use it but there is a peace of mind knowing you can care for your family and help others if the situation ever arises.
Post Katrina showed America why you cannot depend upon the government to get you out of an emergency situation be prepared
Wow. I wonder if people are drilling their own wells? One easy way to prepare is to fill empty liquid hand soap and liquid laundry detergent bottles with water. You can wash you hands and hand wash a few things.
Thank you! Great article.
Be ready just in case.
Water seems to be the hardest thing for me to even want to store… It’s bulky, heavy and honestly I’ve never been without it…
But I work disasters and I’ve seen it happen over and over… So I know it doesn’t take much to find oneself very thirsty.
Commenting for the contest… I’m already in a personal state of emergency. Could use the extra gear.
I started prepping years ago. Couldnt afford everything at once so I did what I could afford a little at a time. I bought 25 year shelf life food so I wouldnt have to constantly rotate stuff out and replace it. I do however have some store bought can goods. Besides food I have bought such things as a washtub for laundry with a wringer, 55 gallon barrel for water, a filter and purifyer,stuff to make my own soap,fish antibiotics which I might add I have had to take and they work really well.Stocked up on all first aide stuff I got when on sale.Bought foldable clothe dryers, back up generator. I could go on and on. I have a good start but there still is much to buy.I am so glad I started couple years ago because if I had waited to start with it all now it would be to late except for a few items as this stuff is very expensive. Also I might ad I dehydrate my own food I find on sale and put in mylar bags with o2 absorbers in the bag and do alot of canning as well.
I lived just outside Atlanta when hurricane Dennis came on shore in 2005. Thought for sure we were far enough inland to not be affected. As it moved onshore it brought so much rain that we experienced flash flooding. (12+ inches in just a few hours) Spent all night trying to pull water from our basement apartment. We were lucky though. Many people lost so much in that storm :-(
Entered your contest and ending up ordering 6 cans of freeze dried fruit!
I have always tried to be prepared and it showed when Hurricane Sandy came up the East Coast. I already had emergency supplies packed in labeled waterproof containers. They came in handy for helping friends and neighbors who were caught unawares.
We get ice storms and early or late blizzards that can paralyze the town. We went without power for a week during a couple of winter storms and you found out pretty quick what you could do without and not do without.
I’ve been through hurricanes and blizzards. Our family has stockpiled candles, batteries, blankets, flashlights & lanterns. Wood for our wood burning stove, water storage, & various foods. Each member of our family has their own first aid kit with their own medicinal needs included. Once you’ve been through a natural disaster, you always try to be prepared for any necessity.
Don’t forget your water heater and the water it contains. You might opt for a larger (more gallons) water heater when it needs replacement, and you can double water supply by adding second water heater (same size) also putting another water heater next the area that is farthest from the existing heater, side benefit quicker hot water.
Rainwater collection seems like a great back up as well
While we’ve never been completely caught unaware, we did have an ice storm several years ago that knocked out the power. We were expecting that, typically 3-4 days without power, then back to normal. What we didn’t expect was an 11 day outage and we were running low on water for flushing the toilet. Fortunately, we had a pool, so hubby went out, cut a hole in the ice with his chainsaw, and brought in buckets of poll water to flush with. You just have to think outside the box a bit!