You can only live about 3 days without water--that's why protecting our water is so critical.
Emergency Management (May/June 2013) says, "There are numerous ongoing threats to our water supply. Some of them [natural or man made] could be catastrophic."
- Water poisoning: Already in the 1st century, Roman Emperor Nero poisoned the wells of his enemies. These days you'd need a large supply, like "several dump trucks of cyanide or arsenic to poison a reservoir. Plus the water system is monitored and has purification protections such as chlorine, so it's not that simple. We can also issue "boil alerts" for people to boil the water before drinking it. Then again, we saw what some radiation did to the Japanese water supplies after Fukushima.
- Blowing it up: The water system infrastructure can be disrupted using explosives, so keeping intruders far away from it is important to keeping it safe.
- Earthquakes/Hurricanes: Much of the water system pipes are old--some built during the Civil War--and these can be destroyed by natural disasters or even a construction crew jackhammer hitting in the wrong place.
- Electrical outage: If you shut down the electricity, you shut down the water pumps...and even with generators taking over for a while, your up against the clock, if you don't get the juice flowing again soon.
- Cyber Attack: Our water systems, like other industrial control systems are vulnerable to cyber attack. A hacker that gets control of the systems could overheat it, overtreat it, flood it, or otherwise break it and shut it down.
Keeping our water infrastructure secure, the water supply safe and potable, the transport pipes intact, the electricity working, and the systems under control--are not little matters--they are the difference between life and death for millions.
As in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, when the ship gets blown off course into unchartered waters and the crew is thirsty for water and desperate to survive, the poet states, "Water, Water. Everywhere. And All The Boards Did Shrink; Water, Water, Everywhere. Nor Any Drop To Drink."
In Hebrew, there is a short saying that sums up this topic, "Mayim Chaim"--water is life. ;-)
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)