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My ex-wife used to tease me about keeping a supply of drinking water on-hand (12-15 gallons at the time) until an incident occurred. We were living in a close-in suburb of Washington DC, and our drinking water came from a plant in DC fed by the Potomac. A brief, but heavy storm system upriver from DC caused an increase in turbidity (muddiness) of the in-flow, and it overwhelmed the pre-treatment filtration system, allowing a lot of organic material to pass into the chlorination stage of the water treatment. Too much organic material in water decreases the effectiveness of the chlorine and other disinfectants used to treat drinking water. A “boil water” alert was given by the PTB.

I heard the news as I was making my afternoon commute home, and stopped by a grocery store for a few items. While I was there, I picked up an additional 20 liters of water (in case my elderly neighbors would need it). I spent about another 25-30 minutes doing the rest of my shopping. When I went to check-out, I passed through the beverage aisle, and it was now half-emptied of bottled water (just in that half hour). News reports later that evening showed video, after video, of empty shelves in supermarkets in the area.

When I got home, I saw that my wife had already brought out one of the stored water containers in order to mix-up some formula for our infant. I asked if she would have rather spent time boiling tap-water, then letting it cool, to make formula since she had described my water storage as “paranoia”. The look on her face was priceless.

She didn’t agree with me about many other things related to even small-scale prepping. I guess that’s one of the reasons she’s my EX-wife.