Editor’s note: Because we like to nag, we’re updating this editorial from last month explaining why you don’t need to buy bottled water as part of your hurricane prep if you get municipal water in a city like Charlotte. So put the bottles back on the grocery shelves, and stay safe and dry as the wind and rain from Hurricane Michael pass through.
Do you really need to buy bottled water when a significant storm approaches Charlotte?
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Folks sure seem to think so. When Hurricane Florence was our doorstep last month, Twitter and Facebook were dotted with reports of water being sold out at grocery stores throughout the city.
Stop. Even with a hurricane, buying bottled water is a waste of money and an unnecessary use of plastic for those who get city water.
This, from Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn:
Isn’t the same true in Charlotte? After all, the city has been providing water since 1899 to Charlotte residents, and now those in Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, Huntersville, Davidson, and Cornelius. There’s no record of a storm contaminating the city’s water, including in 1989, when Hugo devastated our city but didn’t affect the municipal water supply.
Just in case, we called Charlotte Water to see if the Greensboro mayor’s message applies here.
“Right now, we are prepared for any emergency,” Charlotte Water spokesperson Jennifer Frost said.
The three biggest threats to Charlotte’s water supply from a hurricane are fallen trees uprooting and rupturing neighborhood water service lines; similar damage to above-ground sewer pipe creek crossings; and an increase in overflows from sewer manholes and lift stations because of large volumes of storm water runoff.
None of those situations would result in large-scale service interruptions, however. “We’ve built a great deal of redundancy into the system,” Frost said. “Everything is set and ready to go.”
What that means: Relax. If you get your water from a well, which relies on electricity, it’s always a good idea to keep three days worth of water
(one gallon per person per day) when a significant hurricane approaches.
If you get city water but are intent on being extra safe, fine. Turn on a tap in your home and fill some reusable water bottles or airtight containers. If you keep them in a cool, dark place, they’ll last for up to six months, FEMA says.