Mayim Chaim

Mayim Chaim

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. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Survivable Water Pipes

Survivable Water Pipes

When an earthquake strikes, it is not just the immediate loss of life that is a concern, but the longer-term damage to critical infrastructure and the effect on human survival.

As we know, water is critical to every living creature, and in an earthquake, when there is damage to the water infrastructure, such as the underground piping, people can be left without this basic life-sustaining commodity.

When traditional solid cast-iron piping is used, an earthquake can cause these to deform and buckle. However, with a new ductile pipe design by Japanese company, Kubota–the pipes are built in a chain-like fashion and expand and contract, flex and bend, but do not easily break.

According to the Wall Street Journal (14 April 2011), Kubota earthquake-resistant pipes even withstood the 9.0 quake in Japan in 2011, and it can withstand “shaking, landslides, and extreme temperatures.

Now Los Angeles is piloting this pipe along 2 miles of its 7,000 miles of piping–they are focusing on “the most vulnerable, fault-line-adjacent areas,” since the piping is 2 1/2 times the price of regular piping.

In the absence of having a device like the Star Trek Replicator to synthesize food and water on the fly, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade our water systems and other critical infrastructure to protect us from the disasters that come.

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” needs to be available not just in good times, but also in bad. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Kubota)