During Hurricane Harvey, many of us suddenly had to think about water — and whether or not water would be safe or not. And while Houston is on its way to recovery, there’s still a lot of people struggling. The thing is that we need water; we have to have it to survive, because of the multiple roles water plays in the body. But when water suddenly can’t be trusted easily, what do you do?
First, you have to learn the difference between good water and bad water. This can be hard, because all water might seem like good water. Good water is more specifically known as drinking water or potable water, because it’s been purified and is safe to drink and use while cooking. This water usually comes from the city. When you buy water at the store, whether it’s a water jug or a 12 pack of water bottles, this is also potable water and has been cleared for sale. You may see ‘taken from natural springs’ on the label, but that water has still been through a purification process.
On the other hand, bad water can sometimes be very easy to tell. If your water doesn’t run clear, you’ve got a problem. You likely know that you’re not supposed to drink directly from natural water sources, like ponds or lakes — but sometimes bad water can be more subtle than that. When chemical waste is dumped into a water source, chemical organisms can affect the water. In the aftermath of a natural event, the water can be dangerous. When Hurricane Harvey happened, it rained so much in parts of Houston that the natural topsoil was washed away, and infected water. If you or your children splashed around in the water during a break from the rain, you were exposed to polluted water.
While it’s been two months since Harvey, it can still be hard to think about all the damage that it did. Water should never be our enemy. If you’re unsure about whether your water is okay, switch to bottled water while you get it figured out. There are also ways to determine the water quality at home, which we’ll cover in our next blog.