Again, I want to point out that I am not the kind of guy that will (or even wants to) spend my life worried about things that haven't happened or may never happen. I love life and I love seeing everything that this earth has to offer. However, I am also a person that subsribes to the Boy Scout philsophy of "Be Prepared". The meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise. I want to know what might happen so I can make sure that I am prepared.
I was reading an article from a government agency in southern California. http://www.wrd.org/engineering/earthquake-water-recovery-california.php It dealt with surviving a big earthquake of 7.8. (A big earthquake...yes, but remember the Japan earthquake was a 9.0, over 30 times stronger than a 7.8) A panel was asked questions about what infrastructure was in jeopardy (pipelines, water tanks, wells, aqueducts, reservoirs), how the damage would be assessed, how repairs would be conducted, how long water supply outages would occur, and where emergency water supply sources could be obtained. Some of the conclusions were: (I added the bold facing)
- Fault movement will likely cause major damage of the infrastructure crossing it, including the main aqueducts bringing water to Southern California from Northern California and the Colorado River. Repairs may be hampered due to damaged roads and large scale-fires.
- The most severe damage will be closest to the fault, but even in the Los Angeles area there will be damage to pipelines and other infrastructure due to intense shaking. In addition, the Met / LADWP outages from aqueduct damage will impact the local water supply.
- In the first few days after the quake, there may be no water available due to infrastructure breaks and loss of power. After that, repairs will bring supplies online slowly. Each agency will be busy with their own systems, and repairs may take weeks to 6 months or more. New water pipelines may be in very short supply, as they are not in stock and will need to be manufactured.
- A "Potable Water Plan" should be devised to describe to the public how to use water during the first few days of the emergency, when treatment plants may be offline. Avoid "Boil Water Orders" because gas lines in homes may be ruptured and people with gas stoves may cause unintended explosions. Instead, a "Purified" or "Bottled" water order should be made to emphasize drinking treated water instead of boiling it.
This brings me to the point that I am trying to make regarding greendocking. We feel like we are ready to deal with this situation because we have a better understanding what can happen. We live in an RV with a 30 gallon fresh water tank. We try to keep it full at all times. In the back of our truck we have a 5 gallon water tank and 5 gallon in our portable solar shower. We have identified water sources within walking distance and a found a remote mountain spring should we find that we have to move to a safer location until order is restored. (Another great thing about having our house on wheels) We visit this little spring on fun 'greendocking' camping trips. We talk about what edible plants are available to supplement our food storage supplies. I look for game trails for trapping and hunting and know how to skin, gut, and cook these animals. Basically we are all set up to live for a very long period of time.
I think that I should mention that the recent Virgina earthquake was not a major earthquake. The Japan earthquake released nearly 30,000 times more energy than that. However, this east coast earthquake caused some 200 million dollars in damage and could be felt from Canada to Alabama. If it would have been a 6.8 instead of a 5.8, 30 times more energy would have been released. The damage would have been much more severe and more widespread.
I plan to address some of the 'unusual' emergencies which can occur in my next several posts. Hopefully, just thinking about these possible events will get you better prepared in the unlikely event that something horrible happens in your area. Practice makes perfect. Get out and go camping! Even if nothing out of the ordinary ever occurs, at least your preparation will help you get out in nature and enjoy some time with your family. I will continue to repeat this message with each new blog that I write. Happy Trails!