Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Hello Evoke,

Currently This area of Boston is under a Boil Water Order. A water main pipe burst at 10am on May first leaving 2 million residence without water. Many local drug stores like CVS have already reported selling out of water.

It has not been announced when the Boil Water Order will be lifted but aid in the crisis 2.5 million gallons of water have been ordered that will soon arrive in 63 trailers carrying 55,000 gallons and costing $8000 each-- a total cost of $509,100. This water will be given out to high risk populations like the elderly.

It also has been reported that stores are beginning to raise prices on bottled water. Unstoppable market system or result of corrupt and evil store owners--discuss.

Anyway, Boston has requested aid from the Federal Government. I am excited to see Boston's resilience in action, although I hope it doesn't last too long :)

I now return to exile

-Live from the scene of the event

Views: 56

Comment by Samiran Roy on May 2, 2010 at 11:09pm
Hell. What is the report on the casualties?
If stores raise prices like that, and cross a certain limit, people might rebel and use force to get the water.
Comment by Shanna on May 2, 2010 at 11:18pm
I vote corrupt store owners, but also stupid water buyers. Boiling water kills any parasites that may be in the water, and while I won't know if I've got a parasite for another week, my roommates and I seem to be doing good so far drinking said boiled water.

What's amazing is how quickly the alert went out...so fast that the back up systems weren't online yet (meaning MWRA was providing what was left of their clean water until after people had been notified of the leak and the fact that untreated water would soon be reaching our taps).

Though a rush on bottled water could not be prevented, I think Boston issuing a cap on the number of gallons one person could buy as well as the price stores can charge would have helped both the rush on water and peoples' pocket books a bit more. Still, when all is said and done, I think the city is handling the 'catastrophe' pretty well, though it remains to be seen how long I'll have to boil water for brushing my teeth and drinking.

One question I would like the answer to, though, is how long will the reserve water supplies last? The answer to that question might very well warrant a rush on bottled water as stores start shipping in more, in which case caps on price and purchase should be instituted soon. I doubt it will come to that, but it's possible.

--Also live from the scene in Boston
Comment by Wintermute on May 2, 2010 at 11:28pm
@Samiran-- Hopefully it doesn't get to that. I have a hard time blaming the store owners for raising prices, supply and demand just happens. Governor Patrick is telling stores not to raise prices though.

@Shanna-- I don't think the damage is too difficult to repair, at least from what they are reporting so hopefully clean water will be up and running soon. I too was amazed by the speed of the alert. I saw a News brief, there were signs on the highway, also radio broadcasts as well.

Weather wise we have rain for three days and then heat. I am going to set up rain collection systems (aka a bucket) so that I don't have to boil water :) photos maybe.

its all fun and games though until I'm thirsty. :)
Comment by Samiran Roy on May 2, 2010 at 11:34pm
What about juices and soft drinks?
Comment by Turil Cronburg on May 2, 2010 at 11:43pm
What's bizarre is all the people buying bottled water, when the instructions are clearly to boil the tap water. We've got an under sink filter (mainly to remove lead) and so I'm happily drinking tap water like I normally do. But it's clear that there is a wh*** lot of irrational behavior going on, and it is interesting that it happened during this week's mission with all the discussion of how to more effectively deal with a crisis situation.
Comment by Wintermute on May 2, 2010 at 11:44pm
Update, I just found out that the town that I live in Bedford was extra prepared. Bedford established a resiliency plan just in case of an emergency like this happens. The plan is that Bedford buys water from the next town over (Billerica). So the water that is running from my taps is actually perfectly clean drinking water. I just found out we have received calls from the police department informing us not to waste any, so I am still going to collect rain water tonight and tomorrow so I can lighten my burden on the supply.
Comment by Wintermute on May 2, 2010 at 11:46pm
Well groups specifically crowds act more chaotic then people normally would by themselves, the "mob mentality". It is interesting the parallel to this crisis and the missions in Evoke which is why I felt I must return from my exile to blog about it.
Comment by Shanna on May 2, 2010 at 11:54pm
@Wintermute-- I've heard that about the damage, but they're still worried about unknown damage that may have been caused by the increased pressure. If the pipes weren't damaged beyond the main break, then we should be in the clear. Can't say the weather is making me any less thirsty.

@Samiran Roy-- My roommates and I have bought more orange and apple juice than usual because they're a good alternative, but caffeinated soft drinks actually dehydrate you, and those are what are usually sold in our vending machines. For others, though non-caffeinated beverages are an excellent option (though I'm trying to stay away from them because of my environmentalist aversion to plastic bottles...we'll see how long that one lasts...)

@Turil-- The problem with a filter is that it doesn't kill parasites, it only removes physical particles. Parasites are what the MWRA is worried about, which is why we've been told to boil. I do agree that the irrational behavior is rather ridiculous, especially since the emphasis has been on boiling water, not buying bottled. My roommate and I have discussed it though, and we've decided that it makes sense if you've got little kids, since its easier to instruct them to drink only out of a bottle than it would be to explain not drinking out of a tap or worrying about the heat of the water in a pot on the stove. With kids, bottled is just easier.
Comment by Turil Cronburg on May 2, 2010 at 11:59pm
Shana, many filters do in fact remove parasites. You just have to get ones that are 1.0 microns or smaller.

And with kids, which we have here (two five year old awesome boys) it's definitely perfectly easy to boil water, which their mom has been doing since yesterday (she's had one of those irrational responses, and doesn't trust the filter). It's not difficult to explain, and gives the family a great opportunity to talk about important science. :-)
Comment by Shanna on May 3, 2010 at 12:07am
Turil, excellent. I learn something new everyday. I'll have to keep my eye out for one of those in the future. I'd be like your wife if I had kids, but I still understand why some people would go the easy way (it strikes me that those might be the same parents who would do their children's homework to ensure that they get good grades).

Still, it takes all kinds in this world, and I think women are generally (but not always) more overly cautious than men when it comes family health. We're also generally thought to be more irrational, though wintermute is definitely on the ball when he says people in groups act in ways they wouldn't if they were on their own.


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