by Joe Harwood, Eugene Water & Electric Board
Eugene Water & Electric Board customers who want to prepare for earthquakes, forest fires or other emergencies that could interrupt the delivery of drinking water can now pre-order 3-gallon water storage containers at a discounted price.
Starting on March 22 EWEB customers can pre-order 3-gallon bisphenol A-free water storage containers. Storing an emergency supply of water – along with food and other life-sustaining items – is a critical component in any household emergency kit.
EWEB wants to help its customers prepare for such emergencies by making water storage containers easily available. The utility has been working for more than three years with the American Red Cross and other participating agencies to raise awareness that emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility.
EWEB donates $1 of the discounted, $5 charge for each container to the American Red Cross. Since 2014, customer container purchases have helped EWEB donate more than $61,000 to the Red Cross through the emergency water container program. This gift has enabled the disaster relief agency to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from calamities big and small, including the local chapter’s response during the December ice storm.
“Following a disaster or loss of water supply, clean drinking water may not be available, so it makes sense to store enough water for several days,” said Frank Lawson, EWEB’s general manager. “You need a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and basic sanitation.”
Starting Wednesday, EWEB customers can pre-order containers online at www.eweb.org/waterreliability. The $5 charge per container will be applied to a customer’s water bill after the containers are picked up.
The spring container distribution will take place during Drinking Water Week on Sunday, May 7, through Wednesday, May 10, to allow multiple days for pick-up. Due to limited supplies, EWEB is asking customers who previously have purchased discounted containers not to sign up for more so that other customers can start their emergency kits.
Each time this special offer is made available, the containers have sold out quickly. The program has helped nearly 3,500 households prepare for the unexpected.
In addition to the water containers, EWEB’s water emergency preparation efforts include fortifying and upgrading critical infrastructure such as water distribution pipes, reservoirs and the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant on the McKenzie River. The utility is also planning to build a second, smaller filtration plant on the Willamette River that should be online in the next several years.
For guidance on assembling a household emergency kit, view the Red Cross Prepare Guide resource book.