An old friend of mine lives in Iowa. She contacted me with information about what's happening there. How quickly clean drinking water can disappear even when there's plenty of water around. This quote is part of an article published today by Associated Press Writers on yahoo news:
Iowa's worst damage so far was in Cedar Rapids, a city of more than 120,000. The Cedar River crested there Friday night at nearly 32 feet, 12 feet higher than the old record set in 1929. The river had dropped more than 3 feet by Saturday afternoon.
Murky, petroleum- and garbage-choked water inundated three collection wells and threatened the fourth before several hundred volunteers staged a last-ditch sandbagging operation.
Water lapped to within 3 feet of the improvised, 4-foot-high wall surrounding the brick pumping station before it began to recede. Two portable generators, one as big as a semitrailer, roared around the clock to keep the three pumps inside running.
"It's the little engine that could," said Ron Holtzman, one of several people who came to watch the operation Saturday from a nearby foot bridge.
Residents not forced to leave their homes took the warnings to conserve seriously.
Kathy Wickham, 65, was collecting water from the dehumidifier in her basement and has been bathing from the 6-inch-deep enamel washbasin she used as a child on the farm.
"I grew up without any running water, so I'm going back to my childhood," she said.
Raejean White posted bright yellow signs at all six entrances to the Preston Terrace Condominiums that read: "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."
In Catherine Holt's household, there are nine children ranging in age from 2 to 17 — including four teenage girls. She said they're making do with baby wipes and water stored earlier in the week in milk jugs and soda bottles.
"So what if it stinks?" said Holt, who closed off one of the family's two bathrooms and forbade the children from using any faucets. "This is so minor compared to what other people are going through."
Additional comment: check for information on the business of drinking water at No Impact Man.