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Discussion: (15 comments)

  1. Thank you so much for this. I feel I should be making the same argument more often, but sometimes I’m tempted to give up. Everyone lately seems to believe the purpose of prices is to ensure that they can get whatever they want at a convenient cost, without ever worrying about where it comes from or what’s necessary to ensure that strangers are motivated to keep supplying it to them.

  2. Walter Reid

    Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the fact that the entire country isn’t in the situation we’re in. We live our lives dependent on the utilities/city/government. Crisis can happen at any time. Folks who are prepared aren’t hoarding, they’ve done their shopping already. And the people who appear to be hoarding may be innocently buying for their extended families and friends. Who is anyone to judge. Stop complaining.

  3. To boot they don’t have a 3 day supply of water around the house as all emergency managers recommend. For example the same story happened in Charleston Wv last year, with the leak. If you have 3 days of water, then short of a hurricane bottled water will make it back and the price distortions will go away. (Recall the one time a flood took Des Monies water supply away for a while).
    Keeping a case of bottled water around is not a huge expense and makes sense even if for example there is a major water main break and its 24 hours till the water is again safe to drink (boil water notice etc)

  4. When I lived in Cedar Rapids we had a water crisis for a week and yes water was hoarded. We were on a trip heading east and found the neighboring town of Animosa 10 miles away didn’t have problem with water at all. We bought 2 cases and some gallons and continued with our trip.

    I think the point is with a little effort it isn’t that hard to find water even in stricken areas.

  5. I can’t imagine an algae bloom that is so toxic that boiling water is not a preventative. Although the Cuyahoga River did catch on fire a few times….

    Price rationing for water? Maybe so. Does a man die from thirst for lack of a billfold? When does ideological fervor become extremist zealotry?

    1. Harold Saxon

      Probably when someone tries to shoehorn in “VA!” or “FDA!” into every post, regardless of the topic.

    2. It isn’t the algae that are toxic, it’s a chemical produced by the algae excreted into the water that is toxic (e.g., disolved arsenic in the water cannot be removed by boiling).

  6. I’ll be darned. You cannot boil the Toledo water to make it safe.

    Evidently, area farms have using Lake Erie as a toilet.

    “DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins – it will increase the concentration of the toxins. Consuming water containing algal toxins may result in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Seek medical attention if you feel you have been exposed to algal toxins and are having adverse health effects. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. Contact a veterinarian immediately if pets or livestock show signs of illness. What happened? What is being done? Lake Erie, which is a source of drinking water for the Toledo water system may have been impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These organisms are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens.”

    Read more at: http://www.bedfordnow.com/news/2014/aug/02/toledo-issues-warning-its-water-supply/

  7. Anyone who’s worried that his neighbor can’t afford the emergency price of water, or that his neighbor is too frail to drive to the next county to find some at the ordinary price, could always do this: Fill his truck up with water (at the emergency price, or from the next county), and go around distributing it for free.

    That is, unless it would be more fair to make other people bear the brunt of the supply disruption, and take care of the necessary charity out of their pockets instead of his.

  8. Seattle Sam

    It may be time to start teaching economics in school again. We seem to have trained a whole lot of people to believe that the value of something should be determined by political consensus rather than by an economic vote of people using their own money.

  9. Richard Rider

    To state the obvious: IF prices DON’T rise, the private sector will not rush to deliver more water to the area where demand is highest. If they DO rise, watch Costco, Walmart and hundreds of smaller entrepreneurs descend on Toledo with all the water the populace could possibly need — driving back down the water prices in short order.

  10. Richard Rider

    Makes a telling case for a Jacuzzi in every back yard. Perhaps tax credits?

    Oddly enough, that shortage factor (given our fire danger and periodic drought in Southern California) was a factor I used to convince The Boss that we needed to install a Jacuzzi. It worked!!

    Heh, heh, heh.

  11. I have a six month old baby. Long before she was born I’ve always kept a two week supply of water in the pantry my wife nicknamed, “The Bomb Shelter.” When my daughter was born I made sure we has enough formula for two week (As well as food for her parents and pets) in case of an emergency.

    Since I’ve bought these items pre-crisis they’re cheap. What does two weeks of water cost at Costco? 20 bucks? And I avoid all the panic striken idiots who greedily swoop in and buy more water than they need. The worst place to be is in a supermarket when a shortage arises and dealing with these rude and occasionally violent idiots. Some people become primitive very quickly.

    And I’m not hoarding. I’ve just taken sensible precautions. I’m allowing my less prepared neighbors a chance to stock up without getting caught up in the looney tunes. Whether you live in a house or apartment, it’s stupid to not have. To least the 3 days of food and water the government recommends you have at the bases minimum.

  12. I have a six month old baby. Long before she was born I’ve always kept a two week supply of water in the pantry my wife nicknamed, “The Bomb Shelter.” When my daughter was born I made sure we has enough formula for two week (As well as food for her parents and pets) in case of an emergency.

    Since I’ve bought these items pre-crisis they’re cheap. What does two weeks of water cost at Costco? 20 bucks? And I avoid all the panic striken idiots who greedily swoop in and buy more water than they need. The worst place to be is in a supermarket when a shortage arises and dealing with these rude and occasionally violent idiots. Some people become primitive very quickly.

    And I’m not hoarding. I’ve just taken sensible precautions. I’m allowing my less prepared neighbors a chance to stock up without getting caught up in the looney tunes. Whether you live in a house or apartment, it’s stupid to not have. To least the 3 days of food and water the government recommends you have at the bare minimum.

  13. Richard Rider

    I’m no doomsday preparer, but in Southern California the danger from “The Big One” always looms. A major big-time earthquake COULD disrupt water, power and sustenance for a week or three. VERY unlikely, but why not be prepared?

    The trick is rotating your stock of stuff. You’re gonna eat and drink anyway — why not keep a multi-week buffer of some essentials stored just in case?

    BTW, we always have a LARGE stock of coffee in storage (thank you, Costco), ready to pounce on the caffeine drug addicts’ weakness for barter or windfall cash — or just to earn the undying gratitude of our less prepared neighbors.

    But I say again — carefully rotate your stock prior to expiration. Easy to do once you think about it.

    And yes, we are an armed household.

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