Texas Water Crisis: Keeping Your Drinking Water Safe During a Winter Storm

Clean drinking water is a crucial part of our health and well being. But regrettably, it’s something many of us take for granted. The ongoing Texas water crisis demonstrates how important it is for us to adequately prepare for the likelihood of similar water issues and infrastructural failures and the dangers of such events to our water supply and quality at home. But what’s going on in Texas exactly? And what proactive steps can you take to ensure your water is safe in a similar situation?

What’s Happening in Texas?

Texas is known for its wide-spreading deserts and severe heat waves. But right now, the US state is struggling to recover from a devastating week of unprecedented winter storms, which meteorologists said stemmed from an “Arctic outbreak” near the US-Canada border.

Temperatures in some parts of the state plummeted as low as 13 degrees, knocking water treatment plants offline, freezing water wells, breaking water mains, and bursting pipes. The extreme cold also caused significant disruptions to the Texas power grid, leaving millions of households without electricity. But even as the power flickered back on for most homes and businesses, Texans now have to confront a new, dire crisis: a shortage of safe drinking water or no water at all.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says over 800 public water systems serving 162 of the state’s 254 counties had been disrupted as of Feb. 18, affecting 13.1 million Texans, according to a New York Times report on the crisis. As a result, people have to be waiting in long lines in the below-freezing weather to buy bottled water, but grocery stores are quickly running out. Plus, because of the low water pressure, broken pipes, and leaks, many municipalities started issuing boil-water notices to dozens of communities throughout the state to prevent residents from ingesting harmful bacteria and other microbes through the water trickling from their taps.

What Happens if You Drink Water Without Boiling It?

Drinking-water is typically vulnerable to microbial pathogen contamination from various sources. For instance, microbes can get into well water from human and animal fecal waste traveling through the soil into underground aquifers that serve water wells. Still, water main breaks and burst pipes, synonymous with the Texas crisis, could introduce bacteria, viruses, parasites, and a slew of other potentially harmful microbes into the water as it travels to your home. That’s why boil-water notices are vital, as they can help protect the public from exposure to those harmful water contaminants. But what happens if you didn’t know there’s a boil-water advisory in your community and drink the water without boiling it?

Drinking unboiled water, especially during a boil-water advisory, increases your risk of ingesting harmful microbial contaminants known to cause a myriad of health-related illnesses, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Shigellosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Upset stomach
  • Intestinal illnesses
  • Waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery

Other health complications (too many to list here) may also leave you in a coma and even cause death.

How Boiling Water Makes It Safer to Drink

Boiling your water is one of the safest and most effective ways to purify it. Boiling kills disease-causing organisms in water, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, as most of these microorganisms cannot survive in high temperatures. These temperatures essentially damage the microbes’ structural components and disrupt their DNA and life processes, so they cannot reproduce. But keep in mind that boiling can be very time-consuming, especially for an average family that consumes the daily recommended amount of water every day. For this reason, you might want to turn off the heat before the water reaches the recommended boiling point so that you can keep up with the demand. But the last thing you want is for you and your family to drink partially-boiled water with most of the pathogens still active and present. Beyond that, bacteria residue can remain after boiling, which can come with many hidden dangers.

UV Purification: A More Reliable Alternative

Boiling your water is undoubtedly an excellent way to destroy potentially harmful microbes in your water supply. However, it has a few limitations that reduce its effectiveness against waterborne microbes. And although all municipal water providers are required to chlorinate their water and adhere to specific safety standards, once the water leaves the treatment plant and travels to your home, it can pick up bacteria and other pathogens along the way. But thanks to UV purification, you can safely and reliably destroy bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other disease-causing microbes in your water supply.

UV purification systems provide an added layer of protection against waterborne microbes, especially during a boiling water advisory. These devices work by using ultraviolet light to disrupt

uv system
UV Water Filtration System

microorganisms’ DNA to prevent them from functioning correctly or reproducing. If you have a UV system installed in your home, there’s no need to boil your water. If not, our unique, robust, and reliable UV Water Purification System (UV5-15) can provide a line of defense against bacterial contamination in your water.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect after installing the UV5-15 in your home:

  • It kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and other microbes: Our UV water purification system can kill 99.9 percent of microscopic pathogens, such as E. coli bacteria and parasites, like cryptosporidium and giardia. It also targets and destroys those associated with waterborne illnesses, including gastroenteritis, flu, typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis.
  • It is safe and uses no chemicals (environmentally-friendly): The UV5-15 provides chemical-free water disinfection.
  • It is cost-effective and requires low maintenance: Our UV5-15 Ultraviolet Water Purification System consumes very little energy, and the bulbs only need to be replaced every year or so.
  • It doesn’t impact taste or odor: It provides safer, tastier water for your family without affecting its taste or odor (unlike chlorination).
  • It is compatible with some other water filtration systems: If you have a whole-house filtration system installed, you can add the UV5-15 to it for better-quality water to drink, cook with, do laundry and the dishes, etc.

For those people who are experiencing power outages on top of a boil water alert or advisory, note that you can power the UV water purification system with a portable generator. This is key in ensuring you and your family are safe.

Furthermore, when you purchase the UV5-15 directly from us, we provide:

  • Free shipping
  • Factory-direct savings over 50 percent
  • A lifetime warranty
  • A six-month money-back guarantee
  • Affordable financing
  • And more

If you need more information on UV water purification or have questions about our UV5-15 unit, please call us at 800-589-5592 or write us a message.

Final Thoughts

Frigid weather conditions are quite common and are likely to become more frequent in years to come. With this in mind, we should use all we’ve learned about how frigid weather can impact water supplies and quality to better prepare for similar events. We also need to recognize that we cannot depend solely on the government or the grid during a crisis. When a disaster hits, it’s already too late to prepare. Many didn’t try to buy propane, gasoline, or firewood until all the supplies dried up. So, consider installing a UV purification system to safeguard your drinking water from disease-causing pathogens, especially in emergencies where access to clean, bacteria-free water is crucial.