Saturday, February 13, 2010

When the Levee Breaks...and a Group Order...

Led Zeppelins rendition of the famous blues song..."When the Levee Breaks" is about the Great Mississippi flood of 1927...which is touted as being the most destructive river flood in US history. If you can keep your rockin' out down to a minimum and really think about the lyrics...they are pretty sobering. It is the soliloquy of a poor misery over losing his home...way of life...and love.

While we can feel bad for the man and the circumstances he found himself in...the fact that he was in them should come as no surprise. We might be prone to scoff at the stupidity of the little piggy who built his house out of straw and then had it blown down by the wolf...and yet we in the US do the same thing. We do not generally build our homes suited to the environment and possible disasters...and then we pay for it sooner or later.

Here are a couple of examples...

The Hollywood hills...where the movie stars build their huge multimillion dollar homes...are covered with chaparral. The leaves on chaparral plants contain many flammable substances, such as oils, fats, resins, alcohols, and terpens that actually encourage fire. Every once and the natural life cycle of these plants...they will burst into flames and spread to what is around them. And chaparral burns HOT!! The wind whips over the hills and as there is no structure to impede it's blow...the the homes are consumed.


In other countries that have the Phillipines in the photo...they do not try to lift up their puny arm to try to stop natures course...they simply build their homes on stilts. Throughout our would be a surprise to see a home on stilts...we build levee's to keep the water out and put our homes flat on the ground...and then mourn when our home on a flood plain is filled with water.  Then point fingers at someone for their ineptitude for letting it happen.  Such has certainly been the story of those who battled Hurricane Katrina. While I am not advocating that we all have stilt homes...I am saying that we should know the risks associated with where and how we build...and locally we do have risks.

Sacramento...the Next Katrina

A while back...the history channel did a piece called "Sacramento...the Next Katrina".  The basic thrust of the show was to make the case that we in the Sacramento region are the most likely...of any other place in the have a Hurricane Katrina type flooding disaster.  Not that it would come because of a hurricane...but because of our failing levees letting water through during excessive rain or an earthquake.

This threat actually spurned the actions of Governor Schwarzenegger to declare a State of Emergency for California's Levee System. He said that "extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist within the California levee system". Read closely what the California Department of Water Resources had to say!  While levee work has been done since that time...they are in no way impervious to breach.  Perhaps one day...if Arnold is still Governor...he will share one of the biggest "I TOLD YOU SO's" in US history.

Preparing for Flooding

Take the time to read and obey the instructions on this free pamphlet "So you live behind a levee" that is published by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It will help you get prepared. You might also learn from the people of Katrina...and avoid making the same mistakes.  Like not having an emergency evacuation pack filled with supplies and a way to get water!

When surveyed...those that went through Katrina said that the two things they worried about the most were medical care...and drinking water.  If you recall...most had all the water in the world at their feet...but not a drop to drink.  Their water supply had been compromised and the streets were filled with water that was a mixture of sewage and who knows what else.  There was only so much water that a person could carry when evacuating...and after that was used up...many went thirsty.  People fought over water...children cried for water...they were helpless.

"You could filter raw sewage and drink water cleaner than bottled water!"

That is what the people at Sawyer told me today on the phone about their Zero point two water filters.  Water filtration technology justs get better and better.  I have a couple of water filters already...that were the best available at the time...but I will be buying a Sawyer Zero point two water filter...why?

1.  It is proven.  This is a filter that is being used to provide water for WHOLE VILLAGES of people with very unsafe drinking water.  The kind of places where the ponds that they get their water from...are the same ponds where their animals bathe and drink...and yes...even poop.

2.  Unlike other filters...this one NEVER NEEDS TO HAVE CARTRIDGES REPLACED!!!! It could go for a million gallons and keep on working!

3.  With many water filtration systems out have to run a hand pump to filter the water.  People have problems with seals leaking...their hands get tired...not with this feeds with gravity.

4.  There is no scarcity mentality with this.  Because it never requires replacement of a don't have to think..."If I let the community use this...I am wearing out the life of my filter...and could put my own family in I'd better keep it for myself".  You could truly be a good samaritan...without the risk!

5.  From the Sawyer website...

  • Viral Purification The first (and thus far only) portable filtration device to remove viruses mechanically. It does so at a 5.5 log (99.9997%) rate, exceeding EPA and NSF recommendations.
  • Biological Filtration: removes 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria like salmonella, cholera, and E. coli. And 6 log (99.9999%) of all Protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. You will find these removal rates to equal or exceed competitive options. Therefore Sawyer offers the highest level of filtration available.
  • It removes...
    • Bacteria Which Cause:
      Cholera, Botulism (Clostridum botulinum), Typhoid (Salmonella typhi), Amoebic Dysentery, E. Coli, Coliform Bacteria, Streptococcus, Salmonella
      Protozoan (Cyst):
      Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora
      Viruses:Hepatitis A (HAV), Poliovirus, Norwalk, Rotavirus, Adenovirus, Hepatitis E (HEV), Coxsackievirus, Echovirus, Reovirus, Astrovirus, Coronavirus (SARS) 
In laymens terms...that means that it will get out the stuff that will make you ill or kill you.  With so many is not the actual event that kills people...but ingesting the things on that list after the fact.  2.2 million children die each year from diarrhea caused by unclean living conditions.  If you think that is just a third world country problem...a widespread flood could prove otherwise.

Here is some information on how the Sawyer water filter compares to other filters.


I really...really want people to have these.  The reason for my calling Sawyer was to discuss with them price breaks for larger orders.  We are still working out the details...but basically they are willing to give people who order with me a 20% discount for whatever quantity we purchase.  If we purchase a yet to be determined large quantity...(probably 50+) they will make the discount greater.

The two items I would like to do in bulk this time are...

1.  The Point Zero Two bucket filter.  This I consider a base camp kind of filter.  You set it up for lots to use.  The prices are rough at this point but...REI is selling the Point Zero Two bucket adapters for $130.  20% off of that would be $104.  Remember...that is really rough at this may be more or less.  As soon as I have more concrete information...I will do a post on the details.  


2.  sp135 - The water bottle version of the point zero two.  This is more of an "on the go" product.  It requires no bucket and gets the same filtration...just on a smaller scale.  Great for backpacking or emergency bags.  I don't have a price on this yet...but I don't expect it to be much less than the bucket filter...if at all.

Basically how my group orders have worked in the past is people email me at and let me know the quantity of what they want...and commit to it. I set a time frame for how long I will accept orders.  People contact everyone they know to invite them to participate in the order.  When I know the quantity and the final price...I will request that everyone send me a check made out to Stephen Nix.  Only those that send money will have items ordered.  I write one check for the order...and then when the order comes...I contact you to come and pick them up from my home.  If you have ordered for your ward or would take them back for people to get them from you.  If you are in a geographically undesirable distance from rare instances I have shipped (with the receiver picking up the shipping cost).

I generally round up to the nearest that we aren't dealing with pay for any returns of defective products...and any unforseen costs.  (I don't want to get stuck paying out of my pocket for anything!)

Go ahead and pass the word around that things are brewing for an order...and let me know via email what kind of numbers you might be looking at.

One last thing.  I am telling you...a filter in the $100 range might be a lot of money to you.  Especially now with the economy.  This in my mind is a foundational piece of preparedness equipment.  If the day comes that your family has not a drop of water to drink...I bet on that day you might think of some ways that you could have afforded to take care of this!  Perhaps just giving up a few frivolous expenses might be enough!  Regret doesn't quench thirst.


  1. I will definitly order one of these. I really appreciate your last few posts ... on bandanas, mosquito netting, the tipi tent and now the water filters. Thanks for all the good info.

  2. Stephen,

    I'm glad you liked my idea about the Sawyer filter. They make well designed (and durable) products.


  3. Yeah Garrett. I just responded to an earlier conversation you had where you recommended them. You got me to investigate them...I was sold...and as a result...100's of families will buy them and get prepared... I am being contacted by members of neighboring stakes that want their stakes to participate. I expect we will hit the 500+ mark and get a killer deal. Isn't that neat. Like a preparedness have with a comment on a blog...put things in motion for a multitude of people to have water to drink...when they would have had none. Perhaps you have saved untold lives.