We can’t control the weather, but outages make us wonder if there’s something more

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

We all have plenty of experience with weather and understand we are at its mercy.

We cannot control the rain, the wind or the heat.

Such was the case this week when a summer storm caused a tree limb to fall, knock down some power lines and thus significantly damaged the pumps at Vicksburg’s water treatment facility.

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The outage not only caused a boil water notice for everyone served by the station, but also created a water pressure problem that led to far-reaching problems.

Restaurants were forced to scale back their menus because of the boil water notice, or had to close because of the lack of pressure and inability to even flush toilets.

Schools in the affected area went from managing the day with bottled water for students and bringing in portable toilets, to having to make the hard decision to dismiss early.

Businesses such as car washes and cleaners were shuttered, while the Warren County Courthouse was forced to close early.

We take for granted what we consider the basic necessities in our lives.

We wake up and fully expect our power to be on. When we turn on the faucet we expect to have clean water and when we flush the toilet, we expect it to work.

And, when any of those is missing for even the shortest of times, our lives — our quality of life — is significantly impacted.

We can handle such disruptions when the cause is hurricanes or severe weather that is forecasted and there is time to prepare, both emotionally and physically.

And, this might prove to be the best reminder that such events are often unexpected and that being prepared for such is crucial.

But, with the outages in last 12 months, many are beginning to question the quality of service and the quality of equipment currently being used to manage our city’s water supply.

It will be quite some time before the total economic impact from this week’s outage and boil water notice will be tallied. But, whatever it is, it is far too much.

Our leaders — and residents — need to begin taking seriously the investments needed in our infrastructure, whether it is our water system, our waste water system or our roads and bridges.

We cannot let a simple summer storm create the long-term problems that we have faced this week. We need to be better than that.