When I lived in Tampa, Florida, part of each year’s rituals included pretending winter holidays in the sun really were festive, and buying peanut butter, canned food, and batteries for hurricane season.
My fellow Tampa residents and I feared hurricane-force winds would tear off our roofs, scatter our treasured possessions, and rip out power lines. Then we would be without electricity. And that turned off the water.
We weren’t wrong to worry. After Hurricane Katrina, the area’s residents learned We’re Not Ready.
When a weathercaster (I almost typed "sportscaster"–sometimes they seemed the same) announced a hurricane watch, Tampa residents left work as early as they could to 1) top off the gas tank, and 2) get to the bottled water before everyone else did.
At the VT KnowledgeWorks Technology Showcase last fall, Portaqua’s VP Finance Wally Newton offered me a bagua, a lightweight carrying case used with the company’s Emergency Plant System, a portable water treatment system.
I imagined myself slumped in post-hurricane fatigue with my Tampa neighbors Chelsea, Alvin, and Rick, the Portaqua van arriving, starting up its generator, and using our contaminated swimming pool or the polluted drainage pond as a water source. The operator would push a button, the filthy would become clean, and each of us would be handed a 3-gallon bagua of water.
Having huddled hour after hour in a hallway while wind, rain, and tree branches seemingly tried blow after blow to break through my windows, only to discover when the winds died that the water faucets had, too, I can feel the relief and hope that bagua would deliver.
I’m so grateful. Chelsea, Alvin, and Rick are still in Tampa.