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Hey, bottled water buyers: Coronavirus won’t leave Vegas taps dry, water officials say

Updated March 13, 2020 - 5:00 pm

While the arrival of the coronavirus in Southern Nevada has triggered hoarding of various products, bottled water has been in particular demand.

But Southern Nevada Water Authority officials want to quell fears of people who worry their water supply could be at risk.

Can the water system operate during an outbreak?

The agency’s two water facilities are able to treat and deliver up to 900 million gallons of drinking water every day, and experts can operate the system remotely, according to authority spokesman Bronson Mack. The water authority also has emergency response plans in place, including plans for widespread illness.

Can the virus spread through tap water?

Public health officials say the virus is mainly spread person-to-person — through droplets from a sneeze or a cough or by touching an infected surface. The water authority says there is no evidence indicating the virus could spread through drinking water.

The region’s drinking water also is treated with a combination of ozonation, filtration and chlorination, according to the authority. Chlorination is particularly good at destroying things like viruses and disinfecting the whole system, the authority says.

Is the supply chain at risk?

SNWA says it has a emergency plans that are tested and updated regularly. Officials have plans in place to keep treatment supplies stocked to provide safe drinking water for an extended period of time.

Is hoarding bottled water advised?

The water authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District are ready to deliver water in an emergency, including a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the authority. Under extreme circumstances, officials can make drinking water available through groundwater and other strategies. Still, the authority won’t tell you how to prepare.

The disaster and emergency preparedness website ready.gov, operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, recommends that all Americans have a disaster plan and disaster supply kit that ensures survival in isolation for at least three days. That kit, according to the site, should include one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. For a small family, that equates to a few cases of bottled water.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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