What do you know about Rural Water Supply?

Blog Post created by dgorham Employee on Sep 29, 2016

Homeowners in rural communities - what do you know about your water supply?


Water is an important part of life, according the United States Geological Survey about 71% of the earth's surface is covered in it [1] and an adult male's body is made up of about 60% of it [2]. We use in so many parts of our lives: cleaning and cleaning, cooling, transportation, farming, manufacturing, and recreation to name a few.


Water is also one of the most common agent used for fire protection. It has chemical and physical properties that make it an effective suppressant and as mentioned previously there is a lot of it. We have also developed effective methods for transporting water from one location to another, usually through pipes, and then storing it. In most urban and suburban areas there is a municipal water supply system that can provide the flows and pressures required for domestic, industrial, and fire protection.


In rural areas buildings are often spread out over a large area and it becomes less efficient to install and maintain a municipal water supply system. Underground wells can provide water to domestic uses but may not be sufficient for fire protection.


Fire departments operating in rural areas will develop pre-plans for water supply operations for fires. This may include identifying sources of water, such as rivers or other bodies of water that can be drafted from, as well as the method for delivering it to the scene of the fire, either through long hose lays or possibly water tender relays.


If you live in a rural area without municipal water it is important you be aware of the fire departments needs to establish water supply in the case of a fire. Boulder County Colorado has developed a document that provides information on emergency water supply for firefighting.


I would like to start a discussion about rural water supply and what the needs and expectations are for the different parties involved including community planners and emergency responders. Future blog posts will address current design requirements for rural firefighting water supply, both for structural and wildland & wildland-urban interface fires.


Participate in the discussion by adding a comment about what your role is and what you know about rural water supply. Scroll to the top of the page to login or signup if you do not already have an account - you do not need to be an NFPA member to participate in the Xchange.



[1] How much water is there on Earth, from the USGS Water Science School

[2] Water properties: The water in you (Water Science School)