Urban areas that are supplied from surface-water sources are especially vulnerable to major disruption of their water supplies. Such disruption could result from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or landslides or from such other causes as dam failures fallout of radioactive material or other toxic substance from the atmosphere or other toxic substances from the atmosphere or direct introduction (either accidental or deliberate) of any substance that would render the water unfit for use. Prolonged disruption of public water supplies not only causes personal hardships but also endangers health and safety unless suitable alternative emergency supplies can be provided. The degree of hardship and danger generally increases in direct relation to the population density. Ground water because it occurs beneath protective soil and rock materials is less subject to sudden major contamination than are surface-water bodies. For this reason and also because of its widespread availability in the Puget Sound region ground water is especially desireable as a sources of emergency supplies for drinking or other uses requiring water of good quality. In much of the area existing wells would be suitable as safe sources of emergency supplies.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Emergency ground-water supplies in the Seattle-Tacoma urban complex and adjacent areas, Washington