Modern Nashville has never seen a crisis like the one caused by last weekend’s rainstorms and subsequent flooding. Thousands of our residents have been displaced, lost their homes, cars, clothing, and in some cases the most basic necessities for everyday living. At least nine have lost their lives.
Mayor Karl Dean announced this afternoon that the damage assessment has topped $1 billion, and crews remain in the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods accounting for even more. The president has declared Davidson and three other counties disaster areas, and help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is on the way.
As well, the outpouring of support from the citizens and businesses of this city has been tremendous. Volunteer efforts have been wildly successful, as have fundraising pleas. There has been virtually no criminal activity, according to Metro police. Instead of raiding people down on their luck, Nashvillians are lifting them up. It is humbling to watch.
But amid all this, citizens seem to be missing the call to conserve water. The city has two water treatment facilities: one is underwater and the other is working double-time. Meanwhile, our water reserves remain at less than 50 percent.
Metro government has issued multiple requests to cut your water usage in half, and the state last night imposed a mandatory water cutback, the first of its scale in Tennessee history.
They — and now we — are asking you to limit your water usage to essentials: drinking, food preparation, keeping your hands and body clean. Take a shower every other day. Hold off on that load of laundry. Let your dishes sit in the sink a few more days. Don’t use your dishwasher. Don’t water your lawn. Don’t wash your car. Metro Water is not going to shut off your tap, so don’t fill your bathtub with “reserves.”
If we all pitch in to conserve water, this disaster — already epic in proportion for so many — will not bring catastrophe to everyone.