What Can Drillers Do to Help After Hurricanes?
I thought this would be a busy and interesting time for me lately, and it was. But not for the reasons I planned.
I had a pending consulting job in Texas. The customer and I exchanged phone calls and text messages, agreed on procedures for the job. As the date approached, I made a trip to Texas to look over the job. It was about then that we noticed a small blip on the weather map — Hurricane Harvey. We all know what happened next. Job postponed, possibly canceled.
I got home just in time for Hurricane Irma to come through the back door (Florida), and hit us with a pretty good glancing blow. We suffered little damage here in south Georgia, but were without power for a few days. I sat in my truck, charging my phone, connected my computer to my air-card and waited it out. Felt a lot like sitting in my truck on location, waiting for a rig crew to trip pipe. We were certainly better off than Florida.
They ordered for mandatory evacuations of my county, so my bride was understandably worried. I watched the weather, all the news and sat feeds I could, until I made up my mind that we wouldn’t get a direct hit, and decided to stay. Turned out OK. One tree down (no damage, just firewood), a couple limbs and that was it. Very lucky.
As I watched the heroic rescue efforts, I was in awe at the goodness of human nature. The so-called Cajun Navy was just folks like us that happened to have suitable boats and wanted to help. They were from all over and headed to Texas. They didn’t care if the people they helped were black, white, Democrat or Republican; they all got a ride to high ground. That’s the way it should be.
Next was the need for supplies. Without power, food and, especially, water, life got miserable pretty fast. Some of the first videos I saw of responders were huge truckloads of water for the people without. That brings me to my point.
Most of us here are in the water business in one way or the other, and the depth of knowledge and experience in the water industry is very broad. I think that a portable, trailer mounted, self-powered water purifier could be a boon to areas without potable water available. The technology is mature and available, and just needs the will of people like us who care about water. The military has portable units set up for use in any environment. Ships at sea make their own water and it is a reliable source that could be adapted to disaster use. I know drillers who organized truckloads of bottled water for delivery to disaster-ravaged areas, so I know the will is there. (Tip off my hat to Alan Eades, of Hobbs New Mexico, who organized a convoy to Rockport, Texas.) There were many others in the recent hurricane season, and it ain’t over yet.
If we could organize such an effort, with the help of our state and national organizations, and by peer-to-peer efforts, we could be ready for the next time of need. Pumps, reverse osmosis, chlorination and all the technology needed for safe, potable water is available. All we need to do is put it together. With the help of those of us “on the tip of the spear” in the industry, we could make this happen.
If any of you are interested in this project, I would be willing to help coordinate things, help with the engineering, etc., to make it happen. Email me or call me. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, tell me why.
For more Wayne Nash columns, visit www.nationaldriller.com/wayne.