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EARTHQUAKES CREATE SHARP INCREASE IN BOTTLED WATER REQUESTS; YUCCA VALLEY LEADS CRY FOR DRINKING WATER SUPPLY

 EARTHQUAKES CREATE SHARP INCREASE IN BOTTLED WATER REQUESTS;
 YUCCA VALLEY LEADS CRY FOR DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
 LOS ANGELES, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In the aftermath of the recent California earthquakes, safe drinking water has become the focus for many people who are flooding bottled water companies with calls.
 "We have been scrambling around here," said Sparkletts Riverside Branch Manager Carrie Williams. "We received almost 100 more calls per hour than usual at our Santa Ana Customer Service Center."
 According to Williams, immediately following the earthquake, the most critical calls for drinking water came from the Yucca Valley area.
 "They were in desperate need of water in Yucca Valley," said Williams. "Our representatives began distributing emergency water supplies from our Riverside and Palm Springs branches at noon on Sunday. From what we understand, many grocery stores in that area no longer had drinking water supplies on their shelves."
 According to Dale La Forest, director of disaster preparedness and training at the Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross, water is one of the most valuable resources in times of natural disaster. People can survive many days without food, but only a few days without water.
 To better prepare for disaster, La Forest suggests people store one half-gallon of water, per person, per day, for a minimum of three days supply. "That's just for drinking. You may want to have more for bathing, washing or even your pets," La Forest said. "After three days, we estimate the municipal water systems will kick back in."
 Although demand has subsided in the Yucca Valley area, Sparkletts will continue supplying drinking water to severely affected areas at no charge until the municipal supply is available to all residents. "We've already distributed more than 6,000 gallons to the Red Cross, Southern California Edison crews and other areas in need," Williams said.
 Although less critical, bottled water demand in Los Angeles also increased, according to Carin Stout, customer service supervisor at the Los Angeles Sparkletts branch.
 "Before 10 a.m. on Monday, we were experiencing about 150 to 175 more calls per hour at our Los Angeles Customer Service Center," Stout said.
 "We are getting calls from customers asking for additional water deliveries, calls from new customers and calls for our earthquake preparedness kit," Stout explained.
 Stout says the preparedness kits contain 12 one-gallon bottles of water, an emergency candle and an emergency safety stove.
 According to Anne Turner, technical coordinator at Sparkletts, a common question among those who store bottled water for emergencies, is how long it will remain safe to drink.
 "We have done studies on bottled water shelf-life and found that, as long as the cap's seal remains unbroken and there are no leaks or cracks in the bottle, the water will last for years," said Turner.
 Although Turner says stored bottled water may develop a slight plastic taste over an extended period of time, it will not affect the quality of the water.
 "Some people may choose to rotate their stored water with new water every year or two to avoid that plastic taste," says Turner.
 Three- and five-gallon bottles are made from heavier plastic, according to
Turner, and can last for decades before leaking or cracking. However, the light-weight, one-gallon bottles can also last years and are more portable.
 Turner recommends storing both large- and small-size bottled water containers in a cool, dry area away from chemicals, such as a closet or kitchen cupboard.
 -0- 6/30/92
 /CONTACT: Jeremy Baka or Bill Manassero of Bob Thomas & Associates, 310-376-6978, for Sparkletts/ CO: Sparkletts ST: California IN: SU:


CH -- LA011 -- 5229 06/30/92 13:55 EDT
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 30, 1992
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