Author: Wayne

The Water Crisis in Alaska

The Water Crisis in Alaska

Alaska firefighters help rescue a moose trapped in a home by a burst water pipe. Photo: Alaska Dispatch Journal

The story of the moose trapped in a home with water leaking through an underground water line is well known around these parts.

I won’t go into the details, but it’s a classic, old-school news story with a twist: It happened Monday in an Alaska town, but it’s not an isolated incident. It’s more than likely that the same thing is occurring in at least three other states and probably hundreds of towns across the country.

It has been three decades since the first house with a water leak was discovered in Pennsylvania, an incident that ultimately spurred a new law that required the installation of watertight exterior cladding on all new homes (including the roof).

The Pennsylvania case inspired the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s landmark 1985 National Energy Policy Act, which put the ball firmly in the government’s court when it came to designing new homes for energy efficiency.

That was almost two decades ago, and the FERC hasn’t needed to push back on any of its regulatory changes. The result? America continues to build more energy-efficient homes, even as energy costs soar.

At the same time, Alaska and every other state in the country is facing a crisis of its own: a water crisis.

On Monday evening, a water pipe burst in a water tower in the town of Nenana, Alaska, sending water gushing down the main line and into a garage above the house.

The homeowner — a man named Keith Erikson — immediately told rescuers that he wasn’t sure how much water was leaking. He told rescuers that he doesn’t live in the house yet, and he didn’t know how much he or anyone else inside his home would actually be in danger

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