Forewarned is forearmed – to be prepared is half the victory

For those who choose to heed this advice, much can be gained. Interestingly, looking down at the desk calendar today; yes, they do still exist; the quote from the revered author Harper Lee reads: “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it”.

How can facilities managers and the cleaning industry be better prepared for the impacts of the drought? How can smart solutions bring water savings to bear; and in an economical way?

Less than two weeks ago a mega storm was forming in the Gulf between Mexico and Cuba. On October 8th, the soon to be named Hurricane Michael, was moving rapidly toward the Florida panhandle. It became a strong Category-4 storm on October 10th, and made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida. According to CoreLogic there were 57,000 homes at risk of coastal storm surge totalling over $13 billion in reconstruction cost value across Florida alone.  An Emergency Declaration was called across six states, with in-excess of 120,000 people to evacuate from Florida, and more than 250,000 people in the storm’s northward path. Despite more than 1.3 million businesses and homes being without power, and thousands of homes and infrastructure being obliterated, the death toll on the 18th of October is less than 35 people – to be forewarned is forearmed.

In our February blog, ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail’, the impending plight of drought stricken Cape Town in South Africa was highlighted as it drew ever nearer to running out of water. Imagine a city and its environs, with a population near 4-million, running out of water?

All too often, in times of abundance, populations run back to systems that are ‘water hungry’, avoiding devices with low or no water flow, such as waterless urinals.

In August this year, 100% of New South Wales was declared to be in drought and the post ‘The Drought – Impact on odour control in facilities management’ again offered sound advice and solutions to overcoming the odour associated with systems using minimum or limited water flow.

It’s easy to lose sight of the impending drought conditions, as those along the eastern seaboard have been grabbing for umbrellas over recent days. Farmers will tell you that in reality the earth is like dust; with the dampness just an inch or so deep.

The Bureau of Meteorology announced in June of this year that the likelihood of El Niño was at 50%. Now in October, based on their modelling, it has been elevated to 70%.

El Niño ALERT; positive Indian Ocean Dipole likely underway

The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook has been raised to El Niño ALERT. This means there is approximately a 70% chance of El Niño occurring in 2018—around triple the normal likelihood. Similarly, in the Indian Ocean, a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) may have started.

When combined, these two events in spring increase the possibility of a dry and warm end to the year. It also raises the risk of heatwaves and bushfire weather in the south, but reduces the risk of tropical cyclone activity in the north.

The tropical Pacific Ocean has warmed in recent weeks due to weakening of the trade winds, while the Southern Oscillation Index has fallen to typical El Niño levels. Models suggest further warming of the Pacific is likely. Four of eight models predict El Niño thresholds will likely be exceeded in the coming months, with another two falling just short.

In the Indian Ocean, there are signs that a positive IOD is currently underway. The IOD index has exceeded the threshold (+0.4 °C) for the last four weeks. However, these values must persist until November for it to be considered a positive IOD event. Model outlooks suggest positive IOD values are likely to continue through the austral spring, before returning to neutral values in late November to December.

Also in January this year, the topic of odour associated with summer and minimal water was highlighted in the blog ‘Washroom smells – eliminate the source’. The post reads in part:

“Biological cleaning approaches on the other hand, gets rid of the problem at the source, and produces an environment favourable for producing the enzymes necessary to continue to break down the offending organic wastes. A simple and holistic cleaning regime using biological cleaning products eliminates bad washroom odours and helps maintain a healthy plumbing system, much like using good bacteria for a healthy digestive system”.

Now is the time to gather the arsenal of solutions available to go to war on washroom odours and the pests associated with them.

Remember, there are solutions available – forewarned is forearmed.

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