My Austin apartment has always been drafty, hard to heat when it’s cold out, and hard to cool in the summer. But on February 17th, our third day without power, when I ventured into the kitchen for some bread my roommate and I could eat for breakfast, I found ice in our sink and a knot formed in my gut. We were without power, without heat, and, as we soon learned, without clean water as well — we didn’t even have the electricity we needed to boil the water and make it clean. We expect heat in our homes, we expect water in our faucets, but Winter Storm Uri left too many of us robbed of the certainty that our drinking water was, in fact, clean.

Read more from Anna Farrell-Sherman with Environment Texas here.