Cities across the state cautioned residents on Wednesday which water supplies are dangerously low and could be unsafe to drink after numerous days f freezing temperatures & Texans dripping faucets to protect frozen pipes. They’re urging Texas to boils tap water for drinking, brushing their teeth, cooking and making ice, as citizens struggle to keep power and heat as an unexpected winter storm sweeps the state. Showering & doing laundry are safe, but communities with water boil advisories are urging residents to conserve water as much as possible.
As per a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokeswoman, about 590 public water systems in 141 Texas counties had reported service delays, affecting 11.8 million people as of early Wednesday afternoon.
Although Dallas’ water supply is stable, people in neighboring North Texas communities are being advised to conserve or boil their water.
“The water pressure is really low.” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote Wednesday morning, “Please do not run water to prevent pipes from bursting.” “If pipes have burst, turn off the water.”” If you don’t know how to turn off the water, please contact us. Today, water usage should be kept to a minimum. It’s required for hospitals and firefighting.”
Dripping faucets were the correct advice early this week, but now it’s in people’s best interests to “change gears and conserve water,” according to Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Volunteers who could help transport residents from their home to warming facilities are also needed, according to the city.
Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said water quality issues were caused by a lack of electricity, frozen & broken water lines, & people dripping faucet so much that water pressure was reduced. Baker also stated that testing will be required to show which the water is safe before boil orders are lifted. According to him, there are only 135 labs in the state which do that sampling, which means the boil notifications might last for a long time.
“It’s unclear when water supplies will be supplied,” said Michael Webber, an energy resource expert at the University of Texas at Austin. “Because the water system requires energy for treatment and pumping, electricity restrictions frequently have an influence on the water network.”
However, given frigid conditions are forecast to last the rest of the week, burst pipes may still be a concern, according to Webber.
“The fact which temperature are expected to drop below freezing again raises the risk of water freezing in pipe, which can block water flow and cause pipe breakage,” Webber explained.
The lack of drinkable water is a severe blow to Texas who are still dealing with power outages due to the cold.
Madie Leon Riley, a Pflugerville residents who had been without water since Monday, said she has no idea when her faucet will be able to turn on again — or when her toilets will be able to flush without melting the top snow in it to keep water flowing. Her mother & husband, who are currently residing with her, were also boiling snow for drinking water as a back-up.
“No food shops are open in our area, so there’s no way to resupply,” Riley, a 27-year-old writer, said The Texas Tribune. “Even if you’re one of the few with a car capable of driving the miles it would take to obtain water, there’s no way to restock.”
A little “pencil-width” stream of water was reported at one Fort Worth home. A woman in the Houston region who live near the Medical Center said she got water back for approximately an hour yesterday, but it was brown and unfit to drink. Even after running their taps, a San Antonio resident stated their water froze.
More than 200,000 people in northern Fort Worth, and also Keller, Southlake, Roanoke, and other adjacent areas, were advised to boil their water on Tuesday due to power failures at water treatment plants.