US /

Texas City Loses Running Water During Heat Wave

Odessa officials blame aging infrastructure
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 15, 2022 5:07 PM CDT
Texas City Loses Water Service During Heat Wave
Odessa Fire Rescue cadets and other volunteers distribute water to those in need during an emergency drinking water distribution drive through Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Odessa, Texas.   (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

Crews worked to restore water service Wednesday to the West Texas city of Odessa, where residents have been without water this week amid scorching temperatures after an aging pipe broke. The city's water treatment plant was back online by about 8am Wednesday, and utility officials said it could take 12 to 14 hours for the "recharging" process, during which workers slowly add water back into the system to ensure there are no more leaks, the AP reports. The city water system's 165,000 customers’ taps lost pressure or went completely dry after the 24-inch main broke Monday afternoon, prompting Ector County authorities to declare a state of disaster.

Temperatures were forecast to approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday as Texas—like much of the United States—faced extremely hot and humid conditions. And while Odessa typically sees hot weather in June, the timing of the break made dealing with this week’s heat more difficult. Resident Nikki Friday tells the AP that the city is providing bottled water and people with wells are offering neighbors water from hoses. She says tanker trucks have been parked around town to fill buckets with water. "Drinking water has not been an issue,” Friday says. "We just need water to return to our daily lives and within the community.”

The city, which is located about 330 miles west of Dallas, plans to distribute water to residents at Ector County Coliseum as well as deliver water to nursing homes. Water tankers were placed strategically around the city to respond to any fires, says Deputy City Manager Phillip Urrutia. "It’s an aging infrastructure that we’re seeing. It’s a cast iron pipe, and so those are typically more susceptible to breaks than other new technologies like PVC pipe that’s going in the ground," he said.

(More Texas stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.