Amid scorching temperatures which have hovered above 100 degrees all week, one Texas city has had its water supply shut off for multiple days running. What started as a possibly 48-hour local crisis for Odessa, a West Texas town long known for oil production, has gained national media attention at a time of severe record-breaking heat waves in various parts of the US. The crisis is now pushing toward a full week of over 120,000 residents having no water supplying their homes and businesses, as Axios reports Saturday:
After a major water line break struck the city of more than 122,000 people amid scorching temperatures, local officials warned residents to protect themselves against the "imminent threat" of "widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property."
It started Monday afternoon following a water line break, causing city authorities to quickly issue a city-wide emergency boil-water notice, as crews began to realize the breakage was significant.
The Associated Press cited city agencies which "said taps in 165,000 homes and businesses lost pressure or went completely dry after a 24-inch (61-centimeter) main broke Monday afternoon."
What residents hoped would be a quick fix turned into a days-long ordeal, as by Wednesday the city manager, Michael Marrero, said in a video address: "I want to assure you that we’re utilizing every resource at our disposal to ensure that we get this community back to the way it was before this massive line break."
An initial announcement addressing the water emergency by Mayor Javier Joven said the following:
“Because of the critical nature of the loss in pressure, we were compelled to take the plant offline to begin the repairs that are ongoing,” he told a Tuesday press conference. "Crews have been on site since 6 p.m. Midland has been a big help. They have sent equipment and crews. We are in contact with the state and we have more water en route."
That's when the city, fearing that leaks in the system may result in bacterial contamination, extended the boil-water notice through Friday. As of Saturday morning the city's water hasn't been restored.
Odessa’s water issues raise concern about statewide infrastructurehttps://t.co/flvvw5wTTS— KTSM 9 News (@KTSMtv) June 16, 2022
But if no more leaks in the system are found, and quality testing comes back clean the taps are expected to be flowing safely again possibly as early as by Saturday afternoon, as Axios reports:
Odessa Public Works Director Thomas Kerr said Friday that samples from the region's water utility pipes are currently undergoing testing. If the test comes back clean, the city will be able to lift its boil-water notice by 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The city has been making water deliveries on trucks to nursing homes, as well as setting up distribution centers at a central athletic arena. In addition, water tankers have been positioned around the city in case of fire for emergency services.
"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," the city manager was cited as saying this week.
Odessa, TX is currently experiencing a water shortage due to mass infrastructure failures. The city says it could last 2 days with temperatures in the triple digits.— Jackson Hinkle 🇺🇸 (@jacksonhinklle) June 14, 2022
Unfortunately, US politicians are more likely to spend taxpayer dollars on Odessa, Ukraine at this point in time.
As residents are hopeful that the crisis finally resolves Saturday, it's worth noting the irony in billions of taxpayer dollars currently being sent to places like Odessa, Ukraine - even as Americans in places like Odessa, Texas can't even get drinkable water due to "ageing infrastructure".