AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — After last week’s winter storm, widespread power outages caused a water crisis for millions of Texans, but Amarillo did not lose its water supply.
On Thursday, the City of Amarillo posted to its Facebook page, saying the Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection departments responded to many calls to maintain the water supply during the winter weather event.
The city said of the 67 water main breaks crews responded to, most customers had water service returned within 12 hours of making the initial call.
“City crews just did an outstanding job in extreme conditions of taking care of the system, operating the system, fixing main breaks, responding to calls, and helping customers with frozen meters,” said Floyd Hartman, the Assistant City Manager for Development Services.
Hartman also said the city’s water system is strong.
“We have a long-term, robust system that we’ve built. It’s an outstanding system that has supply distribution in every aspect of emergency backup that you can think of for us to maintain service through those severe conditions,” Hartman added.
For many Texans, including our neighbors in Abilene, lost power meant a lack of water treatment.
“This wasn’t anybody’s lack of planning or anybody’s lack of ability to do their job. It was an extreme winter weather event that caused the system to fail,” said Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna last Wednesday.
In many cities like Austin, people went without water for hours and days.
Irvin Reyes, a North Austin resident said Saturday, “It’s impossible to live in a place where you smell your own feces, and not only that, you need to drink water.”
Many people are still dealing with damage to their homes because of ruptured pipes.
Our sister station, KXAN, reported that last Friday evening, the Texas Department of Emergency Management landed in Austin with 28,000 bottles of water.
Hartman said Texas cities, including Amarillo, will likely share their experiences with their water supplies
“I assure you they’re talking to each other about what is successful, what isn’t, and what resources it took for us to maintain that service under those extreme conditions.”
It is important to note: Because Amarillo did not lose power for extended amounts of time, its water treatment plants did not close down. In many parts of the state Texans lost their water supplies, which were tied to their power.