Many without water, as Austin’s demand more than doubles supply
City guides say thousands of burst pipes caused the shortage. They also urge residents to stop dripping taps from dripping.
Austin, Texas – – Many across Austin are without water on Wednesday as demand in Austin more than doubled supply. City officials say thousands of burst pipes caused the shortage.
The South Austin couple Meredith Mooney and Tyler Rusin just got their electricity back on Tuesday, but now they have a new problem: water. So they started hoarding. “You fill up your bathtub, plug it back in, and fill up whatever containers you have,” said Mooney.
The couple filled every container they have for fear of the worst. “We have this bucket here, this big Tupperware full of water and this cooler,” said Rusin.
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“Even empty wine bottles,” said Mooney.
Austin Water director Greg Meszaros on Wednesday predicted a major shortage due to usage. “In the past 24 hours we’ve seen 2.5 times more than our ability to produce water, and that drained our system and reservoirs quickly.”
Each zone is an area of failures (red) or low pressure (orange). The goal is for each zone to turn green again where the system is functioning normally and the boiling water indication can be removed.
City guides urge residents to stop faucets from dripping, a well-known way to prevent pipes from freezing in cold temperatures.
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“Even if a small amount of water drips from a couple of taps, it can easily be a gallon per minute,” Meszaros said. “In 24 hours that’s over 1,400 gallons. We have hundreds of thousands of households doing this.”
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Because of this, Mooney and Rusin took drastic measures on Wednesday by voluntarily turning off their own water supply and using a filter to only drink what they stored.
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Austin Water says that taps will stop dripping, but doing so can lead to frozen and burst pipes, which is likely to result in thousands of home insurance claims in the coming days.