Odessa Water Crisis: Governor Gregg Abbott directed state agencies to deploy resources to the City of Odessa

ODESSA, Texas (June 15, 2022) — Residents of the West Texas city of Odessa remained without water Wednesday as crews worked to restore service amid scorching temperatures in the area.

The city water system’s 165,000 customers’ taps lost pressure or went completely dry after the 24-inch (61-centimeter) main broke Monday afternoon, according to the city’s social media pages. Odessa Mayor Javier Joven declared a state of emergency and issued a boil-water notice for the system’s customers that still had water, effective until further notice.

Temperatures Wednesday were predicted to approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) as Texas — like much of the United States — faced extremely hot and humid conditions this week.

City officials said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that drinkable water could be restored later Wednesday but that the water system needed to be turned back out carefully to avoid any additional breaks.

The city, which is located about 330 miles (530 kilometers) west of Dallas, planned 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, said 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.

Governor Gregg Abbott directed state agencies, through the Texas Division of Emergency (TDEM), to coordinate and deploy resources in response to a disaster declaration issued by Ector County Judge Debi Hays resulting from the City of Odessa main water line failure currently impacting approximately 165,000 Texans in the area. The loss of potable water supply in Odessa is being addressed locally with support from the State of Texas utilizing a variety of resources to alleviate citizens’ immediate water needs and support the restoration of the local water supply.

“The State of Texas is taking swift action to respond to Odessa’s impacted water supply and support the local community in meeting their water needs,” said Governor Abbott. “I urge residents in Odessa to follow guidance from local officials and take the proper precautions to ensure their health and safety as we work together to restore safe tap water in the community.”

“The City of Odessa Public Water System has issued a Boil Water Notice that will remain in effect until water pressure is restored and water is deemed safe to consume. Citizens are advised to boil water for cooking, drinking, or other consumption. To provide safe-drinking water to Texans in Odessa, TDEM has deployed truckloads of bottled water to be distributed by local officials at points of distribution (PODS) that they have established within the community.”

For information about POD locations, visit https://www.odessa-tx.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1008.

“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has staff on site providing support and technical assistance to the City of Odessa as local officials work to repair the damaged watermain. TCEQ will continue to assist the city by providing any requested support as they work to lift the boil water notice, while ensuring state and federal drinking water standards are met once the main water line is repaired and the drinking water system is back online. TCEQ’s regional office, emergency management support staff, and TCEQ’s Water Supply Division stand ready to provide any additional support requested by the City of Odessa.”

“Coordinated through the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, TDEM is making personnel available from the Texas A&M Public Works Response Team to provide technical assistance to the City of Odessa as they work to repair the water main break. TDEM is also working closely with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs), as well as the private sector, to coordinate resources that are needed by the impacted population at this time. Lowe’s and Home Depot are two of the private sector partners actively working to ensure bottled water remains on their shelves for Odessa residents during this outage,” wrote Abbott in his released statement.

Texans in the affected areas are advised to stay informed and heed the guidance of local officials as efforts to restore water service continue.


Source: AP News and Governor Gregg Abbott contributed to the article.


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