Freezing temperatures and lack of electricity during the area’s winter storm last week caused water delivery companies to stop flowing the precious commodity to their customers.
Most water outages had ceased by Friday and at least one company was looking at a couple more days before service could be back to normal.
Green Valley Special Utility District was able to provide flows to specific areas early on in the weather emergency, but had issues delivering to others, General Manager Pat Allen said Friday.
“As the electrical power grid improved, we were able to produce more water and transport that to the areas needing the service,” he said. “As of [Friday], we still have a few areas that are receiving lower pressure, but we hope to have service completely restored within the next few days.”
The winter weather and resulting disaster caused problems across the state of Texas. Lack of adequate water service was one issue experienced by residents of Seguin and Guadalupe County.
Some residents complained of having no water at all, while others said their pressure was extremely low at their homes.
Then as the week wore on and systems improved, many customers were asked to boil their water before ingesting it. The outages caused hardships for people like Wendy Fiscal of Guadalupe County and her family of four — her husband, 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
“We never thought we weren’t going to have water,” she said Friday. “We need it just to drink and for the kids.”
Ryne Platz of Seguin, his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son went without water starting Monday and still had none on Friday, he said. They went to get water from friends and relatives for necessities like drinking and cooking, Platz said.
His whole neighborhood was without water on Friday but Platz said he and his household were making the best of the situation.
“It’s life; it could be worse,” he said. “We’re just making it through. That’s all we can do.”
The city of Seguin’s water and wastewater utility never went without water nor did it completely shut off service to its customers, Seguin Deputy City Manager Rick Cortes said.
The city continued producing water at its treatment plant and receiving more from the Schertz Seguin Local Government Corporation to satisfy customers’ needs, he said. Keeping the water flowing wasn’t as easy as a dip in the pool, Cortes said.
“I didn’t say we didn’t have our challenges,” he said. “There’s always challenges when you have inclement weather. There are things that can go wrong. We kept everything running and we did well.”
Challenges included frozen pipes and water main breaks that caused customers to have no service. Crews working 24 hours a day tried to quickly respond to issues and reestablish service, Cortes said.
Springs Hill Water Supply Corporation customers experienced low pressure into Friday, though it had increased due to lower demand and the corporation receiving more supplies from vendors that provide the water, said Kathy Bryant, interim general manager.
The corporation experienced no actual water outages, she said. Some customers might have had pipes malfunction on their sides of the water meters that caused disruptions and employees responded to cut off the water to those buildings if requested, Bryant said.
But Springs Hill didn’t have water available to keep up normal water pressure, she said.
“Our suppliers are sending us as much water as they can send us,” Bryant said. “Obviously, the demand is higher than they can send. All of their production facilities are having breaks and they’re having to do repairs on the production side. We’re waiting on them to send us water.”
She asked customers to bear with the utility, which was distributing as much water as it received.
In the meantime, Springs Hill informed most customers to “voluntarily boil water for two minutes before consumption for peace of mind,” Bryant said.
Green Valley Special Utility District provides service to 14,000 connections amounting to about 40,000 people, Allen said. GVSUD still had customers without water Friday and others with very low pressure, he said.
Things improved as the electrical grid situation improved and which better allowed GVSUD to provide water at a steadier pace, Allen said. The district issued a boil water notice on Wednesday as a precautionary measure because some areas had lost pressure, he said.
The winter storm caught many in the area by surprise but GVSUD will be ready in the event a similar occurrence comes to the region, Allen said.
“We have preventative measures in place,” he said. “However, reaching temperatures as low as we’ve experienced this past week, we have learned there are other precautions that we need to take to be better equipped for more severe temperatures than what our region is used to.”
Cognizant of people in the community suffering from lack of water, the city of Seguin and Springs Hill Water Supply Corporation set up stations where residents could pick up gallons of water if they provided their own containers. Both stations were set to operate through the weekend.
Springs Hill’s was set to operate beginning Friday was open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 685 Wagon Trail.
Seguin’s opened 3 to 5 p.m. Friday and was scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Fiscal visited the station in Seguin and spoke of a woman she knew in town who had gone days without fresh water.
“I’m going to share this water with her,” Fiscal said.