A disaster has been declared by leaders in Odessa, Texas after a water main break left 165,000 residents without water for two days as the region faces a heat wave, said Texas officials.
“The loss of potable water is expected to be forty-eight hours at this time,” the disaster declaration issued by Ector County said.
The disaster was declared after the main water line in Odessa broke and spilled gallon after gallon onto the streets, dropping the water pressure for the entire city system.
City officials said work to repair the water main break was taking longer than expected.
The City of Odessa Public Water System issued a boil water notice that will remain until the water pressure is restored and water is deemed safe to use. Boiled or bottled water should be used for “washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking,” the city said.
“Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions,” the city said.
However, some residents reported having no water at all or having other issues.
“I have brown water coming out of the faucets. Does anyone know what’s going on,” reported KMID-TV.
The water shortage forced the local hospitals to cancel surgeries, summer school classes to be suspended and restaurants to close their doors, according to local reports.
The Texas Department of Emergency Management has deployed truckloads of bottled water to be distributed by local officials at points of distribution, Governor Greg Abbott said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is working with local officials to repair the damage and test the water so it meets state and federal drinking standards.