City of Waco urges water conservation while students experience burst water pipes

Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter

The City of Waco sent out a press release Tuesday urging the community to work together and conserve all water usage during this extremely cold weather.

Lary Holze, City of Waco Municipal Information & Communication Director, said they realize how important water and electricity are right now.

“We are asking people to conserve water every day they can, even up to including not taking showers or baths for maybe a day or two,” Holze said. “Don’t wash clothes and don’t do things you normally would use a lot of water for.”

With freezing temperatures every day causing power outages and pipes to burst, social media rumors quickly started circulating that the city had plans to turn off the water supply.

Holze said the rumor is “absolutely not true at all.”

Because of the quickly spread rumor, people started hoarding water and collecting buckets in their homes.

“That rumor was having the opposite effect,” said Jonathan Echols, City of Waco Public Relations Coordinator. “It was causing people to basically use more water to try and store up.”

With the water supply now barely meeting demand, the city asked the public to consider using a sponge or basin bath, not to use washing machines or dishwashers, to only drip faucets that are located on an outside wall, to not store water by filling large containers (which could lead to a mandatory boil water notice), and to only fill one gallon of water each day for every person in the household.

Holze said he is afraid that there will be a lot of people whose pipes break. He explained what to do if a pipe does burst.

“The number one thing you are going to do is shut off the water at the meter, then call a plumber and have them find out what the problem is and they will get it fixed,” Holze said. “If you have a leak or you see a leak that’s in the street call 254.299.2489 and let us know where the leak is so we can immediately go out, fix it and save the water that is coming out.”

Many students who live off-campus are experiencing their pipes breaking–leaving damages throughout their whole house. The girls who live in the Judge Baylor House experienced one of their pipes bursting, in the middle of the night, which led to their ceiling falling through.

Missouri City senior, Kendall Bohny said she was sleeping and heard “something that sounded like a shower.”

Cypress senior, Claire Stanko said the water was “gushing” out of the ceiling for about 45 minutes.

“It was coming out of our chandelier and going through the light fixtures above our island in the kitchen,” Stanko said. “We were trying to figure out how to turn the water off and we couldn’t find the water meter in the front yard because it was under all the snow.”

Bohny said she found the water meter after they searched for about an hour. Water meters are generally located in the front yard by a sidewalk.