How Williamson County residents are dealing with boil water notices, water outages


WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Central Texans have been hit with long-standing power and water outages. Many are under a boil water notice.

“We’ve been breaking the ice on the swimming pool, bucketing water into whatever we can and filling the toilets to flush the toilets,” said Pflugerville resident Michael Recek.

Recek has spent the last four days, going on five, filling his toilet up with water from his pool. He’s also been without electricity for 48 hours.

‘You would think the power company would prioritize a water facility to keep people supplied with water,” said Recek.

The City of Pflugerville says the widespread power outages in Pflugerville have caused the city’s water system to go down, so they’ve been asking City of Pflugerville, Manville Water Supply and Southwest Water customers to boil their water until further notice.

Hundreds of Central Texans are also in the same boat. In Jonestown, they’re using backyard fire pits to melt the snow.

“We were out in the cold weather for six hours yesterday melting snow,” said a Jonestown resident.

In Round Rock, people are filling bathtubs.

“This was a full tub. We have only used a couple of scoops out, because we’re trying to ration it,” said Barbara Bice, Round Rock resident. “We’re using the tub water to clean all of our dishes and sanitize as much as we can around the house.”

Bice along with a significant number of Williamson County residents in Hutto, Taylor, Round Rock and a portion of Georgetown use the Jonah Water Special Utility District.

“Our wells wouldn’t run because of power failures,” said Bill Brown, Jonah District general manager.

Jonah sources water through the Brazos River Authority and its own groundwater well systems. When power went out on its southern end days ago, so did the ability to generate clean water. Water reserves depleted quickly and then two days later, they were hit even harder.

“It’s been a trickle down affect,” said Brown. “The Brazos River Authority lost power and we lost water.”

The Brazos River Authority says the Jonah Water Utility District started receiving water from them Tuesday.

“We are still working at getting our plant at full operating capacity. Water is being sent to Jonah now, and we are continuing to make improvements to the plant to get it to the fully operational level,” said Cassie Smith, a Brazos River Authority public information officer. “Jonah’s system uses groundwater as well, so not all of their supply comes fully from us.”

Jonah says it’s currently working on filling its depleted water tanks up in order for the equipment to be fully operational again. The district has also issued a boil water notice while systems are being restored.

Power outages temporarily knocked out the Brazos River Authority’s East Williamson County Regional Water System offline. The plant in Taylor has been operating at 50% capacity since 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to a press release.

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