AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of Central Texans are still without water nearly two weeks after historic winter storms blew through the state bursting countless pipes along the way.
Getting access to a plumber is still slim pickings. A group of nonprofits have stepped up to put a dent in the plumbing problems Central Texans are facing.
“They have come in from everywhere,” said Jon Peays, Water Mission director.
In north Austin, a group of plumbers from out of state are working to restore water at a mobile home park. It’s their first of many stops this week.
“It always feels good, whether you’re getting paid for it or not… People always feel grateful to have their problems fixed. Especially when you can’t take a shower,” said John Bradshaw of Blue Duck Plumbing.
Bradshaw and his team have made the trek from Kansas to work for free this week. He’s part of the first wave of plumbers coming in from California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and even as far as New York.
“This is such an invisible disaster; you can’t drive around and see it,” said Peays. “We are just learning how deep this issue is.”
Water Mission is a nonprofit that does the majority of its work creating clean water systems overseas. Peays a local Texan, and once the nonprofit learned of the tremendous need in Texas, Water Mission team members along with “Plumbers without Borders” and the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) put out a call to the community.
“We’re hearing that if you don’t have a connection to a plumber, then you’re getting scheduled out until April to get help,” said Peays.
Peays says the tough reality is many lower-income families, elderly folks, under-insured and disabled Central Texans are being hit the hardest.
“It feels like you need a connection to a plumber to get the work done,” said Peays. “If you don’t have that, then you are going to get pushed back.”
The three volunteer groups are targeting those who don’t have the means or capabilities to fix the problems on their own.
ADRN will operate an Intake Center later this week to assist residents who were impacted by Winter Storm Uri by providing food, gas, housing and repairing damage to their homes.
Volunteers will help to connect residents with available resources including FEMA support and funds donated to the ADRN Winter Storm 2021 Fund.
“Many Central Texas residents still have damage to their homes from fallen trees and debris as well as pipes that burst during the deep freeze,” said ADRN Executive Director Daniel Geraci. “Our network of churches stands ready to walk with these families impacted by the storm with the physical, emotional and spiritual support they need until they’ve fully recovered. It’s hard to overstate the impact this winter storm continues to have on families needing help with plumbing so they can have safe water, or they may even be unable to live in their homes at all because of flood damage. We’re here to help.”
Central Texas residents in need of assistance must pre-register to take part in the ADRN Intake Center at ADRN.org or by calling its disaster survivor hotline at (512) 806-0800.
Location and time details are as follows.
ADRN INTAKE CENTER FOR WINTER STORM 2021
- Location: Promiseland Church, 1504 E. 51st Street, Austin
- Friday, March 5: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last appointment begins at 4 p.m.)
- Saturday, March 6: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (last appointment begins at 3 p.m.)