RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Richardson is prohibiting all outdoor irrigation for Richardson utility water customers until further notice.
The need comes as access to water is limited due to a North Texas Municipal Water District water transmission line that broke Thursday afternoon in the 4500 block of Crystal Mountain Drive.
Melinda Hutchenrider heard a rumble outside and opened her front door to investigate.
“The whole street was buckled up. There was water shooting in the air. These boulders were coming toward the house,” she said.
Behind it all, she told CBS11, was a three foot wall of water.
“Came in and slammed the door shut and the water just hit it and came up the sides of the door and under the doors and in the window,” she said.
Sylvester Lee and his wife were eating lunch next door, when he heard an indescribable sound.
“I quickly dashed through this hall area and that’s when I could see the water rushing toward me,” he said.
The rapidly flowing river rushed through homes, gushing like a waterfall into the alley behind them.
“I was trapped out here on the patio,” said Hutchenrider, who says she could see electrical sparks inside.
Firefighters helped her and the Lee family escape.
“I was upset. You know, it’s just everything you own is wet and in your yard. I don’t know if I was scared more than really hysterical,” said Hutchenrider.
The North Texas Municipal Water District says about two dozen homes were affected by either flooding or the resulting power outage.
“Our entire first floor is completely demolished,” said Ken Hutchenrider.
Several families tell CBS11 it’s unclear who will pay for all the damage, after their insurers warned standard homeowner’s insurance wouldn’t cover it.
Meantime, the city is asking residents to help get the word out by informing neighbors about the critical need to conserve if they see someone watering their lawn.
City code enforcement officers will also be patrolling streets and issuing citations to those who do not comply. Each offense can carry an up to $2,000 fine.
The NTMWD is the city’s water supplier and has limited water supplies being delivered to the city.
The water being supplied is enough to cover essential uses like drinking, bathing and cooking, but the current water supply is not enough to keep up with outdoor irrigation demands, NTMWD said.
The NTMWD says it has repair teams working to restore service as quickly as possible. Current expectations are that full service will be restored by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 4.
The break involves one of two major water transmission lines that serves the city of Richardson and surrounding communities, including Garland, Murphy, Plano, Sachse and Wylie.
While there are reduced flows into the city of Richardson’s system, water service is still being provided.
NTMWD believes it will be able to continue meeting water demands through the duration of repairs, however the request to curtail outdoor watering is a precautionary measure to ensure continued water service for essential needs.
Water quality has not been affected.
Plano customers are being asked to turn off automatic irrigation sprinklers until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 4 as well.
The city of Plano said water to homes and businesses in Plano has not been impacted but these conservation measures are a precautionary measure to ensure water towers are maintained at a safe level until the transmission line can be repaired.