ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With boil water orders in North Texas cities coming in by the dozens, many people with no power are looking to go the bottled water route, but having a hard time finding it.
“I came to get water, and they’re closed,” said Arlington resident Sylvia Hill, while on a desperate search for water in the bitter cold. “So I’m going to have to go someplace else.”READ MORE: Russ Martin, Longtime North Texas Radio Personality, Found Dead At Frisco Home
Many grocery stores aren’t open right now, but empty shelves are becoming a common site at the ones that are, as more and more people are forced to turn to bottled water in this winter storm.
More than half of the state’s 254 counties are experiencing water issues.
“I’ve been in this business for quite some time, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Craig Cummings, Director of the Arlington Water Utilities Department.
Arlington saw water demands of almost twice the normal usage within the past 24 hours.
Cummings says the system is getting hit both by people letting their faucets run too much to prevent their pipes from freezing, and by frozen pipes that have burst and are spewing water.
Homes, restaurants, businesses and 14 Arlington ISD school campuses had flooding caused by frozen water lines that ruptured.
“You can replicate that hundreds if not thousands of times across Arlington, and we had this tremendous demand that was just too much for the capacity of our treatment plant to keep up with,” Cummings said.READ MORE: Dallas County Reports 570 New COVID-19 Cases, 10 Deaths Saturday
Many Arlington homes don’t have any water right now, while some have low pressure.
Those folks need to boil it before consumption as a precaution or use bottled water.
“There’s no indication whatsoever that we have contamination in the system,” said Cummings. “This is a precautionary boil order because the pressure has dropped.”
Crews are working around the clock to fully restore pressure to the water system but expect it to take at least 48 hours.
The boil notice wouldn’t be lifted until a day or two later, after water samples have been tested and cleared.
“I don’t think any of us was expecting this, for it to be like this,” Hill said. “It’s all about survival right now, until it starts getting warm.”
She says she will just have to do the best she can, as the power crisis turns into a water crisis.MORE NEWS: Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler Dies At 82
Click here for updates on Arlington’s water situation.