Water Main Break Leaves 165,000 in Odessa, Texas Without Water as Temps Soar to 100F

© Flickr / Ed SchipulWater tower in Odessa, Texas
Water tower in Odessa, Texas - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2022
Bottled water was being distributed across the west Texas town of Odessa on Tuesday afternoon and more water was rushed in from other parts of the arid state after a massive water main break severed the city’s water supply.
According to local news reports, it could take 48 hours to repair the severed water line running through central Odessa that ruptured on Monday evening, depriving the city's entire population of 165,000 people of potable water.
The massive rupture caused water to pour out onto the street and surrounding neighborhoods at the intersection of 42nd & San Jacinto Streets. Crews worked overnight to fix it, excavating it and closing valves to isolate and repair the break. Many residents reported losing water pressure or water altogether, and others reported dirty water as the city put out a notice for residents to boil water before using it.
As of 2:30 pm local time, Deputy City Manager Phillip Urrutia had not even begun to repair the pipe because the city was still evacuating the area, according to the Odessa American.
City life in Odessa ground to a halt on Tuesday as the hospital put surgeries on hold, restaurants closed with no ability to wash dishes, and all schools and many other businesses also closed for the day.
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Odessa Mayor Javier Joven said he had declared a state of emergency and was working with state officials to get resources to support local residents, the most important of which was water. Thermometers hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Odessa on Tuesday and are forecast to return to those temperatures for the foreseeable future. In such heat, death becomes more likely since the human body can no longer cool itself to its natural temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
On Tuesday afternoon, the city announced several pickup sites for water bottles, noting each vehicle was limited to just one case.
Midland County, which abuts Odessa to the east, has sent significant water aid to their thirsty neighbors, including 28 pallets of bottled water. Assuming those are 12-ounce bottles, that would be roughly 56,448 bottles of water.
Midland also sent a 6,000-gallon water tanker to the Odessa Fire Rescue Station in case of potential fires, and the first of six 18-wheeler tanker trucks of water is expected to arrive by 8 pm on Tuesday, Urrutia said.
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