Relief On The Way: Water Conservation Emergency Could Be Lifted By Week's End

Thousands of East Texans, forced to conserve water, just as the hottest time of the summer hits. However, a solution is in the works.

A Water Conservation Emergency was put in to effect Tuesday after water pump failures in the Owentown area. The area includes homes, businesses and the UT Health Center.

Crews are were out Wednesday to put in a temporary pump. In the meantime, residents cannot water their yards. If they do, they could face fines.

"We've been a little upset that we can't water, but we do understand that we have to do what we have to do," said Toni Quezada.

The sprinklers and the fountain in Toni Quezada's yard are shutoff and they will stay that way for the next few days.

"It's been an inconvenience thus far because my husband has been meticulous about the yard."
Tuesday, Toni and thousands of others received a letter, telling them to pull back on outside water use.

"We've never had this situation before," said Tommy Vice of the Smith County Water Control & Improvement District #1.

Vice said two of the three water pumps using wells are down. That means only one is working to supply hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to 5,000 people and countless businesses.
"Things are coming in to place that we will have this thing back up and running," Vice said.

What was supposed to be over August 12th, could be over by Friday. A crew is putting in a temporary pump and using parts that came in faster, but the emergency is not over.

"We've only had one individual that used his sprinklers," Vice said. "I guess he thought nobody would see it."

Vice said that violator received a written warning from the constable. The next time, it's a $500 fine, then water services will be cut off until the emergency passes.

"Anything can happen, but at this point, things look like they may be back in full operation by midnight (Thursday)," Vice said.

The UT Health Center was preparing for the worst, but with the prospect of having the pumps back online, they are complying with the same outside water restrictions.

The pump is a short term fix, but water crews are working to find a more permanent answer so this does not happen again.

Maya Golden, reporting,