Low Temperatures in the Southern United States Cause a Water Crisis – NBC 7 Phoenix/Tucson

Subzero days in areas of the Deep South that typically freeze for just a few hours threaten dozens of water systems as broken pipes leak millions of gallons of water.

The problems were occurring Monday in large and troubled water systems like Jackson, Mississippi, where residents had to boil their water over Christmas months after most lost service due to a cascade of problems from years of poor maintenance.

They are also happening in Shreveport, Louisiana, where some residents had no water Monday. In Selma, Alabama, the mayor declared a state of emergency because the city feared running out of water. Workers at a food bank in Greenville, South Carolina, opened their doors to rushing water and were trying to save a million dollars worth of food.

Atlanta police departments said their 911 systems were being overwhelmed by unnecessary emergency calls about broken pipes.

Dozens of water systems had boil advisories due to low pressure or warned of major catastrophes if leaks from broken pipes were not found and the water was turned off.

The culprit was temperatures that dipped below freezing on Thursday or early Friday and have spent only a few hours, if any, above 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius) since then.

Water expands when it freezes, bursting unprotected pipes. Then when the temperature rises, those broken pipes begin to lose hundreds or thousands of gallons of water.

And over a holiday weekend, when many businesses are closed, those leaks can go undetected for days, Mike Saia, a spokesman for the Charleston, South Carolina, water system told WCSC-TV.

Charleston was on the verge of a boiling water requirement for its hundreds of thousands of customers that could shut down restaurants and other businesses. The system produces about 50 million gallons of water during a typical winter day.

Over the holiday weekend, its production was about 100 million gallons. More than 400 customers reported broken pipes, so between unreported leaks, closed businesses and empty vacation homes, the system calculates that thousands of leaky pipes are gushing out. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” Saia told the television station.

The economic losses due to a warm winter are considerable and also generate a lack of water for dry seasons. Guillermo Quiroz explains to us.

The situation in Jackson was not as dire as it was in August, when many of the capital’s 150,000 residents were left without running water after flooding exacerbated long-standing problems at one of the capital’s two water treatment plants. .

Residents had to wait in lines to get water for drinking, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets.

But there were people without water pressure and the city set up an emergency water distribution site at Christmas.

“We are still struggling to get pressure back into the water system. We are producing significant amounts of water and getting it into the system, but the pressure is not building up, despite efforts at the plants. The problem has to be significant leaks in the system that are still we need to identify,” Jackson officials said in a statement.

In Selma, Mayor James Perkins Jr. issued an emergency order on Christmas Day asking property owners to go into their businesses and check for leaks before the city runs out of water. There was no update on Monday.

Broken pipes were also causing problems in individual buildings. A mass breakout was reported at the Alabama State House in Montgomery on Christmas Eve, according to WFSA-TV. At the Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville, South Carolina, employees unlocked the building Monday morning and several inches of water poured out.

Broken pipes spewed water and workers turned away dozens of people in need, the food bank said.

With the help and follow-up of these tips, it will now be much easier to cope with and manage the temperatures of the winter season so that your pet is not affected.

The water knocked out power to the food bank’s freezers and refrigerators, and workers faced the double challenge of restoring power before food spoiled and keeping water out of the area. Up to a million dollars worth of food could be destroyed, the food bank said.

The forecast provided good news. Monday’s highs across the Deep South were expected to be at least in the 40s and sub-zero temperatures overnight should not last as long until further warming arrives later this week.

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