POSTED: Friday, February 4, 2011 - 6:25pm
UPDATED: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 8:43pm
EL PASO – First, El Pasoans were told they'd have limited or no access to electricity or gas because of frigid temperatures. Now, water shortages may be an issue.
El Paso Water Utilities said it's been participating in rolling blackouts to conserve electricity. As a result, several main breaks have occurred, and many reservoirs are dangerously low, so they are asking people to conserve water.
The water company does not know how many customers have been affected by water outages or pipes that are frozen or leaking, but said a number of factors have contributed to the problem.
“With the freezing temperatures, a lot of the pipes...on private property...El Paso Water Utilities does not respond to their homes. A lot of those pipes are freezing and now they're beginning to thaw out and those are causing leaks...those things are all leading to problems...that's why they are asking people to conserve water,” said Christina Montoya, a spokesperson with the water company.
For people who live in homes experiencing water outages or leaks, the utility company is urging those to boil water before drinking it, because it could be contaminated.
“It's not definite, but it is a possibility that some of the water may have been contaminated when there's low pressure in the pipes, there's a chance that contaminants from the soil and other outdoor elements can get into the pipes,” said Montoya.
El Paso Water Utilities could not verify how long the leaks or water outages will continue.