POSTED: Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:30am
UPDATED: Monday, February 7, 2011 - 10:00am
EL PASO - The mayor has declared a water emergency for the City of El Paso, and the entire region is under mandatory water restrictions indefinitely.
El Paso County is almost completely dry, and the water situation has become a public safety emergency according to El Paso Water Utility leaders.
"We're asking folks again not to wash cars, shower, use a dishwasher or clothes washing machine or anything else that uses a large amount of water," El Paso Water Utilities Vice President Nick Costanza said.
Costanza said most water reservoirs are running low, and he says some of them are already completely out of water thanks to the rolling blackouts.
"As wells were shut down and turned back on there was damage to the wells and freezing of pipes and infrastructure," he said.
That means most of the people in El Paso City and County don't have water at all. If you do have water you still have a problem. We're told tens of thousands of pipes are broken in the Borderland, and that means the water may be contaminated.
"The entire city is on a boil water alert, the entire city," Costanza said.
Along with asking people to limit water use, El Paso Water Utilities is ordering businesses that use a lot of water to shut down. They need people to conserve water because reservoirs low and the demand for water is higher than normal by 44 million gallons a day. We're told at that rate El Paso Water Utilities may not be able to recover soon.
"We think it's going to take another day to bring reservoirs up, and it may take longer," Costanza said.