Break in Power Cable Leaves no Running Water in Gatesville

(UPDATE 10 p.m.) -- Oncor says they have fixed the break and the three pumps are back working. Water is being pumped from Lake Belton to the Gatesville water processing plant.

City officials say that more residents will have their water return at some point Tuesday. But they don't know at what time to expect water in residents homes.

There will also be a boil water notice tomorrow for 3 major areas of the Eastern-side of Gatesville.

(UPDATE 4:30 p.m.) -- Oncor found a break in the power line to the water intake system. They will continue to check for more breaks.

Some faucets in the Gatesville area have run dry.

As of 4:25 p.m., the generator from Houston is approximately one hour away. The generator should have power up and running later tonight. Officials believe it will be 24-36 hours before the system is fully functional again.


(KCEN) -- There's little to no water in Gatesville.

A break in an Oncor power cable under Lake Belton halted the water intake system Sunday, and now several cities and towns in Coryell County are getting their water out of bottles.

It could be a day or two before a backup system is in place, and even longer before the original system is fixed.

Herb Bayer noticed he had no water Monday morning.

"Well I have twin 14-year-old sons who play football," Bayer said as stocked up on gallon-jugs of water at HEB, "and we have to have a way to not only drink, but bathe."

It was his second trip to the store. He got bottled water even earlier Monday, and came back for the jugs.

"I'm just not sure how long it's going to be."

Neither is anyone else.

City employees spent the day explaining to people it'll be a little while before the generator from Houston is pumping water from Lake Belton.

"We're guesstimating about two days without water," one employee told a resident on the phone Monday morning.

HEB had to restock on water from their Temple warehouse early in the day.

And Janna Garvin was part of an early run on Walmart.

"When Hurricane Katrina hit," she said, "we didn't have water, water or bread here, so I thought I'd come early, make sure my kids are taken care of."

But full carts weren't the only option.

Some families were still getting a little bit of a drip out of their faucets, so they filled up bathtubs and any space they could with water, just so they have something to flush the toilets with.

"We have water storage bottles and stuff in our garage," said Vickie Anderson. "We stock up on those just for purposes like that."

Others were filling up wherever they could, all preparing for the worst.

"Just want to make sure we have enough water in the house," Bayer said.

A day or two for the generator, possibly longer to get back to normal.

Oncor found a break in the cable by mid-afternoon. If it's the only one (oftentimes it's not), they hoped to have power flowing back to the system by 6 p.m.

Besides Gatesville, surrounding communities like Coryell City, The Grove, The Flat, North Fort Hood, and others served by Mountain Supply Corporation were without water.

And more than just individuals had to rethink their daily lives.

"Have to get water for the cafeteria, bottled water for the kids," said Tom Wyble as he loaded up a Jonesboro ISD bus at Walmart.

The maintenance man and bus driver for the district wasn't taking any chances.

"They didn't have but six gallon jugs left, so I got those," he said. "I was going to get 20," plus 34 cases of bottles.

He was far from alone at the megastore, and he was far from the only school official preparing.

Gatesville ISD is ready with bottles and other water sources, too.

And at Hillside Manor Nursing Center, they've been preparing since Sunday night.

"Last night we went to Walmart, stocked up, and we made sure that we put extra ice in extra ice bins," said Helen Munday, administrator at Hillside.

They had to stop using actual dishes in favor of styrofoam, and didn't use tablecloths Monday so they wouldn't have to do laundry.

The city of Gatesville is ready for the long haul, too.

Administrators hoped a generator from Houston would be pumping water by Tuesday.

"We've ordered also about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of diesel," said Luis Lobo with the city of Gatesville, "so we are anticipating it's going to take them a few days to fix it."

In the meantime, everyone's making sacrifices.

"It means my kids, no showers," Anderson said. "I have a son that does track. He stinks when he comes home, so no showers."

Trying to make what little water they do have last as long as possible.

"We're hoping today and tomorrow," Wyble said, "and we'll punt after that."

With repairs in the works, everyone's hoping there won't be an "after that."

Affected towns are all supplied by the city of Gatesville.

The city wasn't prepared for such a breakdown because it hadn't happened to this degree in the 20 years the water intake system has been in place.

The city says a permanent backup generator would come with a price tag up to $750,000.


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