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"We did not shut down our water system" | False rumors about Waco water circulating on social media

Rumors have circulated on social media that the City of Waco plans to turn off the water supply. This is FALSE. But the supply of water is struggling to meet demand.

WACO, Texas — See the video message from the Waco mayor below.

Rumors have circulated on social media that the City of Waco plans to turn off the water supply. This is FALSE.

"These rumors, which are statewide at this point, are making the situation worse because they create fear and encourage citizens to use more water at a time when production supply is limited," a press release from the City of Waco said.

Because of the extremely cold temperatures and power outages, the city s struggling to meet water demand. If this continues, mandatory boil water notices will be issued for all or a part of the City of Waco and its customer cities, according to the release.

"The City is taking every step possible to address this problem. However, to ensure there is water for everyone, the public’s help is needed," the release said.

Waco asks that the public limit's its water usage and to take the following steps for the next 48 hours:

  1. In lieu of a bath or shower, consider a sponge bath or basin bath.
  2. Do not use a washing machine for laundry or an automated dishwasher (handwash only using limited water).
  3. Do not drip all faucets in your home. To prevent lines from freezing, drip the faucet that is farthest from your meter, particularly lines located on an outside wall. 
  4. Do not store or hoard water by filling bathtubs or other large containers. If everyone does this, water pressure will fall resulting in the following consequences:
  5. Mandatory boil water notices will be required (at a time when many citizens have no electricity with which to boil water)
  6. Water for firefighting purposes will be threatened or, worse, unavailable.
  7. Each day fill enough containers to provide (a) each person in your home 1 gallon of water for the next 24 hours, and (b) an additional gallon per day for cooking use.

Surrounding communities that Waco provides water to include Hewitt, Lorena, Woodway, West, Lacy Lakeview and Robinson. These communities are also obligated to follow the above guidelines and relay this information to their community, the city said. 

Waco also requests the public’s help in identifying any water main breaks or leaks. Leaks and water main breaks can be reported by calling 254-299-2489.

Waco Mayor Dylan Meek provided an update on the water capacity Wednesday on YouTube. He said there were three separate events Tuesday that caused a strain on the city's water capacity.

The Riverside Water Treatment Facility lost power Tuesday, which removed millions of gallons of water from the system. Therefore, water usage outpaces the production of water for Waco and surrounding areas, Meek said.

Meek said rumors were the second major event that caused a water shortage. Because people were under the impression that water would be shut off, they began to stock up, adding to the shortage. These rumors were false. The City of Waco never planned to turn the water off, Meek said.

Meek said that as the day went on Tuesday, major system malfunctions kept making water issues worse. For Mor information, you can go to YouTube to watch the full video.

"We did not shut down our water system. through the significant efforts of city staff, we have re-established water production and water pumping at both water plants," Meek said.

Meek said the city is not out of the woods yet. The potential for another issue during winter weather is still possible. 

Meek asked that for the next 48 hours, Waco and surrounding areas continue to conserve water as best as possible. He also asked that if you see a water leak or break, please call 254-299-2489 as quickly as possible.

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