6 On Your Side: Water Waste Fix - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

6 On Your Side: Water Waste Fix

In Stage 4 Drought Disaster, city workers in Wichita Falls have changed the way they respond to water main breaks, in an effort to conserve water.

Before Stage 4, crews would just pinch back the main to let less water out until they could fix it. Now, the mains are completely shut off until crews can respond.

"That will keep residents out of water, unfortunately, for several hours," said Utilities Operations Manager Daniel Nix.

However, residents like Ron Preston, who was without water for more than 13 hours on New Year's Day, are understanding. "Yea, it's a little inconvenient, but you just do what you have to do," said Preston.

Nix says the inconvenience is worth the water saved. Last year 187,674,408 gallons of water were lost in water main breaks, when the city was still in Stages 2 and 3.

To put that into perspective: the average household in Wichita Falls uses 7,480 gallons of water a month, so all the water lost in main breaks last year could have supplied the average household with water for 2,090 years.

Nix said city leaders decided to wait until Stage 4 to implement this policy because of the inconvenience to residents and because it requires a lot more time and work from city crews.

Shutting a pipe off creates "negative pressure" which can suck material out of homes and into the pipe. "If the pipe is not flushed or disinfected properly, whatever we flushed out of that house, when we turn it back on, goes downstream to somebody else's house and then you end up drinking it," said Nix.

Therefore, main breaks now take longer to fix, with crews having to repair the pipe, flush and disinfect it, test the water and then put it back in service.

Nix does not yet have the number of main breaks that have happened since Wichita Falls entered Stage 4. Stay with Newschannel 6 and we will follow up with him to let you know how much water the new policy is saving.

Christina Myers

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