Water rationing ordered in Galveston

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April 24, 2011 7:48:20 PM PDT
Galveston's water emergency is expected to last a few more days, so the city wants people to conserve. Officials say a main waterline started spilling gallons and gallons of water Friday and it could take a few days to get it repaired.

The leak is near the Causeway and it helps serve Galveston as well as Tiki Island, Dickinson, League City and La Marque.

According to authorities, 8,000 gallons of water is leaking every minute. At that rate, you could fill a swimming pool every three minutes.

It's now a race against time to get the groundwater storage tanks on the island filled to capacity.

A water shortage emergency is the last thing Galveston residents thought they'd be dealing with this Easter weekend. We broke the news to Elizabeth Foster as she was washing her car.

"I have to say, I'm not one to stop in the middle of a wash and leave the soap on the car, but yeah we would have waited had we known about it," Foster said.

A leak in the 42-inch line discovered early Friday morning is impacting the city's water supply.

Galveston's city manager Steve LeBlanc is encouraging residents to watch their water usage and calls the situation critical. Right now, water on the island is still being used faster than it's being replenished.

"We have to get our tanks recharged because once we start the repair on the line, the water will be completely cut off to the island," LeBlanc said.

There are certain rules you need to follow for rationing water. The city of Galveston says you can't water your lawn or landscaping. Also, washing your vehicles is not allowed and pool owners are being told to hold off filling their pools the next few days.

The Gulf Coast Water Authority, which owns the waterline, is set to begin repairs Monday.

Accordng to Galveston city officials, the line has been up and running since 2002. GCWA's interim general manager says crews are in the process of pumping out all the water to get a closer look at the leak.

Meanwhile, residents say they'll do their part to conserve.

"That is even more worrisome if new equipment is failing," LuAnne Majors said.

The repair job could take 24-48 hours. LeBlanc expressed concern Sunday that the materials needed to repair the line were not readily available.

According to the interim general manager of GCWA, the staff put in a request for those materials a couple years ago. He said the former general manager of GCWA, who just resigned last Thursday, refused to buy the materials because it was a new line.

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