Water restrictions remain in place in Galveston

April 26, 2011 6:55:52 AM PDT
Water restrictions remain in place today as a setback has delayed work on a broken water line in Galveston. Work to repair that broken water line was expected to begin this morning, but the delay has pushed it back until the right crew arrives.

In the meantime, businesses and homeowners are being kept under tight restrictions. The water rationing will last until at least Wednesday, possibly longer. However, some businesses that use quite a bit of water have found a way around it. One of those businesses is the Moody Gardens golf course.

The City of Galveston is in a Stage 5 water emergency. A water leak in a 42-inch water line is gushing at a rate of 5,000 gallons per minute and it's been happening at least since Friday when it was discovered.

"It appears that it's shoddy workmanship from when they constructed it nine years ago," Galveston City Manager Steve LeBlanc said.

On Monday, a crew from Dallas headed to Texas City to begin repairs. There was a delay on starting those repairs, because there is very specific piece of equipment that is needed to fix the particular pipe. But the city of Galveston is still expecting things to be repaired by Wednesday.

For now, the city has issued mandatory rationing of water. That means no watering lawns, filling swimming pools, or washing your car with potable water, which is water that you could use for drinking or bathing.

Even though people in Galveston have been doing what they can to conserve water through the holiday weekend, water consumption dropped nearly in half. By Monday afternoon, water began to flow to the island through the old pipe, but restrictions remain in place.

The order could virtually destroy a golf course, but at the Moody Garden's course, they're OK. They don't use potable water on their course so they are able to keep the greens green, and avoid what would be a huge loss in revenue if they had to stop watering.

"It's water that comes through the city and then gets pumped into our water treatment plant. That was part of the deal when Moody Gardens entered into the arrangement with the city of Galveston about the golf course," said Bill Pushak, general manager of the Moody Gardens Golf Course. "If we didn't have the water that we do, we would lose the turf on the golf course. And we would start rationing it by shutting down the fairways, then the tee boxes and then the greens. I've seen it at other golf courses and it's not a good situation to get into, especially with the wind that we have right now and the temperatures are increasing, it definitely would kill the grass."

For the people who live there, they're wondering if the island's other water pipes are intact.

"I think they ought to look out for the future and make sure this doesn't happen again," Galveston resident Alive Harrington said.

The ban doesn't affect commercial car washes because the city can't legally order them to stop their business. The city says later this week, a more scaled back version of this rationing will go into effect, but for now they say they don't believe service will be interrupted.

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