The entire city of Austin, Texas, the capital city of the nation’s second most populous state, is now under a boil water notice, water utility officials announced on Wednesday evening.
“As a result of the extreme weather conditions, a city-wide boil water notice has been issued due to power loss at The Ullrich Water Treatment Plant, Austin Water’s largest water treatment facility, and drops in water pressures below minimum standards,” said Austin Water in a statement. “We worked with Austin Energy to quickly assess our system and restore power and are in the process of bringing Ullrich Water Treatment Plant back online.”
— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 17, 2021
Austin Water, the city’s water utility, also linked to detailed guidelines for the boil water notice, which includes information for dishes, laundry, pets, and baby formula, among other specific circumstances. (The full guidelines can be read here.)
To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.
In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
According to The Austin American-Statesman, the Texas Commission on Water Quality requires boil water notices to go out when water pressure drops below minimum standards, and the notice will remain in place until it is rescinded. Currently, millions of other Texas residents are under similar water advisories, have been instructed to stop using tap water, or have been instructed to conserve water due to looming shortages.
“Water should only be used to sustain life at this point,” said the city of Kyle, Texas, which has 45,000 residents, reports The Associated Press. “We are close to running out of water supply in Kyle.”
Shortages have also been affecting the Texas energy grid, which left millions of Texans without power amidst the wave of cold weather. In response to calls to conserve energy, the Texas Capitol has gone dark, with the exception of certain safety lights, according to the local news outlet KXAN.
The National Weather Service forecasts that snow and ice will continue to affect many areas of the U.S. already struggling through Friday night. Currently, more than 100 million people are under some sort of winter-related National Weather Service advisory, notes The Washington Post.
Snow and ice is forecast for a broad swath of the US through Friday night. Many of these areas have recently experienced significant impacts from wintry precipitation already this week. Visit https://t.co/eh5HNSg8yq for tips on how to prepare and keep you and your family safe. pic.twitter.com/izeNsCldzo
— National Weather Service (@NWS) February 17, 2021