AUSTIN (NEXSTAR)— What’s happening in Odessa, Texas is raising questions on a statewide level.
If infrastructure problems are being blamed for residents going days without water, could that happen in other parts of Texas?
Clean and running water is a basic necessity. However, on a couple of the hottest days this summer, thousands in Odessa went without it after a water main break left much of the city out to dry.
The city’s water treatment plant has restarted, yet a boil water order remains in place.
“If you wish to consume it, drink it, cook with it … still need to boil the water,” Thomas Kerr, director of utilities for the City of Odessa said.
It could be until Thursday until everyone’s water is restored.
The pipes in Odessa are more than 60 years old, according to the mayor — which isn’t uncommon in Texas.
In fact, President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure deal back in November, allocating $35 billion for Texas. The white house cited that, “for decades infrastructure in Texas has suffered from a systemic lack of investment.”
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ report card gave Texas a “C” in 2021 for overall infrastructure. It said that it’s mediocre and needs attention.
Leander resident Anne McCarthy said her Central Texas neighborhood has been dealing with water outages on and off for the past few years, with a water main break in the area causing problems just the other day.
“Neighbors just around the corner have no water even right now,” McCarthy said. “And others have brown water right now.”
Biden’s plan promises $2.9 billion over the next five years to improve water infrastructure specifically—something that feels more needed than ever.
“It’s worrisome every day,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t feel like we live in you know, a first-world country with our water situation.”
The infrastructure law calls for funding to be distributed over the next five years. But, there’s no clear timeline on when infrastructure projects will be completed.