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Broken Water Line Prompts Conservation Alerts

Monday, Jul 14, 2014  |  Updated 5:47 PM CDT
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Broken Water Line Prompts Conservation Alerts

Tim Graham

Officials at Fort Hood and in several Central Texas cities have issued water conservation alerts after a weekend work crew struck a large water line serving much of the region, leading to the loss of 20 million gallons of water.

The accident Saturday in Belton led Copperas Cove to limit water use by residents to "essential" needs only, prompted other cities such as Killeen and Harker Heights to issue similar alerts, and Fort Hood to order that all tap water be boiled.

Copperas Cove city spokesman Kevin Keller said restaurants were asked to close for the evenings and residents told to use water "sparingly" as part of a Stage 5 conservation alert.

In addition to the boil order, Fort Hood issued a statement saying only "key" personnel would report to work Monday because of the water shortage. Child care centers at the Army post were closed Monday and outpatient services at the Darnall Army Medical Center canceled.

The water line was repaired Monday but it will take another day or two before normal water flow returns, according to J.D. Dominguez, plant operator for the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.

Chris Haug, chief of media relations at Fort Hood, directed water-related questions to American Water, a private utility that provides water to the post. A woman who answered the phone Monday at American Water directed questions to Fort Hood.

The boil order at the post -- which has some 40,000 active duty personnel -- will remain in effect until American Water receives confirmation from a laboratory analysis that the water is safe to drink, according to a statement released Monday.

In a statement, officials with the Darnall Army Medical Center said while the second and third floors of the facility are experiencing low to no water pressure, measures were taken to ensure enough water was provided for those areas.

Medical center patients and staff have access to several thousand bottles of water provided by the military base, as well as 1,700 bottles provided by the Red Cross, according to the statement. Portable toilets and hand-washing stations have also been set up near the medical facility.

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