Before noon, other huge sections of San Antonio will be out of the boil water notice, SAWS CEO says

Residents have dealt with frozen pipes, power outages, but SAWS executive says service is almost completely restored

SAN ANTONIO – As of Sunday morning, families in the San Antonio area were still dealing with the aftermath of the winter storm and water issues.

Robert Puente, president and CEO of the San Antonio Water System, joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss the latest on water service restoration.

“Quite simply, if you don’t have power to move water, it’s not going to happen,” Puente said. “You saw those individuals in your prior stories carrying water. Water is very, very heavy and a tremendous amount of power is needed to move that water into the neighborhood. So, during the blackouts, our pump stations would go out.”

Following the storm, SAWS customers began to wonder what their bill would look like after some dealt with broken or frozen pipes during the storm.

Puente says SAWS has decided to have customers pay the bill that was the “lower of the last two months.”

“So, for the majority of these individuals that have lost water through broken pipes, it will not affect them at all other than their normal water bill that they’ve always been accustomed to,” Puente said.

There are still boil water notices in place for a majority of the San Antonio area.

Puente says the boil water notices were put in place after prolonged periods without power at pump stations, which affected the system’s pressure issues related to leaking pipes.

“We are happy to say that none of our lines broke. We had no broken lines because of freezing weather. And so our system stayed intact,” Puente said. “There were no breaks where contaminants could come in. But the low pressure required under strict guidelines, state guidelines, that you had had to issue a boil water notice. So, this was a precautionary measure. We had to do it, as you mentioned, with that first picture, the majority of the city is out. I’m happy to report that this morning before noon, other huge sections of the city will be out of the boil water notice.”

According to SAWS, most people in the San Antonio area have water, unless you are now dealing with broken pipes and manual shutoffs. To see SAWS’ boil notice map, click here.

“We’re having problems with apartment complexes because the managers are shutting off the water out in the streets and causing problems,” Puente said. “But they’re not weather-related anymore. It’s just an inability to get everybody online and doing the proper things.”

Puente said the winter storm affected the system for an entire week and that there could be long-lasting effects like water restrictions enforce later on.

“It will not have an effect on our water supply because we still have other than the Edwards, we have eight other sources of water, Puente said. “So, San Antonio, even if it’s a hot, dry summer, we’ll have plenty of water. The restrictions, however, because of the aquifer and its level – there are thousands and thousands of leaky pipes throughout the city. So, you might see a still in stage one restrictions. We are using more water on an individual day during this calamity than we were using on any individual day in the heat of the summer.”

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About the Author

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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