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Midland officials issued a boil-water notice to residents Thursday after a water main break, making it the latest Texas city to issue such a warning in recent months.
The local reservoir level was below safety levels, city officials said. That led to dirty water being “soaked” into the treatment plant and triggering the boil-water notice. The city was establishing four water distribution centers, suggesting the notice would last through at least Saturday.
“Be cognizant of your neighbor,” Mayor Patrick Payton said as he addressed concerns about empty grocery store shelves.
The West Texas city is home to more than 130,000 residents and is a major hub for the state’s oil and cattle industries.
[A boil-water notice in Houston made national news. In rural Texas, it’s a way of life.]
Midland joins a growing list of cities — large and small — that have told residents not to drink water due to a variety of issues in recent months. Last summer, nearby Odessa residents went without water for several days amid a dayslong heat wave due to a broken water line. During Thanksgiving, nearly 700 residents in East Texas boiled their water as the town of town of Zavalla grappled with aging infrastructure. And the city of Houston, the fourth-largest in the U.S., made headlines when it told its residents to boil water for about two days after two transformers at a water treatment plant went offline.
Payton said it was the first boil-water notice in Midland in about two decades. While boil-water notices in large cities tend to make national headlines, rural areas in Texas experience water-boil notices all too often. Residents in Grapeland, on the outskirts of Houston, experienced roughly 70 boil-water notices in 2022.
Water main breaks are increasing all across the state, even with plans by the Texas Water Development Board to improve some old infrastructure. Midland’s latest break occurred from issues at the water plant and a break near the ground source water, according to a local report.