Richardson’s water supplier, the North Texas Municipal Water District, reports some of its equipment is frozen and that it could be another day or two until it is restored. The timing comes as municipal water mains and home water pipes are breaking as temperatures get closer back to normal for this time of year.

With current water demands outpacing the supply, water managers are asking everyone to continue to limit water use to only their basic needs. Also, the rise in temperatures allows limiting the dripping of pipes to protect from freezing.

It is recommended that if you have power, leave your faucet dripping for 30 minutes on and then 2 hours off.

If you don’t have power, leave faucets slowly dripping.

We’ll publish updates on the water supply and changes in conservation needs as new information is available.

Exceptional Water Demands Severely Stressing Water Production in Region

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) has initiated immediate curtailment of non-essential water use within its service area. With extreme weather conditions continuing throughout the North Texas region, NTMWD is experiencing unprecedented high water demands as a result of our customer’s needs to fill distribution tanks within their systems. These demands are outpacing the District’s ability to recharge city supplies at normal rates. The cities and utilities served by NTMWD are asked to preserve water supplies for essential uses vital for firefighting, medical facilities, and basic human health and sanitation. Residents can help by limiting usage of items such as washing machines, dishwashers and limiting showers or bathing.

“The District is confident, with public assistance, that essential water demands can be met by eliminating other water uses,” states Billy George, NTMWD Assistant Deputy, Water. “We ask the cities and water utilities served by NTMWD to share this notice and to take any measures necessary to assist in reducing non-essential water use,” George adds.

NTMWD’s Wylie Water Treatment complex has experienced prolonged regional water demands at levels above 350 million gallons of water per day (MGD), significantly higher than normal for winter months.

NTMWD personnel are actively working to place additional treatment capacities online, however thawing frozen systems does take time. We are hopeful to have additional capacity online this evening or in the morning. It is critical at this time and until additional supplies are available to lower water demands to only essential water uses.

Immediate curtailment measures include:

  • Isolate any water leaks immediately
  • Do not hoard water
  • Do not wash clothes or dishes, wash only when necessary
  • Delay showers and only hand-bathe when necessary
  • When possible, do not drip your faucets

    o  If you must drip or stream your faucet, collect the water for other use such as filling toilets, washing dishes, etc.

  • Do not use the garbage disposal, place food scraps in garbage can, (composting is a great alternative)
  • Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave and soap up in the shower
  • Ensure that hose bibs and faucets are protected from freezing weather
  • Locate and repair any water leaks
  • When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl instead of under running water

The District continues coordination efforts with cities and water utilities to ensure our ability to meet the water demand for essential services.

Frozen Pipes 

Reports of residential waterline breaks continue to pour into the water customer service center. Many people are expected to find broken water lines over the next few days as temperatures begin to rise.

Many people are expected to find broken water lines over the next few days as temperatures slowly begin to rise. The information below will help to know if run into issues with frozen pipes.

Minimizing damage if you have frozen pipes

  • Shut off the main water supply to the house. The main water shut off valve should be located along an outside wall of the house. It is typically located next to the house’s main water meter.
  • If you cannot turn off the main water supply to your house, call the City of Richardson’s 24-hour Response Line at 972-744-4111.
  • Once the water has been shut off, open all faucets in the house to reduce pressure on the pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
  • If you can access the frozen pipe you can attempt to thaw it by using a hair dryer or space heater. You should never use an open flame.
  • Examine exposed pipes for leaks, which may appear as the lines begin to thaw.
  • Contact a professional plumber to inspect and make necessary repairs to the frozen pipes.

If you have not yet taken precautions to prevent frozen pipes, you should do so now since temperatures are expected to remain below freezing through at least Friday. These precautions include:

  • The pipes most vulnerable to freezing are located in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls. Leave a small trickle of both hot and cold water coming out of these faucets to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Open sink cabinet doors to allow heat from the home’s heating system to circulate around the pipes.
  • Remove outdoor hoses and cover the faucet with an insulated cover. If you do not have an insulated cover and cannot get to a home and garden store to purchase on, wrap the faucet up with T-shirts, towels, rags, etc…
  • If you have an automatic sprinkler system, shut the system off.