This small town on the shore of Cedar Creek Reservoir ran out of water on Sunday.“No water. No water. Zero water,” said Kemp Mayor Donald Kile. “We’re in pretty bad shape, to be honest with you.” As the temperature surged into the triple digits for the 37th consecutive day, the mayor decided Sunday afternoon to shut down the municipal water system. The unexpected move infuriated and surprised residents of this Kaufman County town 40 miles southeast of Dallas.
“It’s terrible… we’re talking about survival!” said 57-year-old Kay Bloomfield, who couldn’t hold back her emotions when a utility worker showed up at her front door to hand out a notice about the water. “You tell them this old woman is hot down here — and not just because of the heat!” she yelled. Bloomfield is particularly nervous about her ailing 72-year-old husband. “It’s 107 degrees in my blood, because you people… down there won’t get off your duff and fix this stuff!”
The near-record heat wave led to heavy water demand that taxed the town’s aging infrastructure. Water shortages are becoming all too common for many in Kemp. Last summer, the town shut off the water for three days for similar reasons.
“It’s sad to say, but it’s poor planning,” said Kile, who was elected mayor recently. “When they put that water treatment plant in, they should have implemented something then… it just wasn’t ever done.” The town recently began its first pipeline repair project in years. It’s spending $350,000 to replace 4,000 feet of pipe.
City leaders concede that much more work is needed. The mayor decided to shut off the supply so the town’s water towers could be refilled. It’s a long process that will likely take days to restore service. Workers handed out donated bottled water at City Hall. Residents stopped by to fill up buckets from a large truck offering untreated water.
Clyde Scott got a few cases of bottled water, but he needs hundreds of more gallons for his ranch. With his ponds dry, he relies on city water for his family and his 31 horses. “They told me they can’t fill me up with water,” the rancher complained. He bought several water tanks hoping to stock up. “I’ve got seven kids… we can’t be without water!”
Damn, that’s horrible. Hopefully they find a solution to this issue pronto!