The City of St. Martinville is asking all residents to conserve water over the next 24 hours, because of the strain on the water system caused by the cold weather.
The freezing temps are stressing out the water system in two ways. There’s an unstoppable free-flow of water from broken pipes. And, people are dripping their faucets at night so the pipes won’t freeze, which is making it much worse. The city says the system can’t keep up.
“We really want to avoid turning off the water in the city,” said Melinda Mitchell, mayor of St. Martinville. “We’re asking customers to conserve the water by boiling water for bathing purposes, or they need to purchase water at the store, jugs of water.”
The goal is to keep the city’s water tower full, but the water level keeps dipping. Residents and businesses in town use about 1,000,000 gallons of water on a normal day. Since the cold weather hit, the city is using much more.
“Don’t run your dishwasher. If you can delay washing clothes, don’t run your washing machine,” said Brian Touchet, superintendent of St. Martinville Public Works. “Don’t let your faucets drip tonight and tomorrow night when we’re going to have cold weather. It’s better to shut your water off to your house, if possible.”
If there is no reduction in the amount of water used, the city says they may have to shut off the water system. However, that’s something they want to avoid.