Nearly 6,000 people without water after water companies shut off service

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NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — Nearly 6,000 people in Iberia Parish are without water after two water companies shut off water to their customers, saying the recent freeze created an extreme demand they couldn’t keep up with.

“When the water is still on, that water is gushing through the busted pipes, and it’s causing the water pressure to drop, and that’s a big problem going on here right now,” Iberia Parish President Larry Richard said.

In freezing temperatures, we leave a drip in the faucet. Richard explains that when pipes freeze or bust though, instead of preventing the problem, running water can create a bigger one.

“We have people that are trying to do what they think is the right thing, trickling a little bit of water out of their pipes to keep their water running just a little bit. The problem is when you get 20,000 people doing that at the same time, that little bit of water in each home becomes a lot of water, and [water companies] can’t recover the amount of water as quick as you need it to keep those tanks right, to keep the pressure,” he explained.

The only solution way water companies can recover their system is to temporarily cut off their water supply to customers.

“Basically what you do when you shut the water off, you get to where they can get more water to your tanks and get the capacity back,” Richard told News Ten.

For Bayou Teche Water Works and Waterworks in District Three, it was the only way to bring their water reserves and pressure back to normal.

“I have not heard one call from any plants where they are experiencing broken pipe that’s causing the water not being able to go to the customer,” Richard said. “I have not heard that, but you do have a lot of customers that have busted pipes.”

Customers are urged to stop running water from faucets immediately and check their homes for leaks and busted pipes.

The water companies plan to turn water back on again Thursday night but will shut off water again Friday morning.

By the weekend, they hope to have water running normally again.

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