A series of leaky pipes at one of Laredo’s two main water plants have left half the city without water since Friday, Mayor Pete Saenz told Border Report.
In a press conference on Monday, Saenz explained that the issue has been brewing for years, even before he started serving in 2014. Repairing the 300-foot long system could cost up to $50 million given the 50-year-old pipes in need of replacement, KGNS-TV reported.
“We’re asking people who are getting water to truly conserve usage for basic needs so the pressure may build up and we can get water to others,” Saenz said Border Report.
“I’m telling people to expect more breakages.”
To respond to Saenz’ call, the city published a statement asking its citizens to conserve water, “we are asking you to do this so that everyone can have water as soon as possible.”
Border Report reports that this is the city’s third water crisis in the past two and a half years. When the first issue arose, the City Council authorized approximately $200 million for water system repairs, but the funds have been used for only $52 million. A $300 million addition might be necessary to replace inner-city tanks and lines, Newsweek reported.
Over $47,500 in median household income in Laredo falls below both the national median income of over $67,500 and the Texas median income of almost $62,000. Also, the city has a poverty rate of nearly 27 percent, which is much higher than the national average of over 11 percent as well as the state average of 13 percent.
Apart from the economic challenges and challenges facing its water supply, Laredo is still suffering from an ongoing COVID outbreak despite levels falling across the state. Positive cases are only about 12 percent in the state overall, but they are around 30 percent in Laredo, according to The Texas Tribune.
“We’ve been to hell and back. And back again,” Saenz told the Texas Tribune.
“And back out.”
Newsweek reached City Hall for a statement but they didn’t revert.