Increased water use due to dangerous heat is putting pressure on the water system, with multiple residents in Fort Worth going briefly without water as breaks in water mains continue to arise across the city.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Fort Worth expects temperatures to remain in the high 90s to 100s for the metroplex this week.
As temperatures rise, so do the cases of water mains breaking in Fort Worth, with the breaks largely occurring in older cast-iron pipes needing replacement. The city, on average, repaired three of these occurrences per day in the previous week, according to NBC 5 DFW.
This is not an unfamiliar issue for Fort Worth. The city reported last year that extreme heat and ground shifting caused 476 main breaks, with 221 of these occurring within 90 days of July 18. Even this number pales in comparison to what was seen during Winter Storm Uri in 2021, with 720 in less than three weeks.
Fort Worth Water Department spokesperson Mary Gugliuzza attributed the breaks to the increased water usage.
“People are using more water, so we’re pumping more, putting more pressure on the system and that can have an impact as well,” Gugliuzza told NBC 5.
The city has repaired 201 of these breaks so far this year. Gugliuzza said 53 of the repairs occurred in the last 30 days.
The use of water is one precaution that has been advised to avoid heat-related illnesses as high temperatures persist.
The dangerous heat has already been blamed for 13 deaths in Texas this year, with 11 of those deaths occurring in Webb County, according to NBC 5.
Dr. Corinne Stern, the medical examiner for Webb County, told NBC 5 that those dead were between the ages of 60 and 80 years old and that many had some form of preexisting health condition. Stern also said that many in that region do not have access to proper air conditioning.
The NWS expects triple-digit temperatures in the metroplex this coming weekend, with temperatures in the high 90s throughout the week.