The electricity supply crisis caused by a winter storm that hit Texas has also become a water supply crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are struggling with broken pipes or being forced to boil water, according to the New York Times, as utilities have frozen wells and treatment plants running on back-up batteries.
In Harris County, where Houston is located, more than a million people have been affected by warnings from utilities to boil water or cut off supplies, said Brian Murray, spokesperson for the emergency agency in the region, according to the American newspaper.
In the capital, Austin, boiling water was also recommended due to a power outage at the city’s largest treatment plant. In Kyle, the city has asked residents to stop using the water due to the scarcity.
Other regions, however, suffered even more serious consequences. At St. David Medical Center in Austin, authorities were attempting Wednesday night (17) to fix the heating system that was failing due to low water pressure – the temperature was -4C at midnight Thursday ( 18).
They were forced to look for portable toilets and distribute water bottles to patients and staff so that they could wash their hands.
This Thursday (18), the storm brought freezing rain, snow and temperatures well below the average for the state. To cope with the intense cold, Texans use ovens, barbecues, gasoline generators, and the vehicles themselves to warm up.
At least 38 have died in the United States due to the cold snap, according to the New York Times. The storm also left roads impassable, affected the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and covered three quarters of the American continent with snow.
According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a truce in freezing temperatures is not expected until Saturday (20).
The situation, however, is already starting to reverse. Less than 500,000 consumers were without electricity, a drop that has reached 5 million in recent days.