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Millions of Texans are coping with a burgeoning water crisis following rare winter storm

Summary List PlacementJust as temperatures start to rise above freezing after an unprecedented winter storm left millions of Texans without power or heat this week, the state is now grappling with yet another crisis. One in four Texans — 7 million people — on Thursday were under orders to boil...

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Just as temperatures start to rise above freezing after an unprecedented winter storm left millions of Texans without power or heat this week, the state is now grappling with yet another crisis.

One in four Texans — 7 million people — on Thursday were under orders to boil tap water before drinking it as a precautionary measure against potential bacteria contamination from the low water pressure, according to the Associated Press. 

The unusually frigid temperatures this week have impacted water pressure across the region, leading to hundreds of thousands of burst pipes and clean drinking water shortages in multiple cities. Hundreds of water systems were damaged by the freeze, the BBC reported. 

According to the outlet, close to 13 million people, nearly half of the state’s population, have faced some type of disruption to water services in the past few days.

Hospitals and emergency services across the region are also facing water shortages and low water pressure. A man died at an Abilene health care facility this week when failing water pressure made his medical treatment impossible, the AP reported.

State officials were unable to say when the water would come back on, the BBC reported, explaining that local water providers would be more equipped to answer that question and many of them have not yet determined how badly their systems were damaged.

Local plumbers have reportedly struggled to meet the demand of bursting water pipes across the state, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that he was providing permits to out-of-state plumbers to serve as reinforcements to Texas’s own plumbing workforce that is now working around the clock. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people waited in freezing temperatures to get clean drinking water in Houston.

Many residents still have no running water in their homes.

The city of Houston set up distribution sites to hand out bottles of water while it remains on a boil water notice.

One Houston water distribution site saw massive lines Friday.

In San Antonio, food banks organized drive-through food and water sites.

Nearly 7 million Texans — a quarter of the state — were under a boil water advisory as of Thursday.

Burst pipes across the region have caused flooding in many homes and businesses.

Water service providers across the region are asking those who have water to restrict their usage.

State officials were unable to offer a timeline of when water problems would be fixed.

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