LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -After hearing from some residents, it seems to be just one thing after another. From rolling blackouts, yesterday to now a depleted water supply for nearly 6,000 residents in Calcasieu Parish.
Water access is a major problem for Lake Area residents following this brutal winter storm.
Lake Charles city officials said the city’s 6 water plants are producing double what its winter output usually is around this time of year. In all, they’re outputting 18 million gallons a day.
Wednesday afternoon, City Utilities Manager Kevin Heise and Mayor Nic Hunter issued an urgent plea to residents to turn off their faucets and report any major leaks.
”I wish that I could point to the clock and say at this time water pressure will be restored,” said Mayor Nic Hunter.
According to Mayor Hunter, the city did not receive an advance notice before the city-wide blackout--which has also played a factor in the delay of water pressure.
”Had there been advance notice, we certainly could have done more before every single plant was stripped of its power source,” Hunter said.
As of Wednesday evening, there is no official timeline as to when full water pressure will be restored.
Click HERE to view a list of current water outages as of Wednesday.
“This occurred (Tuesday) morning when a complete city-wide blackout occurred with no advance warning of our electrical system. It takes time to switch our plants over from Entergy power to generator power,” said Hunter. “During that window of time is when our entire water reserves were depleted and that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in trying to play catch up.”
Hunter says the city is also monitoring how the lack of water pressure is impacting local EMS.
”I have great faith in our fire department and they have protocols in place for when there’s a drop in water pressure. What I’m more concerned about is our hospitals and local healthcare.”
According to Spokesperson Matt Felder, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is continuing to monitor the situation and will make adjustments as conditions improve.
Currently, the hospital has access to water but it is at a low pressure. Felder says they are currently in the process of trucking water in that will allow the hospital to get the pressure back up until the city is back to normal. (It’s the same process they adapted during the hurricanes.)
- Due to citywide water pressure issues, all elective procedures and surgeries have been canceled for Thursday, February 18. This includes surgery, cath lab, and endoscopy procedures.
Christus Ochsner Health SWLA issued the following statement in regards to the current water situation:
Kevin Heise says so far they’ve repaired about 150 residential water leaks in addition to a main valve break in South Lake Charles.
“My best analogy to the public is that if you’re trying to fill up a car tire...you could put all the air you want but with little holes in the car tire, you’ll never get to the pressure that you want,” said Heise.
We asked Heise if frozen pipes could be to blame for why many are not seeing water drip out of their faucets. He says it is likely the case for some residents. However, there’s no way to really determine that until temperatures begin to warm up.
Mayor Hunter says moving forward, there will be more conversations in light of future storms and how much advance-notice municipalities can receive from utility companies on when to switch to generator-powered water.
“The ultimate message is until people heed that call and turn off the faucets, we’ll be in this situation. We need the public’s help right now.”
The mayor asks residents to report any water problems to city officials.
For water leaks: (337) 491-1483
For sewage back-up issues: (337) 491-1414