Last Wednesday, the city of Gunter, about 10 miles North of Celina, released an emergency notification warning residents: due to excessive water use, the city could run out of water by the following day. This is the result of the unfortunate combination of high record temperatures, the ongoing drought, citizens that didn’t adhere to the water conservation efforts and an electrical failure of two of the three water wells that provide water to the city.
This electrical failure of the Bridges and Bledsoe wells meant that the city’s water storage tanks were unable to refill, which is yet another consequence of the extreme temperatures we are experiencing this summer. In an update issued last Thursday, the city stated, “Wells are typically designed to run at 50-60% of the time. Due to extreme heat, drought conditions and water demand, these wells were running continuously, which is why they continue to fail.” The update urges residents to continue all conservation efforts, especially outdoor watering. “EVERY DROP COUNTS!” concluded the update.
This situation could repeat in cities across Texas. According to the Texas Water Development Board, 60% of the water used in the state comes from groundwater systems. “There’s a lot of cities who have wells, and a lot of cities are having problems with wells right now. … You just can’t pick up a phone and call [contractors] and they arrive the next day — it doesn’t work that way,” said Gunter City Manager Rick Chaffin to the Texas Tribune, adding, “We’re very fortunate to have somebody on site as quickly as we have.”
On Friday contractors started working on the Bledsoe Well. Once the motors are repaired and the well is cleaned, water will have to be tested for consumption and there is no certain date for completion. According to Friday’s update, Bridges, the second water well, was flushed and its water is being tested, the city estimates it will be working again by midweek.
In the meantime, local businesses are doing their part to help. Brandy Cochran, president of the Gunter Chamber of Commerce told CBS News that 100 cases of bottled water were distributed on Thursday and Friday. In Sherman, 903 brewers joined the efforts by pausing beer production and instead canning over 20,000 cans of water from a local spring to drive it to Gunter city hall for emergency distribution. Brewery owner Jeremy Roberts said, “We stopped brewing and stopped canning beer — it’s all hands on deck.”