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Water donations pour in after Terlingua well zapped by lightning

June 29th, 2017 under Top Stories
(photo by and courtesy of LAURIE HOLMAN) Laurie Holman’s truck bed is filled with bottled water to be distributed to Terlingua residents as the city’s main well was struck struck by lightning.

(photo by and courtesy of LAURIE HOLMAN)
Laurie Holman’s truck bed is filled with bottled water to be distributed to Terlingua residents as the city’s main well was struck struck by lightning.

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

TERLINGUA – Area neighbors and organizations have jumped in to assist many Terlingua and Study Butte residents who were without water following last week’s lightning thunderstorm that took out the community’s main production well on Bee Mountain.

“It has been awesome,” said Rob Dean of the Study Butte Water Corporation, stating that the unincorporated community has received help from a number of entities and organizations from Alpine, Lajitas Resort, the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department, and many individuals. “This has been that kind of effort and support that makes us proud to be part of the area.”

Support, Dean said, has come from even the unlikeliest places.

“We had this one gal from Austin who said she was in the area and heard about the shortage who brought us a truck-full of water,” he said.

For Redford resident and Presidio ISD art educator Laurie Holman, the situation was a call to action.

“Everyone knows that water is important, but when you don’t have it, it makes you realize how really important it is,” Holman said. “When I found out that lightning struck the pump and it stopped working, I could only think how unimaginable it must be in this heat.”

Holman began an effort in Presidio to collect and transport H2O after learning of the outage through Facebook.

“It’s important for us to help our neighbors. Everybody took out time in their day and dug in their pockets. We’re just trying to help them out,” she said, adding that her truck was completely filled with bottled water in short order.

“One of my main concern was that, in this incredible heat, even the animals – dogs, horses, goats, they all need water,” she added.

The well’s outage even brought out calls for volunteers with commercial driver licenses to help truck water to the Bee Mountain tank, which as of press time has reinstated water service to 75 percent of SBWC customers, according to Dean.

As more water is added, he said, more pressure will build to supply the rest of the water corporation’s customers, with hopes that the right amount of pressure will have built up by this evening.

The motor for the pump, he added, is expected to arrive later today, which would bring production back to the 200-gallon-per-minute threshold that the well normally produces. As of press time, the well was producing 42 gallons per minute.

“We’re hoping to get the motor in the hole and start producing at our fully-operational rate,” he said. “In the meantime, we’ve been fixing leaks that we’ve known were there but weren’t able to get to because of the water pressure. It’ll really help us with water conservation.”

Bottled water, he added, has been donated from the West Texas Food Bank, Red Cross, TCEP, the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office, among others, and is available free of charge at the Terlingua EMS building from 10am to 2pm.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’ve rounded the bend and we’re looking to get going in full capacity by next week,” said Dean.

Until water pressure is normalized, SBWC may ration water.

Volunteers with CDL licenses may contact Terlingua Fire and EMS at (432) 371-3103. Donation questions may be made to the same number.

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