NTMWD cities asked to conserve because of water main break

Several cities that get water from the North Texas Municipal Water District are being asked to conserve over the holiday weekend because of a major water main break.

The NTMWD said a 72-inch treated water pipeline in Richardson ruptured Thursday afternoon. Crews are working on repairs but they likely won’t be finished for a few days.

The water district said it should still be able to meet the demand for the essentials like drinking, bathing and cooking but won’t be able to keep up with things like sprinklers.

“One of our major water transmission pipelines had a failure,” explained NTMWD Spokesperson Denise Hickey. “And as a result, we had a large quantity of water force that came out of that pipeline break.”

All outdoor watering will be prohibited in Richardson, Garland, Murphy, Sachse, Plano and Wylie until 6 p.m. on Tuesday.  

“The City asks everyone in the community to help get the word out by informing neighbors about the critical need to conserve if they see someone irrigating their lawn. City code enforcement officers will also be patrolling streets and issuing citations to those who do not comply. Each offense can carry an up to $2,000 fine,” the city of Richardson said.

Melinda Hutchenrider says at first she did not know what was happening.

“The whole street looked like a movie. Water shooting in the air. Boulders coming toward the house, and wall of water,” she recalled. “I started yelling. Came in. Slammed the door shut. The water hit it, and came under the door sides of the door windows. I am on the phone to him screaming, ‘There's water!’”

Surrounded by water with the electricity still on, Richardson firefighters helped to get Melinda to safety.

“I am shocked. In a total state of shock,” said Ken Hutchenrider. “I have been thru disasters over the years, but this outpaces all of them.”

Flooding is something no one in Ken’s neighborhood by Breckinridge Park expected to deal with.

“We did not have any idea there was a 72-inch water line buried in our street,” Ken said. “Our insurance company is telling us it is not covered. They are telling us we need to work with North Texas Water District. North Texas has not gotten back to us about how this will be worked out.”

FOX 4 asked the water district about that, and they said they will be getting residents in touch with their insurance company.

“I was upset. Everything you built, and it is wet. I don't know if I was scared as much as really hysterical,” Melinda said. “I am sad more than anything. I felt bad for the Harvey people. Now, I really feel bad for the Harvey people.”

“These conservation measures are being taken to ensure our water pressure and supplies are maintained at a safe level, until the transmission line can be repaired,” the city of Wylie added.

NTMWD said the quality of the water was not affected by the break.

“This is a very large pipeline,” Hickey said. “We are able to get water to our cities, but help us ensure we have that water we need and not have any outages.”

The water line is expected to be repaired by Tuesday evening.