New Braunfels Utilities issued another plea on Thursday afternoon, asking its water customers to check their homes for leaks as it works to resolve the city's low pressure and water outage issues.

In a Facebook post, NBU said there were currently no main breaks in the system, but the utility was now dealing with countless water leaks or busted pipes at customer's homes.

"These leaks are making it difficult for the system's water tanks to recover," the post stated. "Here is where we urgently need your help, please. For customers with water pressure, please search for any plumbing issues causing leaks and turn off your customer shut-off valve; this includes irrigation systems."

Customers who do not have a customer shut-off valve are asked to call 830-608-8971.

Any customers experiencing water issues can visit nbutexas.com/winter-storm-resources/.

The utility said it was pumping at a rate of around 28 million gallons per day, while normal pumping this time of year is about 10 to 12 million gallons a day.

"Even at that rate, our tanks are not filling because we are losing water to leaks," the post stated. "Our data analysis and experience in the field overnight shows we are losing significant water from household and business plumbing."

NBU also said it was dispatching crews to homes where smart meter data shows high volumes of continuous water consumption, which is indicative of a leak.

NBU late Wednesday issued a boil water order for its entire service area until further notice because of this week's series of unprecedented winter weather events.

To ensure the destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled before use for drinking water or consumption purposes.

The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

People may use bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source, but NBU officials said they know that won't be easy with electrical outages and road conditions closing many stores.

"Used properly, gas grills or fireplaces may be interim solutions for boiling water when electricity is not available."

System officials will notify customers that the water is safe when it is no longer necessary to boil.

"The boil water notice will be in effect until NBU can ensure all drinking water requirements regarding water quality and minimum pressure are achieved," NBU said on Facebook. "This may last several days depending on the weather, restoration of production and pumping facilities, number of main breaks or leaks and other factors."

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that operates the state's electrical grid, said they had made significant progress overnight restoring customer power, although some outages still remain throughout the state.

Energy emergency conditions remain as the ERCOT and transmission owners work to restore the remaining customers that are without power.

At 1:30 p.m., there were no power outages in the NBU service territory, but ERCOT officials said it is possible that some level of rotating outages may be needed over the next couple of days to keep the grid stable.

ERCOT remains in a third-level energy emergency alert on Thursday.

"We're to the point in the load restoration where we are allowing transmission owners to bring back any load they can related to this load shed event," said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin in a statement. "We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on."

Customers that remain without power likely fall into one of these three categories:

Areas out due to ice storm damage on the distribution system

Areas that were taken out of service due to the energy emergency load shed that need to be restored manually (i.e., sending a crew to the location to reenergize the line)

Large industrial facilities that voluntarily went offline to help during this energy emergency

While there is no additional load shed occurring at this time, ERCOT officials said a little over 40,000 megawatts of generation remains on forced outage due to the winter weather event.

Of that, 23,500 megawatts is thermal generation and the rest is wind and solar.

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(1) comment

Bob Wolf

Wow! 28 million gallons in daily sendout with no irrigation load is high. We need to help NBU. If any of you have a yard sprinkler system, please check the irrigation meter to see if it is moving or 'spinning' which indicates water is flowing through your sprinkler system which should not be flowing this time of the year. Also look for unusual pools of water in the yard and/or lots of fresh water flowing down the sidewalk or street from you or a neighbor's property. Somehow, we have to get system sendout down to boost system pressure. Let's help NBU.

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