Major Water Line Break Could Have Huge Impact in the Basin

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

In the middle of this long drought, every drop of water is precious, so any loss is a major concern, especially when a pipe breaks. On Friday, the Basin got a taste of that, but it was on a much smaller scale.

A hole in a transmission line from the Paul Davis Well Field forced the city of Midland to put a temporary ban on all outdoor watering.

NewsWest 9 spoke with the Colorado River Municipal Water District to find out what could happen if our water supplier had a break in one of their transmission lines.

It happened to the city of Midland, corrosion and rust caused a transmission line from the Paul Davis Water Well Field to bust.

"It was enough to lose a lot of pressure," Midland Public Information Officer, Tasa Watts, said.

Midland gets their water from the CRMWD and from that well site but this long dry spell caused some concern.

"With the strict regulations on CRMWD and then Paul Davis Well Field being out, we felt that it was necessary and urgent to issue indoor water use only," Watts said.

By Saturday afternoon, the pipe was fixed, but what if one of the water districts pipes broke? Normally we have four sources of water to pull from.

"We don't have any water in Thomas or Spence because of the drought," John Grant, with the Colorado Municipal Water District, said. "There's just no water to pump back this way so we're relying on two pipelines."

Meaning the district would have to cut back big time.

"If we had a pipeline failure, we might have to cut our deliveries in half," Grant said.

Here's an example: Say the district pumps 60 million gallons a day. 15 million gallons from wells in Ward County and the other 45 million from Lake Ivie.

"If the Ivie system went down, we'd lose 45 million and only be able to deliver 15 million so it's pretty critical," Grant said.

If this happens, timing is everything.

"The type of pipe we use, it takes a long time to make it," Grant said. "It may take at least three to four weeks for delivery."

But the district is prepared.

"We keep spare pipe on hand," Grant said. "Our employees are trained and skilled in going out there and actually doing the repairs in house."

But the district wants to remind residents to plan too and to conserve now before it's too late.

"They need to understand that this could happen to them for a short period," Grant said.

The city of Midland used just over 19 million gallons of water on Friday and that was after they issued the ban on outdoor watering. They want to thank the residents for complying with the last minute change.