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Orange County drought contingency plan moves back to stage 2

Aug 30, 2023Aug 30, 2023

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ORANGE, Texas — The City of Orange announced Tuesday that it has moved back up to stage two mandatory water restrictions due to a continued lack of rainfall, excessive heat and brown-colored water pouring from the plumbing.

As of Tuesday, August 29, 2023, the city is now back to stage two mandatory water restrictions under the city's drought contingency plan according to City of Orange mayor, Larry Spears.

"And as that dries out, the pipes shift and there have been several breaks across the entire community. And so as our maintenance workers for the city staff, they're out there fixing it and working on it every day," he said.

Spears said a disturbance in the lines lowered the water pressure.

"And as those lines are disturbed and things move around, you're gonna start seeing brown water out of certain areas in our community," he said.

Residents who have brown water need to contact the City of Orange water department and give them their address so personnel can collect samples.

"We're going to check the water that is coming from the city going into their home. So, we can get a sample of it. And then, a sample of it once it exits their faucet to see if we can find out what's going on. And also encourage them to maybe check their hot water heater and things like that to help in this process," he said.

The city is requiring all residents to "conserve and discontinue water use for non-essential purposes."

Spears said the city averages about 3 million gallons per day, however, during the drought, the usage has risen.

"Citizens are using about 3.8 million gallons per day. So with us going to stage two of this voluntary drought restriction, we're asked which we're looking to get down to, hopefully, around 3.2. If we can see a drop from 3.8 to 3.2, for five days straight, we can go back to the voluntary of stage one," he said.

The mayor recommends residents to flush their hot-water heaters, if possible.

Look for a valve at the top of the tank, where the water supply pipe connects with the water heater unit. For many models, the valve will be colored blue.

While this is technically an optional step, it will reduce the risk of burns and any potential hot water damage. For the most convenient solution, you can let the water cool overnight or throughout the workday (if nobody needs hot water).

If you are in a rush, you can also drain the hot water by opening a faucet until the water runs cold, allowing the water in the tank to be replaced by cold water. However, you must perform this step between turning off the water heater (step No.1) and turning off the water supply (step No.2) or it will not work. It will also waste a significant amount of water.

Place the other end of the hose wherever you want the water to drain: outside, into the bathtub or a utility sink, etc. You may need to buy a connector to attach the hose to the valve. Look in your water heater manual for accurate valve size specifications.

This helps relieve pressure and prevents vacuums from being created inside water lines.

Be patient: depending on how full your tank is, or how much sediment is inside the tank, the entire process may take a while.

Regularly check the water quality: Every 10 to 15 minutes, drain the water into a bucket or bowl and allow it to settle. If there is still sediment present, continue the draining process until the water is clear.

Stay nearby: In addition to checking the water quality, you also want to stick around so you can immediately take action if you spot any leaks, hear strange sounds, realize your tank has too much sediment to effectively drain, or run into any other problems that you need to troubleshoot.

Turn the cold water supply again and allow it to run until the water coming out of the hose is completely clear. This will perform a final flush of the system, removing any remaining sediment particles from your tank. Turn off the cold water supply once this step is finished.

Close the drain valve, then remove the garden hose. Turn the cold water supply on and let the tank fill. Keep the faucet from step No.5 open so that any air trapped in the system can escape.

Wait until the faucet is running at full pressure with no hesitation in water flow, then turn it off. This indicates your tank is full again. Note that the water should still be cold. Turn on the water heater again. After at least 30 minutes, your hot water should be running like normal. For gas, turn the thermostat back to its original setting, and for electric, turn the power back on at the electrical panel or fuse box.

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GasElectricBe patientRegularly check the water qualityStay nearbyTurn on the water heater againGET NEWS & WEATHER ALERTS