CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Water flooded the sidewalk and street on Tartan Drive in Corpus Christi on Tuesday.
Dirty water collected around the sidewalk, cars splashed across puddles, and residents had to sidestep through certain parts of the street to avoid getting wet.
Joseph Renteria lives on Tartan Drive and watched as crews from the City of Corpus Christi’s Water Utilities department fixed a water line break.
“I think I’ve only seen this happen a couple of times but this is, I think, the worst that I’ve seen it happen,” Renteria said.
He said he’s seen construction crews on other streets nearby and has had to take detours while they’ve worked, but mostly, he’s worried about the drought.
“It’s a lot of water being lost. I mean, I’m not even watering my yard right now. It’s kind of dead, so seeing all this water is kind of sad actually.”
Michael Murphy, the C.O.O. of the Corpus Christi Water Utilities department said usually there are about three water line breaks per day, but due to the drought, that number has increased to about 30.
“You get the movement of the earth due to the drought. The earth sort of shifts, you know, and for an inflexible pipe, that’s not a good relationship,” Murphy said.
He said the city is prioritizing getting crews to fix any breaks as quickly as possible.
However, the City of Corpus Christi’s city manager Peter Zanoni said while the city isn’t lacking any workers to fix the breaks, they’ve had a more difficult time keeping up with all the repairs.
He also said supply chain issues are making it harder to receive the materials needed to fix the water lines.
“If we’re not quick to the draw, so to speak, other water districts are buying that material and then we’re left with having wait,” Zanoni said.
Zanoni said the city is having to compete with bigger cities like Houston, San Antonio, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area who are also having the same issue.
He said the Corpus Christi City Council approved a quicker process to buy the supplies on Tuesday. Instead of the city council approving each supply, the city has permission to buy supplies as needed to avoid running into supply chain issues.
Zanoni said the water lines breaking is affecting the city's water supply. He said there are a record number of water lines breaking.
However, residents like Renteria said the city is already getting the job done quickly.
“I left this morning and I didn’t see the water going, but they’re here by the time I came here for lunch. I think just being on top of it, like they are and just being proactive to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future, too,” Renteria said.