Water Outages Cause Problems for Tahoka School District

LUBBOCK, TX - Tahoka residents dealt with the seventh waterline break since weather started getting cold on Tuesday. The entire city's water was shut off for the majority of the day, which affects students who just got back to school. 

"I heard someone say the other day, 'It's better to dig the well early, before you get thirsty.' It's the Boy Scout motto to be prepared," said Tahoka Superintendent Alan Umholtz. 

Tahoka ISD has had to be prepared for the many water outages and boil water notices they've faced while in school. 

"We buy cases and cases of little water bottles," Umholtz said. "We keep extra-large water bottles in our cafeteria, we try to be prepared."

When the water shuts off, students are unable to use the restroom when they want to or even take a sip of water. 

"This has been going on since school started. Our students do a great job," said Umholtz. "We make those announcements, 'Hey water is going to be turned off today.'"

The district also covers all water fountains in the school, so they can't be used to make sure no one forgets and gets sick. 

Residents are not done with the waterline breaks yet, though. The project's head engineer still expects four more months of construction before it is all done. 

The City of Tahoka asked for $6,553,000 in financial assistance to state agencies to help fund the overhaul of their entire water system. 

"Most of the pipes are cast iron and installed pre-1950s," said Tahoka head engineer Matt Hopper. "All those lines are what's causing these line breaks. The cold weather and vibrations from the pumps turning on and off have caused these breaks."

For the remainder of the school year, Tahoka ISD is just trying to get through with their adjustments.

"We'll go with the bumps and the hits in the school year," said Umholtz. "We know what's at the end of the tunnel, the big picture. We're going to have a great water system."

So far, the project has stayed under budget, but we will not know officially until the project is done. We'll post continued waterline breaks and boil water notices on EverythingLubbock.com as they occur. 

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