Sunday, September 29, 2019
Laredo's Run On Water
Yesterday evening, city officials alerted residents of south Laredo that they needed to boil the water that was intended for consumption. The news was disseminated through social media and word quickly spread. Before the night was over, all Laredoans were being asked to take precautions: boil your tap water for 3 minutes or use bottled water.
The emergency notice was made public because of low chlorine levels in the water supply. City leaders tried to reassure people that no bacteria was present in the water; they were just following the recommendations set forth by the TCEQ.
There are no newscasts on Saturday nights in Laredo; so the only news report that I came across was a live video that was posted on Facebook by a local Univision reporter. Dr. Hector Gonzalez from the health department was the only face anywhere, telling citizens of what was happening. All other city officials were M.I.A.
It wasn't until Sunday afternoon, a whole day after, that city and county leaders held a press conference. (See top photo, FB snapshot) Mayor ProTem Balli explained that they were communicating their findings with state leaders and TCEQ officials in order to arrive at the best possible outcome. They reminded viewers that no bacteria was found in the local water supply, but that chlorine levels were low.
Laredoans weren't taking any chances: they were out early Sunday morning looking for bottled water. Shelves at local stores were left empty by lunch time. There was no bottled water to be had.
Tonight HEB was limiting cases of water to 2 per person. The jugs pictured above had no limit.
The events of the last 24 hours are remarkable for what happened and for what didn't. The response by city officials and local media was predictable: the most minimal of efforts were utilized.
The public reacted just as was expected, even though the situation was ostensibly under control. In the mad rush for water at local stores, I only hope that citizens shared what they got with those who needed extra help.
We may be wiser now. Next time may not be as pretty. Let's all take note of what occurred today so that we can be better prepared in the future.