Frigid temperatures, power outages lead to water problems

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Water service providers in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and other states hit hard by frigid winter storms and mounting power outages are asking residents to restrict usage as reports of water main breaks, low pressure and busted pipes emerge.

In Memphis, Tennessee, the power and water company is asking residents to reduce their water usage through Friday.

Memphis, Light, Gas & Water said in a news release late Tuesday that it is experiencing reduced pressure across its distribution system due to freezing temperatures this week. Memphis has seen temperatures in the single digits this week, with wind chills dropping below zero and another winter storm carrying snow and sleet was moving over the city Wednesday.

The utility also said it is seeing reduced reservoir levels at pumping stations and several water mains have burst. MLG&W; has asked customers to refrain from leaving the water running while rinsing dishes, take short showers and hold off on washing clothes until Friday. Officials also asked customers to save water by letting faucets drip, instead of streaming water, to prevent pipes from freezing over.

Oklahoma City officials said Tuesday on Twitter that power outages and extremely low temperatures caused water service interruption and low water pressure for customers. Crews were helping turn off water for thousands of customers who had their private water lines break.

“Leave your cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate,” the city said in a tweet. “Do not try to use open flames or boiling water to thaw pipes.”

In Austin, Texas, the fire department said it has been dealing with hundreds of broken water pipe calls since Monday. On Tuesday alone, the department received 685 calls about busted pipes.

“We are only able to respond to a fraction of these calls,” the Austin Fire Department said on Twitter.

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