Heavy snow and sub-zero wind chill values have impacted roadways and utilities in Oklahoma since Sunday.
In Chickasha, water pressure slowed to a drip or was cut off completely.
The City of Chickasha reported calls about widespread low water pressure on Sunday morning. Due to freezing temperatures, a sensor that detects water levels in the water tower had frozen. Public Works and USW went to work refilling the tower and thawing the sensor.
On Tuesday evening, Mayor Chris Mosley said high water demand and water line leaks had had compounded the water supply problems.
He asked residents to avoid non-essential usage until the issue is resolved. This includes heavy loads of laundry, running the dishwasher, and taking baths rather than a quick shower.
However, he encouraged residents to continue to very slowly drip faucets to avoid freezing pipes.
The increase in water demand doubled during the winter storms, from two million gallons per day to more than four million gallons, Mosley said. He added that USW is working hard to refill towers and public works is keeping an eye on water leaks.
On Wednesday morning, Mosley said Public Works crews were working to address several leaks.
The first repair is focused on the biggest water break in town, at Ada Sipuel and Sheppard St. Once that is repaired, crews planned to move on to 14th and Arkansas Ave. The third repair scheduled for the day was at 20th and Alabama Ave.
Please note these repairs are as of press time on Wednesday.
On a positive note, as of Tuesday night, Mosley said the Chickasha Fire Department had not reported any house fires or car accidents within the city.
“Which means everyone is doing a great job taking safety seriously,” he said.
Other utilities were paused or slowed down in Chickasha. Waste Connections were unable to make their routes on Monday and Tuesday due to dangerous road conditions.
Waste Connections requested residents leave their carts on the curb until trash has been collected. Waste Connections plan to work through Saturday to catch up, prioritizing residential trash. Bulk pickup may be suspended until they are able to catch up.
During all of this, residents were also concerned about potential rolling blackouts.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission made a request on Sunday that residents begin to conserve electricity and natural gas due to high demand.
On Monday, the Southwest Power Pool said the supply of reserve energy had been exhausted. Many areas of Oklahoma were subject to rolling blackouts in order to prevent widespread, uncontrolled outages.
The emergency level has veered between 1 and 3, the highest level, over the last few days.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said this number is subject to change as the situation unfolds.