As of 10 a.m., the city’s average water pressure per square inch was 26, up from 18 psi yesterday, according to Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock. Any psi lower than 20 prompts a boil-water notice, which must remain in effect until the system is stabilized and proper testing and sampling is complete.
“Hopefully many people [and] businesses around the city are experiencing better water pressure,” Turner said at a Feb. 18 press conference. “Things are starting to improve, but we still have a [long] way to go. Some people may still have trouble flushing their commodes.”
Turner urged those who do have higher water pressure in their home to conserve it for the time being as the city’s goal is to build on the pressure and get it up to 30 psi across the system by the end of the day.
“If water pressure is up in your home, don’t go out and start washing a lot of clothes because we still need to enhance the water pressure to build it up and stabilize it,” he said.
Haddock urged residents to ensure they are using boiled or bottled water to wash hands, brush teeth and drink or cook until the notice is lifted in a few days.
“It is our goal to be at or above 30 psi by the end of the day, but that is going to rely on every one of you as Houstonians to participate in making that happen,” Haddock said. “We’re going to need to make sure you minimize your water use, that you use water for truly critical functions, and that if you have a burst pipe, that you turn off the water to the system or your home until you get it repaired or plugged off.”
Looking forward, Turner said there are plans in the works to set up a fund similar to what the city did after Hurricane Harvey to assist people with damaged homes financially.
“Once power is restored and stabilized—once the water pressure is up and stabilized and we are out of this boil water notice, ... the question then becomes, 'What about families and individuals who, when the power came on and the pipes burst and the ceilings fell in, and they don’t have insurance or the financial means—how do we assist them?'”
More details on the fund are expected Feb. 19, but it would help homeowners identify contractors and other nonprofit organizations to help repair their homes due to donations from corporate leaders and philanthropists.