By Jacob Brooks
Killeen Daily Herald
FLORENCE — Water woes continue in Florence after a motor on the town’s largest well shorted out Saturday, prompting officials to raise the water shortage condition to Stage 5 and haul in water from another town.
The well, located in northeast Florence, can normally pump 112 gallons per minute, but is now completely shut down, said Wayne Bonnet, the town’s interim public works director. Florence, with a population of 1,136, is about 20 miles south of Killeen in Williamson County.
Bonnet supervised repair crews and incoming water haulers Tuesday.
“It’s something we didn’t want to happen,” Bonnet said, adding two of the city’s four wells are still pumping and providing water to the town’s 488 homes and businesses.
If the repair goes as planned, the broken well could be pumping water again sometime today, Bonnet said.
The two working wells, which broke down and were refurbished earlier this year, are enough to meet the town’s current water demand, but barely. If an emergency situation were to spring up, the city would be in trouble, prompting officials to get the largest well fixed as soon as possible, Bonnet said.
The city is using trucks to haul in 10,000 gallons per day from Cedar Park, which is costing the city about $475 per day. Depending on how things go with the new motor and pump, the city could be hauling water through Friday.
While under Stage 5, city residents are prohibited from certain activities, including watering lawns and washing cars. The town must stay at Stage 5 for 14 days as a precautionary measure, according to city policy. The city was at Stage 3, which allows for the watering of lawns and washing cars during certain times, prior to last weekend.
With aging wells and drought-like conditions still widespread in the area, the water problems will likely continue for Florence.
“The aquifers are getting shallower every day,” Bonnet said.
To increase its water supply, the city has a long-term goal of connecting to the Chisholm Trail Special Utility District, which covers much of Williamson County. It’s unclear when that might happen, said Florence City Secretary Amy Crane, adding the project calls for a new $600,000 pipeline.