To the Editor:
During Killeen’s boiling water notice, citizens complained because they do not have an inkling of what other countries are regularly like; nor have we been told that the water is undrinkable.
When I visited remote areas in the southern regions of Africa, I (along with many others) lined up at hand pump stations that were 2-5 miles away and filled containers of every kind to bring back to a dwelling or encampment (UNHCR) to later boil and let cool to drink. And, there was no refrigeration. It was not an option.
In central Italy, where I travel to visit relatives almost yearly, the situation of undrinkable tap water is unfortunately normal.
They still boil water and let it cool in order to cook and drink; they use bottled water for everything else, so it is considered a part of life.
Killeen and its environs continue to grow, and sometimes this can be rather painful.
But boiling water is nothing compared to the winter power outage where 208-210 people lost their lives in Texas —a fact covered by this newspaper, but not treated at all by national media (my house was with no power for 10 days with indoor temperatures lowering to 49 degrees.
I am writing this to advise our citizens to gain some perspective by way of comparison.
So the public works department and water and sewer department became the brunt of frustrated customers, who go on the news and compare this issue to other water problems in bigger cities that were solved rather quickly.
In Killeen, the street fee went from a nominal $1.70 monthly to $11 — an over 900% increase that passed with neither fanfare nor any kind of public outcry as we now hear regarding water. But, this can work to the city’s advantage by an (IFT) —intrafund transfer.
Financially, the city now has the capacity to improve and store more potable water once the new water tower is built, and the appropriate chemical balance is attained.
Chemistry is not my competency. But, I have enough patience and confidence in our water and sewer department to understand the complexity of flushing out such a vast system and bringing it back to standard.
At most, this boil water notice and its ongoing repairs has been a mild, but temporary inconvenience.
retired U.S. Army major