Hundreds without water at Northwest Austin apartment complex



Posted on October 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Ventana Oaks Apartments management says the problem started when the City of Austin requested they install a valve to reduce water pressure going in to the complex.  Instead, some roadblocks in the process have left residents without running water since Tuesday.  

While workers outside dig, drill and saw, Keena Smith pours bottled water into a toilet tank, with the help of her enthused toddlers. 

Smith does not share her two and three year olds' excitement.  Their family, along with hundreds of others at Ventana Oaks, has been without running water since Tuesday.

“It can get frustrating because the house begins to have an aroma, because you have to let it sit in there so long,” Smith said.  “We're having to deal with it, so we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.” 

Apartment management, who could not speak on camera, told KVUE News that the problem is with pipes laid underground long before the complex was built.  The old parts keep breaking from the pressure when the new pressure relief zone valves are turned on.  Workers thought they had the problem fixed just after midnight Friday.  So did residents.

“I hear the walls rattling, and I wake up and I'm thrilled, and I run over to the pipe, turn it on, and there's water! And I'm having a Mecca moment you know?” Renee Leaman said.

An hour later, it was back to dry taps.

“There's no water. Nothing at all, it's been like that,” said a resident who only wanted to be called J.B.

He says while his dishes have been piling up, so has his frustration. 

“Here, we're in the United States of America,” J.B. said.  “It doesn't seem like it should take that long to fix a problem.”

While he is tired of keeping a five-gallon bucket in his bathroom, his pint-sized neighbors are not so ready to give up the novelty washing their hands with bottled water.
Ventana Oaks Apartments management has been supplying residents with gallons of water and sending residents to sister properties, to bathe and shower.  They say they are confident that the water will be back on Friday evening.