With less than a week until the first day of the 2018 Houston Super Bowl, Houstonians are experiencing some water shortages.
The National Weather Service says the city has one of the lowest per capita water levels in the country, which makes it particularly vulnerable to a potential water crisis.
“This could be a big deal, especially for people in the downtown areas,” said Eric Pecce, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Rice University.
“You could have a really long commute with no water.”
On Friday, the National Weather Center released a graphic of the city’s water distribution network, which shows Houston’s water system is at capacity.
The graphic shows that the water system has about 685,000 customers, or roughly 8 percent of the population.
As of Monday, there were nearly 1.1 million customers, which amounts to nearly 19 percent of Houston’s population.
The map shows the distribution of water from each of the state’s three main cities, with the red dots representing high water usage and the green dots representing low usage.
“These are the big spikes in water usage, the red areas,” Pecces said.
“So those spikes could be impacting water usage in the future.
The green areas represent some of the smallest water consumption.”
The graphic also shows that in the Houston area, there are nearly 2,000 more households with water that is below its legal limit.
Pecci said that if there is a major water outage, “it could be very disruptive for water users.”
The Houston Public Utilities Commission has issued a water restriction of about 20,000 gallons per household, which is more than four times the legal limit in some areas.
A water rationing plan is also in place, with people who don’t have a water service plan able to use a water bottle, but it’s not easy to get.
A lot of people use bottled water, Peccus said, and they also don’t want to refill their water bottles.
“The more people we have, the more people will be able to go without.”
Some residents of Houston have been taking advantage of their water-saving options to try to get their water back online.
For example, David Riesh, a Houston resident, has started using an online water filter to help with his water consumption.
He also has taken advantage of a special plan offered by a Houston-area business that allows customers to use their water for free for up to three days, depending on how much water they use.
But, Rieshi said, he has yet to be able at this point to get back to normal usage.
Pucce said the Houston Public Utility Commission should look into ways to make water consumption easier for customers, including reducing restrictions and pricing.
“We have to get people to use the water more,” Pucci said.
Some of the water that was rationed in the past was actually used by businesses and people in other parts of the region, Pucces said, adding that it would be interesting to see how this situation plays out over the next few days.
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