Beyond the Big Freeze: A Message From SAWS’ CEO

The extraordinary winter weather we experienced in February challenged our beloved city and our local utilities, and those across Texas, in ways never before seen.

Together, we rose above the obstacles of extended power and water outages, icy roads and pipes frozen solid.

When the agency that manages our state’s electrical grid mandated rolling blackouts, it impacted SAWS operations as well. It takes a lot of power to pump water across the city, especially to areas in higher elevations. With pump stations offline, control systems and large pipes froze.

Compounding the issues, frozen water lines on private property began to break, causing low pressure across our system and handicapping our ability to deliver water.

Like many of our customers, SAWS team members worked under the same extended outage conditions from home, making connectivity an issue for our call center.

Despite these nearly insurmountable conditions, our team members rose to the challenge, and braved icy roads and negative wind chills to begin restoring service.

What SAWS Is Doing for Customers

The extreme winter weather event has caused unimaginable hardships, and the last thing our neighbors need to worry about is their next water bill. That’s why we quickly decided to help ALL customers by billing them the lower of two amounts on their next bill: either the total water use charge for the current month, or the previous month’s charge, whichever is lower.

This one-time adjustment will especially aid those who may have an unusually high bill due to a freeze-related leak. (As a reminder, SAWS already has discontinued water service shut-offs for non-payment since last spring as part of its coronavirus response effort.)

Our Promise to You

Moving forward, we will continue to work to improve the resiliency of your water system, including making sure our pump stations are better protected from rolling blackouts.

We’ll continue to scrutinize and update our emergency plans for the future. We will raise the bar higher because it’s what our customers expect from us, and it’s what they deserve.