TCU pipes are being repaired during the winter storm
Construction workers fix a water pipe between Sadler Hall and Mabee Hall. (JD Pells/Staff Photographer)
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One TCU student and her family went without water for nearly two weeks after the February storm that led to widespread outages and water loss across Texas.

Annie Ogren, a junior communication studies major, had running water in her home Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 18, when the water first shut off. She lives near TCU’s campus.

“It’s an absolute pain and so frustrating,” Ogren said. “We never think about how much we use water in our day-to-day lives until we can’t use it and it really sucks.”

The storm wreaked havoc on pipes across the state and plumbers are struggling to keep up with demand. 

The extreme cold temperatures froze pipes in homes outdoors and many ruptured as they thawed. 

The Fort Worth water utility reported that it had repaired 651 main breaks by Feb. 26. The number of line breaks since Feb. 14 has exceeded all of those in 2020.

Ogren said she and her family have been living off water bottles. They went to the community center, where the National Guard was handing out water to stock up as much as they could, she said. 

National Guard fill 5-gallon water drums with non-potable water, Monday, March 1, 2021. Water for flushing toilets was being distributed more than 10 days after winter storms wreaked havoc on the city’s water system because the system is still struggling to maintain consistent water pressure, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Ogren said she has to alter her everyday routine, including showering at her friends’ house.

Simple tasks that most don’t think about on a daily basis have become obstacles for her and her family. 

“I have lots of water-centric routines that I do every day (like wash your face, drink a certain amount of water, make tea, shower, etc.) that I definitely can’t do. Going to the bathroom and planning to do so is also super stressful, which is a very weird feeling,” Ogren said. 

Ogren said it has taken a toll on her academic life as well. 

“We’ve been trying to conserve water so I’m pretty dehydrated and distracted in class a lot,” she said.

Ogren hopes she can return to more of a normal life now that her water is back on.

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