Guardsmen Provide Water in Four States

Army Spc. David Valentine, 103rd Brigade Support Bn., tends a space heater that is being used to keep water warm as it is purified for use by the residents of Buckhorn, Ky., Jan. 13. The 103rd BSB has purified over 100,000 gallons of water for Buckhorn residents since the city's water supply failed due to extreme cold weather, Jan. 5. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scotty A. Williams, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion)

Story by Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau, Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va., — National Guardsmen in four states are providing drinking water to communities with broken or damaged water systems caused by recent freezing temperatures.

Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and Arkansas have deployed the personnel and equipment needed to produce water until local communities are able to make the necessary repairs to restore sufficient water supply to their citizens.

In Louisiana, four Soldiers have provided the LaSalle and Tensas Parishes with one 5,000-gallon water tanker each to support the damaged water systems.

There are no personnel manning the trailers at this time and they expect to recover the equipment in the next 24 hours, Guard officials reported.

At the direction of the governor in response to emergency requests for assistance received by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana Guardsmen have positioned 5,000 gallon water tankers in LaSalle, Tensas and Madison Parishes.

The Guard’s water tankers will likely remain in place for the next 24 to 72 hours until repairs are made to these water systems.

Since May, the Louisiana Guard has delivered water to distribution points throughout Ferriday, La., to ensure that residents have an adequate supply of drinking water due to problems with water wells in Concordia Parish.

In Alabama, four Soldiers and two 6,000 gallon water trailers are expected to be on state active duty for about seven days in response to water shortages in Clarke County, Alabama caused by freezing temperatures.

In Kentucky, 18 Soldiers and two Tactical Water Purification Systems from the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion have provided water into the Buckhorn Water System since Jan. 6.

The state also reported that the Hazard Municipal Water System, which serves Perry County, Kentucky, was forced to shut off service to repair a large leak in their system.

Service is gradually being restored but, frigid weather, ice, and air in the pipes have complicated efforts to restore service, Guard officials said.

Finally, the Arkansas Guard has deployed six Soldiers provide water to the cities of Casa, Adona, Marshall and Leslie with three 400-gallon water buffaloes and one 5,000-gallon water tanker.

The main water lines in these cities have been damaged by the recent frigid temperatures.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The 103rd Brigade Support Battalion has supplied over 100,000 gallons of purified water to resident of Buckhorn, Ky. since the unit was put on State Active Duty on Jan. 6.]

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