Source:  Ashe Schow

A public utility pipe needing repair work.

Freezing temperatures in the south have not only led to power outages and increased electricity bills, but have also resulted in broken water pipes and shortages of clean drinking water.

The Associated Press reported that record-low temperatures caused water pipes to burst, shutting down the Memphis airport on Friday and leaving hospitals “struggling to maintain sanitary conditions.”

From the AP:

In Texas, 7 million people — a quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — were under orders to boil tap water before drinking it because low water pressure could have allowed bacteria to seep into the system. A man died at an Abilene health care facility when a lack of water pressure made medical treatment impossible.

About 260,000 homes and businesses in the Tennessee county that includes Memphis were told to boil water because of water main ruptures and pumping station problems. Restaurants that can’t do so or don’t have bottled water were ordered to close. And water pressure problems prompted Memphis International Airport to cancel all incoming and outgoing Friday flights.

In Jackson, Mississippi, most of the city of about 161,000 had no running water. Crews pumped water to refill city tanks but faced a shortage of chemicals for treatment because icy roads made it difficult for distributors to deliver them, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

In Jackson, people were provided water for flushing toilets and drinking, if residents picked it up in person, which was difficult for many residents due to icy roads.