SAWS offers tips on preparing for emergencies (like a freeze)

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — While the San Antonio Water System indicated yesterday they believe the water system will remain unaffected by the impending inclement weather, the utility is offering tips on what San Antonians can do to feel prepared.

SAWS said yesterday the utility does not expect there to be any weather impacts to the water system as the majority of SAWS equipment is underground.

SAWS said crews are in place with winterized equipment to provide repairs as needed and the utility as a whole utility is in energy conservation in case it is needed to help load shed for CPS.

Homeowners should have an emergency kit of supplies that make an uncomfortable situation more manageable. The kit should include: extra batteries, a first aid kit, flashlights, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and to fill a bathtub with water. Make sure to include a wrench, screwdriver, flashlight and meter key to your emergency preparedness toolbox.

One of the biggest and most inconvenient issues can arise from pipes bursting which happens when ice forms in plumbing exposed to frigid air, SAWS said. Prolonged exposure can cause the pipes to burst, but the utility says there are a few ways to mitigate this from happening.

Homeowners should take the time to identify vulnerable pipe locations, including hose bibs and under pier-and-beam homes. Exposed pipes should be wrapped with foam and fiberglass insulation sleeves. Rags can be used in a pinch.

SAWS says that homeowners should open cabients attached to outside walls to circulate warmer air.

Knowing how to turn your water off can help homeowners and renters both avoid water damage in the event of leaking or frozen pipes and dripping water heaters. The utility said the knowledge is not only useful in an emergency but also when you leave your home for an extended period of time.

Not only knowing how to turn your water off, understanding and knowing your pipes is important as a way to help avoid damage from leaks and can save you money on your water bill.

Homeowners should wrap pipes in unheated areas to protect appliances like washing machines, water softeners and water heaters.

There are steps that need to be taken before a freeze event happens in order to stop or mitigate water damage you may not expect like disconnecting anything connected to hose bibs and exposed pipes, turning off irrigation systems at the shut-off valve, checking that all in-ground valve boxes have covers and, if not, filling the empty space with rags and insulate above-ground backflow devices.

Pool owners should keep their pump working during freezing conditions, cover exposed pool equipment and pumps and disconnect hose connector if attached.

SAWS may institute a boil water notice in the event of an emergency. The utility said this happens when water pressure drops or test results show the water is not safe to drink.

When a boil water notice is issued and residents need to use tap water, the water must be boiled before drinking it, making drinks with it, preparing food, making ice and even brushing your teeth.

SAWS provided instructions on how to disinfect water for those not able to boil it:

  1. Add 1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of water.
  2. 2. Shake or mix well.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes before consuming.

Once the boil notice is lifted, there are a number of steps to take to flush your water lines and to sanitize water-connected appliances:

SAWS’ two payment centers will be closed Thursday due to the incoming inclement weather. Payments can be made online at or by calling 210-704-7297.

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