Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update Friday, Feb. 19, on the state's ongoing response to severe winter weather, and the ensuing power and water outages. The governor detailed the state’s priorities of continuing to restore power and generate fuel, supporting local officials, and ensuring food supply.
While there are no longer any residential power outages due to lack of power generation, some Texans are still without power due to downed lines or the need for manual reconnection.
Abbott assured those without power that local providers are working diligently to restore it.
"Thanks to the efforts of linemen, plumbers, first responders, truckers, farmers, ranchers, grocery store workers, refinery workers, and more, we continue to make tremendous strides to overcome the challenges of the past week," Abbott said.
The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality has established a phone bank for local water utilities who are unable to get water testing at their contracted labs to connect local facilities with another lab that can test their water faster.
TCEQ has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency to set up three mobile water testing labs and the state is partnering with local river authorities to use their water labs to assist locals with bacteria sampling.
Texas has also partnered with the state of Arkansas to use its labs and TCEQ is coordinating with larger local labs that have testing availability to assist smaller municipalities.
According to Abbott, as of noon Friday, more than 320 plumbers have renewed their license, and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is coordinating with out-of-state companies to send more plumbers to help quickly repair damaged water pipes.
The state is also taking steps to open new fuel supply lines to ensure truckers, agriculture producers, emergency responders, and other diesel users will be able to deliver food and supplies.
Abbott said as roads conditions continue to improve, more food and supplies will be delivered to grocery stores across the state.
"We know that this past week has been challenging for far too many Texans. Our state agencies are working around the clock to restore power and water, and to ensure Texans have food and supplies,” Abbott said.
“I want to reassure the people of Texas that we are using every tool at our disposal to help those in need. We have overcome challenges in the past, and we will overcome this challenge together."
For winter weather resources, including a map of warming centers and ways to help Texans in need, visit open.texas.gov/winter