The lightning strike about three weeks ago in the Lexington Wildlife Management Area couldn’t have hit a worse target.
Purcell City Manager Dale Bunn said Tuesday the strike knocked out a section of the city’s well field, taking out electrical service to the wells and causing problems with the pumps.
Also knocked out was the electronic monitoring for the entire well field.
Now the city has brought in technical experts to identify why manual overrides on the monitoring system aren’t working.
The city’s engineer, Kinney Sullivan, is also working to find a solution to bring everything back online.
Bunn said the city was able to manage for a time, but low water pressure in some areas became problematic in the past week.
“There was a lot of demand over the holiday,” Bunn said.
The city’s water towers are normally kept at full capacity which maintains good water pressure across the city’s 100-square-mile distribution area.
Hardest hit are areas to the west of Purcell toward Criner. Those customers are literally at the end of the city’s water line.
Water towers are now “probably about half full,” he added.
The city has stopped irrigating and has turned off the water at the splash pad on Red Hill.
While Bunn is hopeful the city can fix the problem without resorting to mandatory water rationing, he also said that “any voluntary water restriction” by the public will be appreciated.