National Rural Water Association

2915 S. 13th Street

Duncan, OK 73533

580-252-0629   FAX 580-255-4476

Contact:  Chris Wilson, nrwacw@nrwa.org

September 17, 2008   
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Mauriceville keeps power through Ike, supports relief effort

 

MAURICEVILLE, Texas – The small unity in Mauriceville, Texas serves 3,300 water customers and has been directly and indirectly supporting the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.
            “We were prepared after Rita,” said Jeff Holland, Manager of the Mauriceville Special Utility District. “We borrowed a generator from a refinery and had it ready.”
            Their preparation was well-served. Mauriceville never lost pressure and never had to go on a boil order. The operation continued despite all the employees evacuating the Friday before Ike’s landfall.
            “We anticipated losing power,” Holland said. “We fired up the generator about four hours after the storm hit.”
            Keeping the water flowing through the storm was a high priority for Holland because a school he serves, Mauriceville Elementary, is a shelter for emergency responders riding out the storm.
            “I thought it was very important to keep the water flowing for those emergency responders,” he said.
            The Mauriceville facility is also the staging area for the relief effort of the Texas Rural Water Association. Mauriceville, just northeast of Beaumont, was the in center of the impacted area.
            “It was a natural fit,” Holland said. “We have a reasonable-sized facility and we know what they do.”
            Holland had a close relationship with TRWA, since he was a previous employee of the association.
            The utility’s largest service has been to its customers.
            “We have no power but it’s made it livable to come back and have water to clean up,” said Al Harlan, a 5-years resident who evacuated to Little Rock, Ark. for Ike. “We just came back to clean up, then we’re leaving again.”
            “I can’t image coming home and trying to clean up without water,” he said.
            “We’re accustomed to spoiling our customers,” Holland said of the appreciation. “People expect to turn the faucet and get water.
            Mauriceville was able to maintain service and support the relief effort with only a limited staff. The entire staff evacuated for the hurricane, with only Holland and three employees, Beau Gipson, Johnny Davis and Marty Thompson, returning Monday and Tuesday.
            “If there ever was a career where one person can make a difference, it would be rural water,” Holland said. “Look what a difference three people have made for 3,300.”

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