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Arkansas faces water troubles in the wake of a winter freeze

The shut off is due to freezing temperatures and people dripping/running water to avoid frozen pipes, and the supply couldn't keep up with water demand.

CHARLESTON, Ark. — Milltown-Washburn Public Water Authority shut off water for customers in Charleston on Monday night, Dec. 26, but it was restored the next day. 

Milltown-Washburn Public Water Authority says it started to slowly fill the water tanks Tuesday.

The water authority tells 5NEWS the reason for the shut-off is due to freezing temperatures and people dripping/running water to avoid frozen pipes, and the supply couldn't keep up with water demand. 

"It's hard to produce water when it's below freezing," said Charleston Water & Waste Water Superintendent Cliff Kennedy.

Charleston gave Milltown-Washburn Public Water Authority water for a few days but had to stop Monday evening.

"We just got low, I had to turn them off," Kennedy said.

The department doesn't directly supply Milltown Washburn customers. It only helps out if needed.

"Our system isn't made to feed that many people," Kennedy said.

Kennedy says the water supply dropped around five feet below normal. The department later turned the water back on for those customers Tuesday morning.

Milltown Washburn Public Water Authority spokesperson said they are filling its tank and hope to have water for everyone by tomorrow morning but a boil order is still in effect. They also said all of its Lavaca customers currently have water.

Meanwhile, parts of the James Fork Regional Water District are also struggling.

"A lack of supply not being able to meet the demand is the main thing that we're facing," said James Fork Regional Water General Manager Donny Sandersfer.

People living in areas around Sugarloaf are being asked to boil their water, once it’s restored.

“Down Gap Road and 3 lanes down that road,” said Sandersfer. “So, Moccasin, Copperhead, and Diamondback."

Sandersfer says he knows this is frustrating for customers. But asks people to be patient because getting the water back won't be a quick process.

"We're doing everything we can to elevate the problem," Sandersfer said.

Sandersfer tells 5NEWS after they get the water running again, his team will send water samples to the department of health. The boil order will be lifted once those come back clear.

"All we can just do is keep working 24 hours. The way we've been doing it trying to get people back into the water," said Sandersfer.

Stay with 5NEWS for updates on this developing story.

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