Town’s Water System Recovers Quickly After Direct Hit From Hurricane Harvey

A majority of the homes in Holiday Beach, Texas, were destroyed, but the community’s water system has gotten back on track following the disaster
Town’s Water System Recovers Quickly After Direct Hit From Hurricane Harvey
Many homes were destroyed in Holiday Beach, Texas, after the community took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by CNN)

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The water system in the small bayside community of Holiday Beach, Texas, is back on, a development Neil Adams, general manager of the Holiday Beach Water Supply Corp., calls “miraculous.”

“We’re fine,” Adams says, just two and a half weeks after the town — about 50 miles east of Corpus Christi on the eastern shore of Copano Bay — took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey.

“We have emergency generators and fuel. The power is back on at the plant. One reverse osmosis unit is running,  and we’re going to have all mains on. If the line from the meter to your house is OK, you’ll have water.”

Adams credits the Texas Rural Water Association’s emergency response team and the plant’s single licensed operator — Vernon Hale — for getting the plant and system back on line. Every power pole in the community was toppled by the storm, and they broke waterlines in numerous places as they fell.

“We have AC lines, and they’re old and brittle,” Adams says. “We had several breaks. The Texas Rural Water Association sent four guys. They were fantastic and we can’t thank them enough.”

A team from the Jonah, Texas, Special Utility District also pitched in to help, providing equipment and machinery. Their response drew praise on Facebook from Jonah SUD General Manager Bill Brown, who thanked his staff for helping out and said he was proud of all the water and wastewater professionals around the state who stepped up to help the systems in need.

The Holiday Beach plant draws its source water from wells, and employs filtration and disinfection along with reverse osmosis. Output is approximately 1.4 million gallons a month to 780 taps. About 40 percent of the residents of Holiday Beach live there year-round,  while weekenders and second-home owners make up the rest of the population.

Adams says 70 to 80 percent of the homes in the community were destroyed by the hurricane, including that inhabited by Hale, the plant operator.

“It looks like Hiroshima down here,” he says.


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