Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams recaps winter storm response, plans for future

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Just a week ago, many Abilienians were without power or water, braving the elements in below-freezing temperatures.

Thursday, Mayor Anthony Williams recapped the week’s events.

“In the midst of a situation, people don’t want to hear how we got here, they want to know how we’re going to respond,” said Williams.

It was a storm many knew was coming, but Williams says the city never could have predicted the situation many residents would be left in.

“Half of our fellow Texans were left in the dark, 14 million without water,” said Williams.

Williams says Abilene was not in a unique situation compared to the rest of the state, but praises the work city staff were able to complete to help out their neighbors.

“I would put the team in Abilene against any mid-sized community in the state,” said Williams.

All three water treatment plants in Abilene lost power Monday, and within minutes utility crews were out in the cold working to restore power.

“From not having any water, to going back up to having water, then to be able to be certified to have safe drinking water, all within a few days. Extraordinary. I think I used the term ‘Herculean,'” said Williams.

Williams says it was a storm that broke records, and while we can’t control the temperatures, he says we can be more prepared for the future.

Abilene’s water system runs on a dual primary electric service.

“You have two different connections on the grid,” Williams says. “If one fails, you flip to the other.”

Williams says the system hasn’t failed the City of Abilene in 50 years, which is why generators were never brought up. Now they are.

“There’s engineering studies that will be done on the resiliency of our water plants,” said Williams. “What does it look like? Should we have generators?”

The City of Abilene will host a workshop on March 22 to discuss those topics, and Williams says a decision will be made by summer.

“This cannot happen again, and on my watch, it will not happen again,” said Williams.

Watch the full interview with Mayor Williams on Big Country Politics Sunday morning or click here.

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