Water – a simple basic necessity that many turn a knob and it appears. But for residents who live on County Road 135 in Jim Wells County, water was luxury until recently.
On Wednesday, July 19 and Thursday, July 20, a total of 44 homes were connected to city water thanks to a Community Development Block Grant for $500,000 the county received last year.
For two days employees with the City of Alice and The 5125 Company installed water lines and smart meters to the homes that bring relief to the residents.
“The first part of the grant helped get water to the K-bar area. The second part of the grant was designed to help these people get water,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Margie Gonzalez said. “We don't realize how easy our lives can be until you see how others struggle just to have basic necessities.”
For approximately 12 years, Nathan Perez's family and others had to haul water from the City of Alice Water Treatment plant or maintain a water well to have running water in their homes. Finally, these residents along County Road 135 can easily access water.
Everyday, twice a day, Perez loaded an empty 275 gallon reconditioned IBC tote tank and drove to town to get water. He'd arrive at his home and connect pipes to the full water tank to refill the two empty ones connected to his home.
“We'd go through like 550 gallons of water just so that we could shower, cook and wash clothes,” Perez said. “With the kids on summer break it's harder. When the kids are home we make more trips for water.”
Like many people living on County Road 135, Perez's family shared water with a resident who lives behind their home.
“There's 7 to 8 people using the water,” Perez said. “We have to be smart with how we use the water. When we wash clothes that's when you can truly see how much water gets used.”
The Perez family has done their best to stretch the water they bring into their home by managing how long the kids take showers.
“We were always hurrying them up and knocking on the door rushing them,” Perez said laughing. “Just because we now have an unlimited supply of water entering the home doesn't mean we aren't still going to hurry them up. We have a bill to pay.”