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Just What Texas Needed--Broken Water Main

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Sweltering in 19 straight days of 100-degree heat, Fort Worth was hit with another discomfort Friday when a broken main forced the city’s 450,000 residents to cut back on water.

City officials ordered all residents to eliminate outdoor water use and cut back on indoor use after a major main broke Thursday. Those who refused to follow orders risked trouble.

“If people do not comply, we do have the ability under ordinance to shut off their water,” Water Department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza said.

The order, which will be in effect through Monday, also applied to 21 suburbs and area businesses.

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Water pressure plummeted after Thursday night’s break, and a major hospital was without water and air-conditioning overnight. No health problems were immediately reported.

Officials blamed the break on the heat wave, saying the rupture was probably caused by high demand, metal fatigue and dry conditions.

Gugliuzza said that water pressure was back in most areas but the city could not meet demand if it remained as high as it was when the main broke.

The heat wave that has broiled the Deep South and many other parts of the country has been blamed for at least 140 deaths since May.

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Texas has gotten the worst of it with 92 deaths. Louisiana has reported 26 deaths and Oklahoma 15.

Officials at the Del Rio sector of the U.S. Border Patrol on Friday confirmed that three more immigrants died this week in Texas, bringing to 50 the number who have died trying to cross the border from Mexico.

Things were not expected to cool down over the weekend.

The National Weather Service forecast for Texas is “hot, hot, dry, same old same old,” meteorologist Krista Villarreal said. Temperatures should remain around 100, she said.

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