Over 200 Vinton residents without water pressure

Praino said she opened the fire department's doors to those who just need to cool down.

Ashlie Rodriguez, Reporter
POSTED: 08:55 PM MDT Jun 17, 2013    UPDATED: 05:38 PM MDT Jun 18, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

It's lunchtime in Vinton, and La Mission Restaurant is closing for the day.

"The AC is not working," said owner Laura Rios.

Since Friday low-pressure water is ebbing from the faucets, but failing to flow strong enough to flush toilets, power showers or swamp coolers. And residents are boiling.

"It's hot. It's very, very hot," said resident Patsy Cereceres.

Mayor Madeline Praino knows what her residents are going through. But she says the owner of Vinton Hill Alegre Water System isn't returning her calls.

"At this point it's beyond my jurisdiction," Praino said.

Praino said she opened the fire department's doors to those who just need to cool down.
Praino's also ordered the Public Works Department and Vinton police to prepare an emergency plan if the water situation gets worse, which many resident didn't think was possible.

Based on Texas Department of Health memos some of the issues with Vinton's water date back as far as 2003. The biggest problem is the lack of a waste-water system, which Praino worked to gain millions of dollars in federal funds to finance. But the system was turned down when a majority on council voted against it.

And now that one out of two water pumps is down, Praino is trying to get in front of a potentially fatal problem.

"We have kids, we have elderly in the house, so it's very uncomfortable," Cereceres said.

Uncomfortable for La Mission too, whose bathrooms are out of order and, dining room unbearably hot. Rios is watching her 20 patrons a day average dwindle down to 5 over the last three days. But she's betting on Vinton's water crisis to get better.

"Hopefully it can be a busier day tomorrow," Rios said.