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Tea Party Town Runs Out of Water, Prays for Help


Dear Tea Party: This is why you have to collect taxes and spend money on infrastructure.

The north Texas town of Kemp ran out of water this week, leaving its 1,133 residents without drinking water.

"Right now our water towers have no water in them at all," said Kemp Mayor Donald Kile. "According to the weather forecast we got no relief coming. We're believing and we're praying for rain."

Aah yes, prayer — the last refuge of the truly desperate. Perhaps these Texans could try something the rest of the civilized world does, and raise tax revenues to pay for infrastructure improvements. Why? Their infrastructure dates back to the 1930s. Most of the water system's 30 miles of pipes haven't been updated in decades.

It was these old, shoddy pipes that led directly to the water shortage and shutdown in Kemp. The heat wave that has gripped the southern United States for a month now taxed the system, and the pipes, which should have been updated recently but were not, burst. In the past three weeks, there have been fourteen separate water main breaks in Kemp.

"It's sad to say, but it's poor planning," said Kile, who was elected mayor recently. "When they put that water treatment plant in, they should have implemented something then... it just wasn't ever done."

One resident had her own take on the water shutoff, and some words for...god only knows who.

"You tell them this old woman is hot down here — and not just because of the heat!" she yelled. "It's 107 degrees in my blood, because you people... down there won't get off your duff and fix this stuff!"

Mayor Kile is certainly trying. The city is currently spending $350,000 to replace 4,000 feet of pipe. That's hardly going to make a dent in the problem today, and there may not be funding available for more repairs just yet. The city is represented in Congress by a Tea Party favorite, House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling.

Meanwhile, Kemp's residents are without water in the middle of a non-stop, 100-degree-plus heat wave. While they wait and wonder when they'll be able to drink again, Kemp's residents have had plenty of time to reflect on what they learned by the circumstances.

Or will they? The town ran out of water last year, too. They spent three days with the water shut off as officials, once again, prayed for help. Clearly, that worked...since the water problems returned this year. Maybe they should sacrifice a virgin next summer.

The entire debacle is a nice reminder of why it behooves the United States to spend money — even borrowed money — updating and rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure. Who knows...maybe by this time next year, parts of Texas will have the same level of civilization as the third world!

You can reach the author by email or on twitter @johndthorpe.


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