Pine Bluff still seeing low water pressure, local businesses react

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. – People in Pine Bluff are still feeling the effects of last week’s freeze.

Many are left with low water pressure, barely more than a trickle, and bottled water is selling out nearly everywhere you go. For local businesses, the low water levels make it a challenge to stay open. 

It’s their second day back to business after the snow storms and Charro’s Mexican Restaurant has seen a steady stream of customers.

However, that’s not what Kara Duley, owner of Charro’s Mexican Restaurant is seeing from their faucet, the water is little more than a drip. 

“We’ve been here 21 years and this is the roughest time we’ve ever had,” said Kara Duley

Duley and her staff arrived this weekend to find practically no water.

Without a supply, they can’t use their soda or ice machines and are left washing dishes by hand. 

“We bought like 30 cases of bottled water that we’re just putting in a pot, heating it up,” Duley said. Those cases are set to run out Wednesday. 

For employee Robyn LaGrant, the issue hits closer to home. 

“My water pressure is like extremely low,” she said.

LaGrant says she’s had to take showers and do chores at relative’s and friend’s homes, and says folks have heard nothing about an end to the issues. 

“We’re not really getting a whole lot of information on when things will get better,” said LaGrant. 

Across town, Southeast Arkansas College or SEARK is doing what they can to help. For many at the college, worrying about water is just another daily concern. 

“We’ve got about 40 plus percent of our students who are on our campus who are what we would call food insecure,” said college president Steven Bloomberg.

For them, the water emergency is yet another thing on their shoulders. But thanks to community donors, the college can at least take on one burden – the hunt for clean drinking water. 

“This will be going out to students and family in need on Thursday,” Bloomberg said, pointing to a flatbed piled high with thousands of bottles of water.

This community-focused mindset is something that Duley sees for herself, with customers supporting local even during an emergency. 

“Most of them have been real positive because I mean most of them around town, they’re doing the same thing,” Duley said. 

SEARK College plans on holding a food distribution event later this week for faculty and students, and Charro’s will remain open daily serving all their specials with canned drinks. 

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