In our last blog, we talked about how Winter Storm Uri created a major plumbing crisis for millions of people across Texas. Now, nearly a month later, the recovery process is still ongoing, and Texans need plumbers now more than ever.
That’s why Plumbers Without Borders (PWB), a Seattle, WA-based nonprofit that normally works to bring clean drinking water to different countries, is shifting its focus to Texas.
Earlier this month, PWB partnered with Water Mission, another nonprofit water engineering organization, to set up and organize a volunteer effort to help the 14 million people affected by the winter storm.
“Nearly half of the residents in one of the largest states in the US are experiencing a plumbing catastrophe due to burst pipes from freezing temperatures and significant power outages,” said Water Mission CEO and President, George C. Greene IV, PE. “With such a broad need there is a huge demand for skilled labor and not enough hands to do the work.”
According to PWB, what’s needed most right now are licensed plumbers who can drive to the Austin area with their tools and potentially plumbing pipe/fittings, since there is no guarantee piping materials will be available upon arrival. Plumbers with experience in retrofitting systems damaged by freezing temperatures are ideal.
PWB is asking volunteers to serve for a minimum of two weeks. All efforts are prioritized to address the most under-resourced residents with the most urgent needs, such as seniors, individuals with disabilities, and families without insurance.
In order to make the two week volunteer service time possible, plumbing manufacturer American Standard made a donation to help cover food, lodging, and any other expenses plumbers encounter while serving the community.
In a statement, Gene Barbato, the VP of Marketing at American Standard said “we understand that plumbers protect the health of the nation, and we are honored to partner with Water Mission and Plumbers Without Borders in these recovery efforts to mobilize skilled plumbers and provide much-needed supplies as quickly as possible. We ask any plumbers who can lend a hand, to please consider volunteering.”
How to Volunteer
PWB has a sign up sheet for local and out of state volunteers. Click here to enter your information and get started. You can also contact PWB at (206) 390-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Out of State Volunteers
If you live in a different state but still want to help, click here to apply for a provisional license that allows you to work in Texas.
Or, if you’re unable to physically travel to Texas and help, here’s a list of charities gathered by Texas Monthly that you can support.