Hundreds of Wichitans, including two schools, go nearly a day without water. A water main break at 45th Street North and Hillside began Thursday afternoon. It left about 350 customers dry along with Stucky Middle School and Heights High School.
Originally the city expected to restore water service Thursday night. But after fixing one leak, crews found another one. That meant hundreds of Wichitans like Greg Maddox had to find other ways to cook, brush their teeth, even flush the toilet. And getting a shower meant taking a drive.
"The sixteen year old didn't really appreciate it this morning when there's no shower," Maddox said. "So we had to run her around to try to figure out how to get her a shower." Friday afternoon, Maddox was already making plans to eat out for supper if the water wasn't back on.
The water did come back on early Friday afternoon. But before that, some Wichita school children had to learn to go without.
"I'll wait," laughs Stucky Middle School principal Jennifer Sinclair, holding her hands up in the air. "They're like, 'I'll wait'."
That was the response from many students when they learned there was no running water for flushing the toilets. "You just learn to do what you got to do to adapt," said art teacher Derek Goon.
The district began preparing before dawn, knowing the water wasn't going to work. It dropped off thousands of bottles of drinking water and hand sanitizer. It also trucked in tanks of water for flushing toilets along with instructions on how to do it.
"You just have to take a bucket of water and fill it in," demonstrates Sinclair. "And when you pour it, then it flushes through."
At Stucky they stationed janitorial staff outside each bathroom to do the flushing for the students, guys for the boys' bathrooms, women for the girls'. But not many students showed up.
"As long as they know that the toilets aren't flushing right now they're apt to hold it in even longer," said Goon.
Inside the classrooms it seemed like a normal school day.
"In fact I think the kids are adapting better than most of the adults," laughs Goon. "I think the adults are having a harder time with it."
One official did tell Eyewitness News a lot of the kids had no water at home either. At least at school there was a way to flush and they had access to drinking water and a way to clean up.
The city's not sure what caused the break. It probably wasn't age. The line was installed in 1985, but not by Wichita Public Works. That was before the area was inside the city limits.