Three northwest Mo. towns struggling after water towers run dry

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ALTAMONT, Mo. -- "You don't understand what you got until you lose it," one resident said.

Three towns in northwest Missouri have been without water since Friday.

Hundreds of Altamont, Weatherby, and Winston residents have had to forego bathing, washing dishes, and getting drinking water from the tap when their water went dry.

FOX 4's Monica Evans went to the affected towns to find out how the folks in the two counties are coping, and what's being done to get the water flowing again.

Residents said it's been a rough few days dealing with the heat without water. Volunteers spent Monday passing out bottled water to people in Davies and Dekalb Counties.

Altamont's mayor Tessa Lollar said the town's water tower, which normally stores enough water for four days, went dry when an air pocket got into the water line.

"What had happened when it became air-locked, it would become like a big suction or a vacuum, and it actually had pulled water from our tower," Lollar said.

Air in the line to the Pattonsburg Water District, which supplies water to Altamont, Weatherby, and Winston, caused the water to drain out of their towers.

Lollar said the heat and added to the hardship of going without water, especially for the town's more vulnerable residents.

"It has been very hard for residents. I mean, you know, as you know we are under a heat advisory. It's very hot. You know, you have elderly, you have disabled," she said.

Lollar said the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) delivered truck loads of water Sunday night, and Monday. Another shipment is expected on Tuesday.

"When they showed up with this, we was really thankful so we decided to help," resident Kenneth Baldwin said.

Baldwin delivered water to people in rural areas, while another resident, Randy Turner, took the day off work to help out too.

"I decided to get my crew running and take the day off to help the community. To make sure water is dispersed to people that need it," Turner said.

County commissioners said the water is currently back on, but it's only a trickle. Officials said they expect the water to be fully restored in 48 hours. After that, a boil order will be in place until further notice.

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