Without water for days, residents in Shelby Forest find some relief

Shelby Forest residents without water

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of the hardest-hit areas during the Memphis water crisis has been Shelby Forest, located just west of Millington.

People who live in that area say they feel forgotten.

Some residents of that area say they haven’t had water in days.

They say it didn’t appear anyone was going to help them, so they rallied together and got a lot more help than they were expecting.

Doug Ivy has seen a lot in his lifetime, but the recent winter weather surprised even him.

“I’m 80 years old and I’ve never witnessed this much cold for this long a period of time,” said Ivy.

The freezing weather took a toll on MLGW’s aging water infrastructure, leading to low pressure systemwide, causing the utility to issue its first boil water advisory.

“What we’ve experienced over the last several days is really unprecedented,” said J.T. Young, the president and CEO of MLGW.

MLGW Boil Water Advisory Update

Over the weekend, elected leaders rushed to provide bottled water to citizens who live in Memphis.

But Ivy says no one seemed to care about citizens like him living in Shelby Forest.

“If I can honestly say, it pissed me off. That’s as plain as I can say it,” said Ivy. “That’s when I started calling people to try to get some help.”

Ivy says what concerned him the most were the older residents unable to leave their homes.

“Some of the people are old and shut-in. They can’t get help, don’t have family. Their family lives other places,” said Ivy.

Ivy says he struck out in his attempts to get help at the local and state level, but he says the county finally came through, providing a pallet of water.

And then to his surprise, a private citizen, who wished to remain anonymous, stepped forward, providing a trailer load of water, which they handed out to area residents at the Citgo gas station on North Watkins.

Ivy says he’s thankful for everyone who pitched in to help.

“I think we’ll be all right. The worst part is over now. The snow and ice is clearing up. We can get around,” said Ivy. “Maybe the stores will get stocked back up and everything?”

MLGW Boil Water Advisory still in effect

MLGW says the reason Shelby Forest had extremely low water pressure is because it sits at a higher elevation than other parts of the county and with lower pressure systemwide, it’s harder for the water to flow up.

Similar problems with low water pressure were reported at some high-rise buildings.

MLGW said on Monday that its crews have made progress in restoring broken water mains.

“Our pumping stations are getting better every day. They’re still in the red, but we’re really about to make that move to a better phase,” said Young.

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