MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City leaders took steps to help Memphians meet their most basic needs Wednesday, as thousands of homes and businesses suffered with little to no running water.

Drinking water wasn’t the only thing many Memphians were on the hunt for. In Hickory Hill, dozens of people lined up looking for water so they can flush their toilets.

Marquela Williams says she’s had a rough past few days trying to raise a toddler with no running water. She’s one of the tens of thousands of people currently without water due to water main breaks. 

“It really been hard you know just trying to manage to make it to the next day,” she said.

Williams says she’s managed to get her hands on drinking water but she’s running short on water for her bathroom.

In an effort to help people flush out their systems, MLGW distributed non-potable water at the Hickory Hill Community Center. The water was not suitable for drinking, cooking, or bathing.

City officials said it is strictly for flushing toilets.

Many were encouraged to come back later in the day with their own container so they could get as many refills as needed.

Some people, like Denise Powell, were in line for others. She said her son has been without water for days.

“He lives here but he works in Texas, and he came home for the holidays and his water was frozen,” she said.

MLGW President Doug McGowen said while there is no timeline for a complete restoration, they are making progress. 

“I blame for them a lot of stuff – my bill mostly, but not for this,” Powell said.

At this time, it’s unclear if MLGW will distribute the non-potable water any other time this week.

Also Wednesday, MLGW said non-essential water use, for things like car washes, is no longer prohibited. The precautionary boil-water advisory is still in effect.

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Need water?

Memphis Light, Gas and Water is holding another water giveaway Wednesday. They will be set up at two locations from noon until 2.

The first location is at the First Baptist Church Broad, 2835 Broad Ave., and the second at the Iglesia Nueva Vida, 3687 Macon Road.

There will also be a giveaway of non-drinkable water for customers at the Hickory Hill Community Center on Ridgeway Road. This water is meant to be used to flush your toilets only, not for drinking.

That giveaway is happening from 9 in the morning until 5 at night.