UPDATE: Copperhill residents are under a Boil Water Advisory for the third time since October.

The city is unable to pump water from nearby McCaysville, its normal water source. When something goes wrong at the water plant in McCaysville, the city of Copperhill is not able to get water.

So now, the city is in the process of switching its water supplier to Copper Basin Utilities in order to better serve its customers because the cost of water problems is drowning the city.

"It makes my life a little bit harder every day," Copperhill resident Kristin Sanderlin said.

She is one of more than 400 households navigating life under a Boil Water Advisory yet again.

"It's been a lot,” Sanderlin said. “It's been every month or so for the last 5 months."

Sanderlin also has a young baby at home, making her situation an even bigger challenge.

"She's on formula, so I have to buy water, and everything you do you have to boil it, and cases of water aren't even on the shelves," Sanderlin said.

Her family now keeps a supply of water bottles in the house because she said the water crisis is no longer a temporary problem but seems like a way of life.

"We just take precautions all the time because it seems all the time that it's on," Sanderlin urged.

The problem is not a cheap one for the city. Each time Copperhill has a water crisis, it costs just shy of $20,000, and this is the third water crisis since October.

"Each time it gets a little longer and costs a little more,” Mayor Kathy Stewart said.

The City has found what it hopes will be a permanent solution. In 2015, it received a grant to connect Copperhill to Copper Basin Utility's water line, which would make Copper Basin Utility the city's new water provider. Mayor Stewart said that process should be completed in the next six months.

"It will be a big relief financially to the city and, of course, to the residents,” Mayor Stewart explained.

Last time there was an issue, Copperhill had to purchase nearly 950,000 gallons of water.

Thursday, the city will set up an emergency tie-in line, which will allow the city to start using its water immediately for emergencies like this. This will be a temporary fix until the city is fully connected to Copper Basin Utility's water lines.


PREVIOUS STORY: At least 100 Copperhill customers were scrambling for water on Tuesday. 

City officials have been having trouble pumping water from McCaysville since Saturday. This is the third time residents have been without water in the last eight months.  

Copperhill Mayor, Kathy Stewart, says they aren't the only ones without water; the city of McCaysville is as well. Stewart says the McCaysville water plat has had several water main breaks because of the weather recently. Stewart says McCaysville is also repairing a water filter at their plant which is preventing them from supplying water. 

"Our main water supply is from the city of McCaysville and when they’re unable to supply us water, we have no water," said Stewart. 

Volunteer firefighters hauled water into one of Copperhill's tanks for hours. It's a temporary solution to what Stewart calls a crisis. 

"These are volunteers that work and as soon as some of them got off of work they were able they to be here by 12 or 1 o’clock and started hauling," said Stewart. "It’s very frustrating, but you’ve got to understand that things do happen and when something happens you have to reach out to the resources that can help you and that’s what we’ve done." 

On Tuesday at least two tanker trucks from East Polk Fire Dept. and Hiwassee Dam Fire Dept. were making several trips from a fire hydrant near Copper Basin High School to haul water. Each truck can hold at least 1,200 gallons of water, which was transferred into two of Copperhill's main tanks. But the tank they need to refill holds 265,000 gallons of water. It's been dry since Saturday. With no help from McCaysville, it's been hard to fill. 

Meanwhile, residents rely on bottled water to survive.

"I won’t be able to work tomorrow because you just have no water. You can’t feed your dogs; you can’t flush your toilet; you can’t take a shower. It’s really hard and there’s no water anywhere," said Copperhill resident, Amber Martin. 

Martin says it takes one gallon of water to flush her toilet once. But coming across bottled water was hard from many to find in stores. Martin says she went to three stores and had no luck. 

"I’m hoping that they’re [the city] working on it and was going to get it resolved," said Martin. 

While residents try to cope with what they have, Stewart says they're working on a permanent solution. She says the Copperhill was approved for a $500,000 emergency grant. It will allow the city to connect to Copper Basin Utility's water lines, giving Copperhill another water source. Stewart says it will take a few weeks to finalize the paperwork.