Students are left without water after main pipe bursts


Cody Dannar

A broken water pipe causes inconveniences for faculty, staff and students. On April 27, The Topeka Utilities Department were able to replace the pipe.

On April 27, 2023, outside of Henderson Learning Center Resources and near Lot R, a water main broke, causing a domino effect of multiple buildings on campus being left without water. Around 11 a.m., students, faculty and staff who traveled to classes from Lot R had to walk through a river of water just to get on campus.

Mabee Library is one of the few buildings on campus without water. There were multiple signs in the building to remind students, faculty and staff that there was no water for the restrooms. (LeSha’ Davis)

“One of my students’ pits was that they had to walk through a river to get to class, and I imagine that was the water main break,” said Jordan Noller, Student Success lecturer. “Now it is 11a.m., I am sad that we still don’t have water in Mabee Library and it’s about 4 p.m.”

At 1:58 p.m. an email from WU Announcement was sent to faculty and students announcing that the Washburn Village, Art Building and Mabee Library would not have water while the main break in Lot R was being repaired.

Brandon Shumway, a plumber from The Topeka Utilities Department, explained what caused the water main break in Lot R and it was expected to be fixed around 5 p.m.

“In the middle, there’s a big hole right on top,” Shumway said. “That kind of pressure kind of made it grow. Alongside of it, we’re gonna put in new pipe and water back on.”

A crew from The Topeka Utilities Department are working on the water main break. There were five plumbers working on the water main break. (LeSha’ Davis)

According to Noller, the lack of water isn’t the campus’s fault and she understands it is an issue for the city.

To Hailey Boswell, junior philosophy major, being without water in the middle of the day and for extended hours “sucks.” Boswell expressed that, as a transfer student who lives in the Washburn Village, there should be a protocol set in place for situations like this.

“It would be nice to kind of know what to do in these situations because I don’t know,” Boswell said. “Especially with it being my first semester here, it’s like, ‘Oh, where do I go? For you know, basic human things?’”

Resident advisors of the Washburn Village have been receiving multiple messages from students who are concerned they may not be able to take care of their basic needs or even wash clothes.

“So we’ve gotten lots of complaints over the showers not being able to work, they’re not going to be able to clean their dishes, not going to be able to flush their toilet and use a restroom,” said Liz Duvall, junior majoring in communications. “And so that’s really difficult for them when they’re very distanced from campus, that doesn’t help a lot either.”

With expectations of the break line being fixed by 7 or 8 p.m., another email from WU Announcement was sent to announce the line had another break at 7:07 p.m. The same buildings are still affected by this and the crew expected it to be done before the end of that night.

WU Announcement sent an email at 9:45 p.m. with a final update on the water break line being fixed for all the buildings affected. Lot R is closed and water is on but the water pressure is low.


Edited by Christina Noland and Aja Carter