If you read the comments, it gets even more complicated, but no less outrageous.
According to Clay Hodges of the Cash Special Utility District (sounds like the water company) all the district's hydrants, including those in Alexander Ranch, have had their water turned off since just after 9/11. ... "These hydrants need to be cut off in a way to prevent vandalism or any kind of terrorist activity, including something in the water lines," Hodges said.
Riiiight. There must be some really active Al Quaeda cells working in northern Texas, that it's worth turning off the FIRE HYDRANTS to prevent contamination of the water supply.
But wait, there's more!
Hodges says fire departments know, or should have known, the water valves can be turned back on with a tool.
So... there's a "tool" that can be used, right there at the hydrant, to turn it back on again? O_O I guess this is a very specifically targetted anti-terrorist defense -- they're defending against terrorists who are smart enough to get the basics of contaminating the water supply, but stupid enough not to know about, acquire or use one of these "tools." Uh huh. Wow, I feel safer already.
Then down in comments, Joe777 says that the whole tool thing is crap, that it wouldn't have made any difference anyway. The hydrant shown in the photo (with the burned-out house in the background) is painted black, which means that the hydrant is supplied by a private company and might not have enough water pressure to actually, like, fight a fire in the first place. I guess they're just street decorations around the neighborhood, like stop signs in The Sims. According to Joe, this is a scheme by the private water companies -- they're hoping that after a few houses burn down, they'll be allowed to raise the rates to pay for the increase in water pressure. :/
I have no idea whether this is true about the deliberate maneuvering for higher rates, but the thing about the black hydrants is mentioned in the article. One has to wonder what good anyone would imagine a fire hydrant is, if there's not enough water pressure to fight a fire. Did anyone vote for this? Or did any public official whose office is subject to public election approve this?
So, if you live in Texas, what color is your fire hydrant? And would it do you any good even if your local fire fighters did carry this "tool" around with them?
Doubtless this is a sterling example of how the deregulation and privatization of essential services benefits us all. [cough]