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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Most of us cannot imagine living without water, but there are hundreds of people in New Hanover County who will spend Christmas without it. A Wilmington woman we spoke with today decided to do something about it. Yesterday she donated $10,000 to help out.

“I wanted to, and I wanted to give more,” Betty Palmer said. “I wish it could have been more.”

But to many, Palmer’s $10,000 donation was more than enough. After reading about the hundreds of families in New Hanover County without water this holiday season, Palmer decided to help.

“I told my son this morning that I feel like I am giving for what I haven’t gave in the past, and that I’m making up for it this time,” she said.

More than 500 homes in the county are without water. To turn it back on would take an estimated $100,000.

County Commissioner Rick Catlin also serves on the CFPUA Board. He says this problem is one the authority needs to address.

“This was not an intended consequence when we formed the authority, but it’s a very real consequence, and we need to find a way to solve it,” Catlin said.

CFPUA is waving the extra fees and penalties that come along with the unpaid bills, but that still leaves so many with no way to pay for the necessity.

“That’s a third-world situation, and we’re not Haiti. We’re the United States of America. We can do better than that,” Catlin said.

Palmer said, “If you don’t have water, you’re right down to the nitty-gritty. I mean that is down to the very bottom of the barrel. And if you don’t have water, you can’t be clean, you can’t cook. You can’t cook without water.”

Palmer, who initially wanted to stay anonymous, says she spoke out in hopes others see just how important it is to lend a hand.

To donate to help get the water turned back on for these families in need, you can send a check to the county or the United Way (http://www.uwcfa.org/). In the memo section write “For Waterless Citizens.”

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