Temple residents were asked to conserve water Wednesday after a pipe ruptured during a maintenance procedure at the main water treatment plant Tuesday night, shutting off the water supply to the city, officials said.

The repairs, which began at 6 p.m. Wednesday after replacement parts arrived, are expected to take 24 to 48 hours. said Assistant City Manager Sam Listi.

A new valve was being installed on a 30-inch water line -- the city's largest -- outside the plant when the line above the valve ruptured due to the pressure on the line, Interim Utilities Superintendent Randall Holly said.

The line usually delivers almost half of the city's supply, Holly said.

The city was being served during the disruption by above-ground storage tanks that were being refilled at about one-third the usual rate by rerouting through auxiliary lines, he said.

Thirty homes directly off the 30-inch water line in Southwest Temple were totally without water and were advised to temporarily relocate, Listi said.

Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, the city was able to tie into an 18-inch line, Listi said, providing some water supply.

"We're making progress with the situation," Listi said, "but we're still recommending conservation until the main line is restored. We'll be OK if people keep conserving."

Listi estimated the 18-inch line would supply about 30 to 40 percent of the usual load.

Holly said the city was able to handle the morning peak usage time and was optimistic about handling the night load, with citizens' conservation efforts.

Temple also supplies water to Troy, Morgan's Point and Little River/Academy. Holly said that Academy was using available well water during the shortage.

City officials said conservation efforts by the community were imperative to prevent a serious water shortage, and suggested citizens avoid washing clothes, dishes and cars; non-essential toilet-flushing and bathing; and watering or using sprinkler systems until the line is restored.

The city announced last week that the 30-inch valve would be replaced. Without any complications, the work was expected to have lasted from 11 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

"This was a scheduled repair," Listi said, "during the night low usage time."

A water pumper truck from Salado and the city's reserve engine were primed for service in the case of a fire. A truck from Ft. Hood was also requested if necessary.

Citizens and area businesses were encouraged to begin conserving water early Wednesday morning.

Scott and White Memorial Hospital implemented their water conservation plan, spokesman Adam Price said, giving the example of using disposable linens, paper plates and plastic tableware.

The Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center called the Texas Association of Dairymen about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and asked if the association could supply a tanker truck to help haul water to the VA, association spokesman James Terrell said.

Milk Transportation Services of Stephenville is supplying the truck, which truck has a 50,000-pound, 7,000-gallon capacity.

Holly said the truck would be monitored by city personnel as it is filled from a hydrant near one of the water towers.

Bill Stanford, vice president of King's Daughters Hospital, said the hospital had curtailed laundry operations, their biggest use of water.

The water plant was shut down for eight hours Dec. 13 after losing electricity in the ice storm. No noticeable water shortage was experienced then, department officials said.