A judge Wednesday declined to issue an emergency order compelling Cabot to continue the deliveries. The judge, who sits on the state's Environmental Hearing Board, set a Dec. 7 deadline for arguments on a second, related petition filed by lawyers for the families.
The decision left residents who do not think their water is safe scrambling to find alternate sources.
"We are in desperate need here," said Scott Ely, 42, who is married with three young children at home.
State regulators previously determined that Cabot drilled faulty gas wells that allowed methane to escape into Dimock's aquifer. The company denied responsibility but has been banned from drilling in a 9-square-mile area of Dimock since April 2010.
A Cabot spokesman said Wednesday that the company had worked diligently to resolve the problems.
"Cabot has reconditioned water wells, drilled new water wells and installed treatment systems that work properly and effectively," George Stark said via e-mail. "Additionally, we have tested the water and the results have as proven the water meets federal safe drinking water standards."