More than 1 million consumers in eastern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino counties are being called upon to suspend outdoor watering and non-essential indoor water use while a major regional water pipeline is taken out of service for nine days for urgent repairs beginning Monday, April 16.
Officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency and local retail water agencies made the water-saving request today as Metropolitan prepares for the repair of its Rialto Feeder pipeline.
In response to the shutdown, consumers in the cities of La Verne, Claremont, Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and Fontana are being asked to save water and stretch local supplies.
Richard Hansen, Three Valleys general manager, said conservation by consumers and businesses is essential to help complete the pipeline repairs without disruptions in service.
Debra C. Man, Metropolitan’s chief operating officer, said the 96-inch-diameter Rialto pipeline was inspected earlier this year as part of efforts to install upgrades along the water line. Man said recent inspection results revealed a weakened pipeline section needing immediate attention.
Metropolitan routinely schedules shutdowns of its facilities in winter months, when temperatures usually are cooler and demands are lower, to complete inspections and perform maintenance and upgrades with the least impact on consumers, Man said.
The 30-mile Rialto Feeder extends from the Devil Canyon Power Plant north of San Bernardino to Metropolitan’s San Dimas Power Plant, delivering up to 450,000 gallons of imported water a minute for about 6 million total residents.
The pipeline is the only source of supplemental water for communities served by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, which relies on Metropolitan water for about 30 percent of its water supply needs. Three Valleys, which uses Metropolitan water for up to 60 percent of its needs, has the ability to receive imported water through an alternate MWD pipeline.
Due to the immediate need to repair the line, water agencies have a limited amount of lead time to prepare and coordinate water supplies and storage. In routine maintenance situations, Metropolitan typically provides six to eight months for agencies to prepare. With a major water source cut off, some water agencies have issued a more stringent call for conservation measures to ensure there is an adequate supply for its consumers.
Before pipeline repairs begin, residents and businesses will be asked to do their part to ensure reservoirs and local supplies won’t be drained. Steps include stopping outdoor watering of landscapes and lawns, hand-washing vehicles, filling swimming pools or spas, and hosing down driveways and sidewalks beginning April 16 until the pipeline repairs are complete April 24.
Other water-saving measures can include running only full loads of clothes washers and dishwashers, not leaving the water running when washing dishes, keeping showers to a maximum of 10 minutes and not leaving the water running when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Residents should be aware that some municipal parks and landscape areas that are irrigated with recycled water will not be affected by the shutdown.