CA - ". . . called (water company) . . . said they were out of water" : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Water use up, service down in heat wave

This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press August 29, 2001.

By JULIE DRAKE Valley Press Staff Writer


Sizzling summer temperatures often mean air conditioners will be humming or buzzing, but that heat also translates into higher water use.

As residents in the Sommerset Terrace housing development near 20th Street West and Avenue L learned last week, a little water does not necessarily go a long way.

Home owners in the complex get their water from the San Jose-based California Water Service Co. On Aug. 14 and 21, residents turned on their water taps to discover their water pressure had dropped significantly, leaving what some said was a trickle of water running from the faucet.

The water ran at a lower pressure for approximately 12 hours both days, customers said, and a California Water Service Co. employee confirmed that.

"I had no water," said Mark White, adding that he was unable to shower after coming home from work.

White admitted there was "some water, but not enough to take a shower," estimating he had about "a fifth of the pressure we usually have."

When Rich Parkhurst realized his water pressure had dropped, he called his water company for an explanation.

"I called down there and they said they were out of water," Parkhurst said.

Parkhurst said other neighbors were told the pressure pump was down and that the company was in the process of switching over to a county source for water.

Shannon Dean, a representative with California Water Service Co., said the company operates two wells in Lancaster that it had to shut down and use water from an interconnection with L.A. County Waterworks.

"We're always really committed to avoiding water service interruptions," Dean said.

Chris Whitley, a Valley manager with the company, said water production was down about 100 gallons a minute in one of the wells that serve the company's three tanks, which hold about 600,000 gallons total.

Kevin Payne, a water systems operator with the company, said the problem was low water pressure.

When the water level dropped to about four feet, or about 80,000 gallons, the company had to purchase water from the county for its customers while allowing time for the tanks to refill.

Whitley said his company's water pressure is about 110 pounds per square inch, compared to about 55 psi for county water. When California Water Service Co. switched lines to the county water, its customers saw a noticeable difference in their water pressure.

"It was a short-term thing," Whitley said, adding that he doesn't anticipate having to shut down again to refill the tanks but has instructed water operators to "try something a little bit different" next time.

"We hope we're not going to have to do it again," Whitley said, adding that the company is looking into ways to solve the situation with the pump.

"Our main concern is to keep our customers in water," Whitley said.

"They need to fix it as far as I'm concerned," Parkhurst said.

-- PHO (, August 30, 2001

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