During the powerful storm of Jan. 8, the main pipeline that delivers water from our Loch Lomond Reservoir to the water treatment plant on Graham Hill Road was damaged—forcing the City to rely on just 20 percent of its supply sources and only four days’ worth of water in storage.



The pipeline break as it appeared on Monday morning, Jan 8, 2017.


Although 95 percent of the City’s water supply comes from local rivers and streams, this was all off limits because of the storm. During storm events, the water from those sources often becomes too turbid to treat. When this happens, our Water Department relies on water from Loch Lomond Reservoir.


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Given the pipeline break, the City’s supply sources were reduced to drinking water in storage, a small amount coming from North Coast sources, and water that Soquel Creek Water District graciously agreed to sell to us.  We called a Water Shortage Emergency and asked customers to cut back use by 30 percent. For a community that already rates as top water conservers in the state, this was a big ask.

“This community knows how to save water and they already do it on a daily basis. There simply aren’t many ‘non-essential’ uses of water to cut back on during wintertime,” said Water Director Rosemary Menard.


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The damaged pipe was in an area of Henry Cowell State Park with difficult accessibility. Loaded work trucks were forced to drive in reverse on the twisty, narrow road, as there was no place to turn around at the leak site.



Repair crews worked through the night of the water pipeline break on Monday Jan. 8.


Rainy weather, falling trees and unstable soil made repairs especially challenging. In the meantime, water supplies were dwindling yet demand remained the same.


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The first water pipeline repair attempt was unsuccessful.


After a first fix attempt failed on Tuesday, our Water Department staff and contractors were able to get a second fix in place by late Wednesday.




After slowly pressurizing the main, it appeared the second repair was successful and our Water Department was able to begin running water from the reservoir back through the main. The Water Shortage Emergency was lifted at noon on Friday, Jan. 13.


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By Tuesday morning, Jan. 17, water storage was completely back to normal, the main was in full service and the road had been repaired.

The City remains grateful to all customers who found ways to conserve during our water supply emergency—thank you!

City Beat

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