High winds, extremely low humidity, massive wildfires and power outages have all raised concerns about the potential impact on water supplies. SCV Water released a statement this week assuring residents that they have operational plans in place for short- and long-term emergencies. The water agency noted the following as part of their emergency plan:
- During Red Flag Warnings, the agency operates the tanks at their highest level and keeps them full so that they can maintain as much water as possible in the system.
- SCV Water uses a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, made up of networked computers and sensors, to view and monitor all of their tank levels throughout the valley.
- They receive pinpoint notices from Southern California Edison as to where and when power is expected to go down so that generators can be moved to those specific facilities, and personnel can be available to monitor the situation closely.
- Should power go out, SCV Water has large generators available to deploy to key booster stations to keep water flowing. The generators can run up to 12 hours before refueling is necessary.
- The water agency has staff on-call after regular business hours every day, should they be needed for an emergency.
- The Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant has backup power and can continue to operate for four to five days without power, monitoring and refueling as necessary after that.
SCV Water stated that they continue to look for additional ways to improve their preparedness and system resiliency to provide water service during emergency conditions.
The water agency also helps in other ways when wildfires strike. Adding to the many sources of water that Los Angeles County Fire Department has at its disposal, SCV Water provides additional access at some of their facilities. “In addition to the fire hydrants you see throughout the valley, we also help aerial firefighting efforts with two helipads, two dip tanks and another helipad planned at the new Castaic High School,” stated Mike Alvord, director of operations. Helipads are locations where helicopters can fill from hydrant-type connections. Dip tanks are hard or soft-sided open tanks available to draw water from.
“SCV Water staff have spent countless hours to develop and fine-tune an operations plan that can prepare us for short- and long-term emergencies,” stated SCV Water Board President Bill Cooper. “It’s reassuring to know preparedness is a high priority and one we can better manage now as a single, regional water provider.”