On Thursday, June 30
a sixteen inch water main at the intersection of Euclid and Marin broke.
- The break was first reported to EBMUD at 8:40 a.m.
- By 2:00 pm, EBMUD had no idea how many customers were without water and were still trying to assess the situation.
- At 5:15pm on Thursday, I learned of the water main break by reading Berkeleyside.
- On Friday morning, 24 hours after the break was first reported, the City Manager's office had no knowledge that more than a thousand citizens in the Berkeley hills were without water.
It was on Friday morning that constituents, frustrated by a lack of information and with no prediction about when they could expect repairs to be completed, started calling my office. I contacted the Community Affairs representative at EBMUD and was told that about 50 homes were impacted and that service would be restored by noon on Friday.
Friday afternoon EBMUD issued a press release with updated and more accurate information. It was now more than 30 hours since residents had no water. Water service was finally restored to most customers by 2 a.m. on Saturday.
This event has been extremely instructive and informative for me. First, in an emergency situation, communication with residents is not always the highest priority. EBMUD hoped that they would be able to fix the break quickly, so didn't think that communication with the City was essential. A few hours went by and the timeline was extended, but again they thought that it would get done soon after. In the meantime, residents used their stored earthquake water to fulfill their needs.
The following day, the adventure was wearing thin and water supplies were disappearing quickly. People were surprised at how much water they actually needed.
Here's the lesson learned:
In a major disaster, you may be on your own for
You need to store enough water for your entire family and pets for that length of time. One gallon per day per individual and pet. As in this situation, communication may be slow. Delivery of water to you will not be a first priority in the first days after a big quake.
Please take the time to create a source of water in the event of an emergency. Store it in a way that allows you to easily lift and carry it yourself without help. And if you have elderly or homebound neighbors, please help them to create a water supply so that they can remain independent and safe as well.