‘Critical’ pipeline repair prompts request for immediate cuts in water use

RIVERSIDE – Residents of Moreno Valley, Perris and south Riverside were asked today to suspend all outdoor watering and minimize indoor water use through the weekend as a pipeline undergoes major repairs, putting pressure on local reserves available in the interim.

”While we have full confidence the state will complete repairs in the time allowed, our emergency reserves are limited in this portion of our service area,” said Paul Jones of the Eastern Municipal Water District. ”This is a very serious situation, and we must all do our part to ensure these communities continue to have the essential water supply reliability they have come to expect.”

According to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Henry J. Mills treatment plant, located just off Interstate 215 in Box Springs, will be shut down around 2 p.m. to allow crews to begin repairing a broken valve on the pipeline that delivers supplies to the plant.

The shutdown is expected to last until 6 p.m. Sunday. The plant serves both the Eastern and Western Municipal Water Districts, encompassing the cities of Moreno Valley and Perris, as well as the communities of Eagle Valley, El Sobrante, Lake Mathews, Mission Grove, Orangecrest, Woodcrest, along with portions of March Air Reserve Base and Mead Valley.

Around 325,000 people will be affected.

”This is a critical, unplanned repair coming as temperatures throughout the region are expected to rise,” said MWD Chief Operating Officer Debra Man. ”We all need to do our part to reduce water use while the repairs are made.”

Along with halting all outdoor watering, officials asked customers to significantly scale back their indoor water use for the next two days to be on the safe side.

If there are complications with the pipeline repairs, officials will send out additional alerts notifying residents that conservation efforts must continue, according to Jones.

The Mills plant has a daily capacity of 220 million gallons. The facility is a recipient of State Water Project allocations via the Santa Ana Valley Pipeline, which is part of a network of supply lines running from Northern to Southern California.

Jones said as soon as the California Department of Water Resources informed local water districts of the need to take the plant offline, they began stocking up on reserves. However, he said, those could be depleted if the scheduled repairs exceed the roughly 52-hour window set aside for the overhaul.

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