Repairs on a gigantic high-pressure water pipe that supplies water to a large swath of suburban western Riverside County were completed four hours ahead of schedule today, and a key water treatment plant went back into service.
“The water’s on, but we ask people to remain in the ‘conserve mode’ because of the statewide drought,” Metropolitan Water District spokesman Bob Muir told City News Service at 2:15 p.m.
Crews working for the California State Water Project replaced a leaking valve in the 40-year-old pipeline and flushed it out by 1:30 p.m. That meant water could begin flowing to the idled Henry J. Mills Water Treatment Plant near Box Canyon earlier than the 6 p.m. target tonight.
The plant was shut down Friday when it lost its water source, the Santa Ana Valley pipeline. It brings water into the Inland Empire from the California Aqueduct’s terminus at Silverwood Lake, and it bears a water pressure of 300 pounds per square inch.
A valve on the 40-year-old pipeline began to spew water Wednesday, and the MWD notified 325,000 customers of the Eastern and Western Municipal Water districts that it would have to shut the pipe down for 52 hours.
That meant a loss of 220 million gallons per day of domestic water from the Mills plant.
Residents of Moreno Valley, Perris and the southern part of the City of Riverside were told to turn off automatic sprinklers, avoid washing cars and eliminate heavy uses of water starting Friday, through the 6 p.m. target tonight.
Muir said the MWD also had emergency repairs on a treatment plant in the San Fernando Valley this week, prompting conservation request in western Los Angeles County.
“We’ve never had two treatment plants down at the same time, and that had us nervous,” Muir said.