Thousands of gallons of water coursing unimpeded down the streets of Eagle Rock amid the state’s ongoing drought left some Northeast Los Angeles residents astonished on Monday.
The water was gushing from a pipe that needed to be fixed so that the Eagle Rock Reservoir can undergo improvements, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Coming just a few days after a NASA/JPL scientist warned in an eye-popping Los Angeles Times opinion piece that California might have just one more year of water supplies left, the flow seemed a waste to area residents.
Dawn Roznowski said just this past weekend she had attended a two-hour DWP workshop on conserving water.
“It’s hypocritical. We’re told to conserve, to make lifestyle changes … only water on certain days, and now it’s just flowing like a river down the street,” Roznowski said. “Just to let it go down the drain is just wasteful.”
The flow began about 9:45 a.m., with water pouring through the gutter in the area of Eagle Vista and Hill drives, about a quarter-mile below the reservoir. Some residents used buckets to capture some of the flow and wash their cars and water their plants.
DWP is draining 70,000 gallons of water — the equivalent of about four residential swimming pools — from a severely corroded pipe that needs to be fixed before work on the reservoir can begin, according to Michelle Figueroa, a spokeswoman for DWP.
“Work on the pipeline is being done to avoid a potential catastrophic failure and the loss of a much larger quantity of water,” Figueroa said in an email. “We appreciate and share concerns about the loss of any water from our distribution system and are committed to performing critical infrastructure work in the most efficient way possible.”
The amount being lost is about .01 percent of the daily water use of the city of Los Angeles, Figueroa said, adding that the agency had notified Eagle Rock residents that the water would be drained from the pipe.
After attention from KTLA and an outcry from residents, DWP sent a top water official over to the neighborhood, and tanker trucks began to capture the water. Martin Adams, senior assistant general manager of the water system at LADWP, said local residents were "right" about the waste, and he said he understood their frustration.
"It shows that people understand the severity of the drought and they’re concerned about the water supply, which is something we’re actually glad to see," Adams said. "I’m glad we got called on this. Someone said, you can’t continue to do this the way you always have. You need to do something different."
The collected water was set to be taken to a reservoir, treated and put back into the system.
The draining of the pipe was set to be completed by early Tuesday morning.
DWP last week announced that work was being done on the Eagle Rock Reservoir, which will get a new cover, and the Solano Reservoir near Dodger Stadium, which will receive a new liner.
Residents were encouraged to conserve through May, when the work was expected to be complete.
KTLA's Tara Wallis-Finestone contributed to this article.