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Cal Water Utilizes Broad Network of Operations in Response to California Wildfires

Posted on by NAWC Team

Ensuring reliable drinking water service is by no means a simple process, but adding in a disaster like a wildfire makes it downright dangerous and exponentially more difficult. The Mendocino Complex Fire – the largest wildfire in modern California history – began at the end of July and continues to threaten a large part of the state. So far, over 354,000 acres have been impacted. The fire resulted in the mandatory evacuation of California Water Service’s (Cal Water) 1,400 customers in Lucerne.

Cal Water’s vast statewide resources and expertise allowed the company to remotely operate its water system and treatment plant and ensure continuity of operations from an Emergency Operations Center 85 miles away in the Marysville service area. Thanks to pre-positioned backup generators, Cal Water’s facilities continued to run even during power outages.

Since the fire began, the team at Cal Water, including employees from around the state who volunteered to help, has been on the ground to ensure firefighters have sufficient water supplies and pressure to fight the fires. Because wildfires have become an increasing threat in the state, Cal Water has two former fire chiefs on its team who are able to help coordinate response efforts with state and local fire agencies. After the mandatory evacuation was lifted, Cal Water immediately set up two care stations in its Lucerne service area to provide returning residents with food supplies and bottled water.

The threat of natural disasters is something for which every water utility must be prepared. Most regulated water companies, like Cal Water, have operations in multiple communities, so when one system is stressed due to an emergency, resources in other areas can be quickly redirected to provide support.

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