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During work to replace a corroded water pipe in March, DWP crews drained about 70,000 gallons of water. The water gushed down Eagle Vista and Hill drives, upsetting residents who have been pressured by the city to conserve.
Some took to social media to complain to Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the Eagle Rock area.
Huizar said he immediately called DWP officials, who sent out trucks to collect the rest of the water draining out of the reservoir. He said some residents "saw the value" of the water and even rushed out with buckets to collect some of the water, using it to wash their cars or irrigate their lawns and roses.
Huizar and DWP officials said today the utility has changed its "standard practice" of dumping water as part of its daily water pipe repair work. The water will instead be recovered and injected into the sewer system to be treated, used to irrigate city parks and golf courses or simply put back into the water system, officials said.
The old practice of releasing the water during repairs "simply does not make sense anymore" amid the ongoing drought and a statewide mandate issued by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce water use by 25 percent.
"To just dump drinking water into the ocean is in contradiction to everything we are doing to get people to conserve water," Huizar said. "If we as a city are asking residents to conserve water, we should be doing the same as well."
Under state water reduction regulations approved late Tuesday, the city of Los Angeles will need to contribute to the overall statewide goal by reducing the city's water consumption by 16 percent.
Marty Adams, who heads the DWP's water operations, thanked Eagle Rock residents today, saying the utility "realized right away that we were sending a mixed message."
Adams said that while water is released as part of normal repair work, "what we do with that water is really up to us."
"And so today we're making a decision to do something different with the water than what we've done in the past, and that's to put it to the highest beneficial use we can," he said.
Adams said the department will not be able to save every drop that might leak out during repairs, but crews will do the best they can to capture most of it.
The new policy could save the DWP "millions of gallons" of water, Adams said.
From Sandra Endo:
Eagle Rock residents noticed thousands of gallons of water gushing down their streets back in March, on Eagle Vista and Hill Drives.
The water flushed down storm drains due to DWP repair work on the Eagle Rock reservoir and after residents complaints, there was a hurried effort to try to save any drop of water given the historic drought conditions here in Los Angeles.
Today local leaders and DWP officials plan to announce a way to ensure that water will not be wasted again.
One resident said "we take shorter showers, our grass is dead, we are conserving." They say it's imperative the city does too given Governor Jerry Brown's goal to reduce consumption by 25 percent.