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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Jul 11

MMWD Preparing for Electric Power Shutoffs

Posted on July 11, 2019 at 2:13 PM by Ann Vallee

Beginning with the 2019 wildfire season, PG&E will implement a new program called Public Safety Power Shutoff or PSPS. A PSPS event is when, due to extreme fire risk conditions such as a Red Flag Warning, PG&E may shutoff power for a period of up to five days.

To improve the District’s readiness to respond to a PSPS, this spring MMWD’s Board of Directors approved funding for portable generators that can be utilized at strategic sites to ensure we are able to deliver water to our customers. MMWD uses pump stations powered by electricity to fill our water storage tanks. Should a PSPS event occur, MMWD staff will move the portable generators throughout our service area to power our pump stations. While logistically challenging, the deployment of portable generators will allow for continued water service to District customers. 

MMWD portable generators
Portable generators ready for deployment 

Historically, PG&E power outages affecting the District have been short-term and occur during winter months when water demand is low, and generally impact a small number of pump stations. Unlike short-term winter power outages, electric power shutoffs during Red Flag conditions present a challenging scenario, as these conditions coincide with much higher water demand.  

In order to best manage this new scenario, when a PG&E PSPS event occurs anywhere in MMWD’s service area, we are asking that all customers turn off their irrigation system and restrict water use to indoors only for the duration of the PSPS. Reducing the demand on our system will serve two important purposes: It will ensure more water is available for firefighting if needed, and it will assist the District with our efforts to strategically deploy the portable generators. Your help is greatly appreciated! 

Beyond conserving water, preparing for a PG&E power shutoff event is similar to preparing for other disasters such as wildfire or an earthquake. One of the easiest yet most essential steps you can take to prepare is to set aside an emergency water supply. Keep at least a five-day supply of water for each person in your household. Plan for one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. Store extra water for pets and family members with special needs. Visit our emergency preparedness web page for additional tips. 

For more information about Public Safety Power Shutoffs, please contact PG&E or visit: www.pge.com/wildfiresafety

Public Safety Power Shutoff preparations

Comments

Anonymous User
July 12, 2019 at 11:31 AM
If there is a PSPS declared, should we not only turn off irrigation and conserve water but also start tapping our emergency water supply? Or should we protect that supply against further disaster? Thank you. betsywbikle@gmail.com
Anonymous User
July 12, 2019 at 5:54 PM
Thank you!
Anonymous User
July 13, 2019 at 9:36 AM
Just curious if there has been a practice drill to make sure all goes smoothly when this does happen and everything works As expected.

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