During the 2019 wildfire season (approximately June through November), PG&E may turn off electricity in designated areas when extreme fire danger conditions are forecast that includes a “red flag” warning, dry conditions combined with low humidity and high winds. The specific areas and number of affected customers will depend on weather conditions and which distribution and transmission lines PG&E de-energizes for wildfire prevention. These precautions are being called Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). The District received notice that with the expansion of the program to “Tier 2 – Elevated Fire Danger” regions, all of the District’s PG&E accounts are subject to PSPS during extreme fire conditions, as determined by PG&E.
What does this mean for your water service?
The Bella Vista Water District is highly reliant upon the power grid to pump, filter and deliver water and has developed an action plan should we lose power. While PSPS is focused on high fire-threat areas, outages may affect any or all of our water facilities. According to PG&E, PSPS events may last for several days depending on weather conditions. Additionally, power will not be restored until lines have been inspected and it is deemed safe to re-energize lines, as determined by PG&E. A PSPS event could force the District to switch to backup generators to power-pumping plants, the water treatment plant and other key facilities to keep water flowing, maintain storage and keep water distribution lines pressurized although normal pressures will be reduced in some zones.
What can you do?
Before a PSPS event:
- Make sure your contact information is updated with the District (by calling (530) 241-1085) as well as your local energy company (PG&E or REU)
- Store a minimum of two gallons of drinking water per person per day, enough to last three to seven days, and don’t forget your pets and livestock! The more water you can store, the better.
- Perform laundry, dishwashing and other high water use activities in advance of the event.
- Run irrigation systems and store water in the soil root zone in advance
- Identify your unique/critical water needs and plan ahead.
- Clear property of excess, dead and highly flammable vegetation. Trim grass and vegetation at least 100 feet around your home. Clean your gutters.
- If you have a backup generator, test it and ensure it’s ready to operate safely.
If you are affected by a PSPS event:
- Expect that water pressure will be reduced.
- Postpone outdoor water use until after the event, if possible. Shut off outdoor irrigation.
- Minimize indoor water use during an event to leave as much water in storage as possible.
- Stay tuned; there will be ongoing updates available from PG&E, social media, news media and on the District’s website.
After a PSPS event:
- Replace your stored water supplies and prepare for the next PSPS event.
- Resume outdoor irrigation and replace soil moisture, especially for sensitive crops and landscapes.
- Reset and adjust your irrigation controller while resetting other electronics to prevent overwatering.
- Check regularly for updates from the District and PG&E
Here is what we are doing to prepare:
- We are installing backup generators to power-pumping plants, the Water Treatment Plant and other key facilities to keep water flowing, maintain storage and keep water distribution lines pressurized. However, not all of the generators ordered have been received and can take up to 16-weeks for delivery. In the meantime, the District has made arrangements to utilize portable generators.
- We are working with PG&E to ensure we receive as much advance notice as possible so we can prepare and initiate our response.
- When a PSPS event is called, we fill and maintain water tanks near capacity.
- The District will pre-position portable generators at designated critical facilities to keep our key pumping plants running, and we’ve made arrangements to keep these generators fueled during peak demand periods.
- We are managing vegetation around our facilities to reduce fire risk.
For more information on PSPS, Please visit: