Northern California cities, water districts urge conservation as PG&E blackout continues

Cities, counties and regional water districts throughout the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area are urging users to cut down on water use during Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s public safety power shutoff, which has blacked out hundreds of thousands of customers since the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Fairfield authorities are urging residents to conserve water use after the city experienced a treatment plant issue that it is attributing to the PG&E shutoff.

The Fairfield Police Department in a Nixle post at 11:15 a.m. said one of its water treatment plants “experienced an issue as a result of the power shutoff,” and that the city’s public works department is working to fix the issue.

Fairfield public works could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the nature or severity of the plant issue. However, the Nixle post said water in Fairfield is still running and completely safe to drink.

“We are simply asking people to conserve by not using water for landscape irrigation during the outage,” the post said.

Nearby Vacaville set up a web page dedicated to information regarding the shutoff and its impact. The city urged water conservation, but noted that its water supply and treatment facilities are not expected to experience issues.

The El Dorado Irrigation District has asked customers across El Dorado County to conserve water Wednesday.

“Although many District facilities have backup power, it is limited to only meet minimum public health and safety needs,” a post on the district website said. “Therefore, we are asking all customers to immediately discontinue any non-essential water usage to ensure drinking water supplies and sanitary sewer services.”

The Sonoma County Water Agency, which services more than 600,000 in Sonoma and Marin counties, issued a similar statement about conservation to the front page of its website.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District posted a map to its website asking residents in certain areas of Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro and Walnut Creek to limit indoor water use and turn off outdoor irrigation during the PG&E shutoff.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.