10 Million Gallons of Water Floods UCLA Campus

Now that's a lot of water. See how a water main break disrupted university life at UCLA.

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What do you get when you combine college students and a 93-year-old broken water main? The short answer is: a mess.

On July 29, at the University of California-Los Angeles, an estimated 8 to 10 million gallons of water gushed out of a broken water main, flooding the historic Pauley Pavilion courts and creating rivers of water on campus.

“Pauley Pavilion has taken quite a bit of water,” says UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a Time article. “It’s painful. It’s a beautiful structure. We’re of course concerned. We’ve got to let it dry out and see where we are.”


But perhaps most dangerous was an underground parking garage where roughly 100 cars were submerged. At least five people were trapped and then rescued by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The water ran for more than three hours before municipal crews were able to turn it off. City officials have not yet determined what caused the break in the 30-inch-diameter pipe.

When asked by reporters about why it took so long to shut off the water, officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power stated that crews had to battle rush-hour traffic to get to the scene and then had to figure out which valves needed to be closed.

“We had to do research to get to the correct valve,” says Jim McDaniel, a DWP senior assistant general manager, in an LA Times article.

The main, which delivers 75,000 gallons of water per minute, broke around 3:30 p.m. and was finally shut down around 7 p.m.

A symptom of our aging infrastructure? Perhaps. And in California, where drought conditions have forced extreme water conservation initiatives, all of that lost water is certainly unwelcome news.


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