Public Safety Power Shutoff

Preparing for Public Safety Power Shutoffs during high fire risk periods

During wildfire season (approximately June through November), PG&E may turn off electricity in designated areas when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted (such as Red Flag Warnings, low humidity, high winds, and dry conditions). The specific areas and number of affected customers will depend on weather conditions and which circuits PG&E turns off for public safety. These precautions are called Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

What does this mean for your water service?

SqCWD has an action plan should we lose power. While PSPSs are focused on high fire-threat areas, outages may affect any of our water facilities. Outages are expected to last up to two to five days; depending on weather conditions and power restoration efforts, however, some outages may last longer.

A PSPS event will force SqCWD to switch to backup generators to power pumps, water treatment plants and other key facilities to keep water flowing, maintain storage and fire flow, and keep water distribution lines pressurized. 

A power outage will activate a short-term Stage 5 Critical Water Shortage Emergency. Stage 5 Measures for customers include the following:

  • No outdoor irrigation
  • No water for recreational purposes
  • No draining or refilling of existing or new pools or hot tubs
  • No water use for aesthetic purposes (ornamental fountains, ponds) except to support aquatic life
  • No vehicle washing
  • No exterior washing of structures
  • Pools/hot tubs must be covered when not in use

Here is what we are doing to prepare: 

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 Warning is issued, we fill and maintain water tanks near capacity.
We are managing vegetation around our facilities as feasible to reduce fire risk.
We will notify customers when PG&E notifies us of a potential power shutoff.

What can you do?

Before a PSPS event:

  • Make sure your contact information is updated with SqCWD and your local energy company.
  • Store a minimum of two gallons of water per person per day, enough to last three to seven days, and don’t forget your pets. The more water you can store, the better.
  • Identify your unique/critical water needs and plan ahead.
  • Clear property of excess, dead and highly flammable vegetation. Trim grass and vegetation at least 30 feet around your home.
  • If you have a backup generator, test it and ensure it’s ready to operate safely.

If you are affected by a PSPS event:

  • Minimize water use during an event to leave as much water in the reservoirs as possible for firefighting.
  • Shut off irrigation.
  • Reduce indoor water use.

Stay tuned; there will be ongoing updates available through social media, news media and on SqCWD’s website.

After a PSPS event:

  • Restock your water supplies
  • Prepare for the next PSPS event
  • Reset your irrigation controller while resetting other electronics to prevent overwatering

We will need public cooperation to ensure we maintain critical water supplies.

Resources:

For more information on PSPS, please visit pge.com/wildfiresafety