South Tahoe Public Utility District: Conserve water during power outage
With Lake Tahoe’s electric providers mandating precautionary outages during high fire danger, one South Shore utility is reminding its customers to conserve water when the lights go out.
South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) is urging its customers to conserve water during power outages to ensure there is enough water to fight a fire. As the district explained in a news release, water and waste water are energy intensive.
Specifically for STPUD, water must be pumped out of the ground, treated and then pumped through a 253-mile distribution system in order to reach customers. After it’s used, wastewater flows to a treatment plant where it is cleaned and pumped 26 miles up and over Luther Pass to Alpine County where it is used by farmers for irrigation. All of this requires a lot of energy, STPUD noted.
At Lake Tahoe, both Liberty Utilities and NV Energy have been reminding customers about their plans to cut power when the risk of catastrophic wildfire becomes too great. The practice is becoming increasingly common in the wake of deadly and destructive utility-caused fires in California.
When faced with outages, either intentional or unintentional, STPUD’s emergency generators kick on.
“This back-up power supply keeps the system running, but is not designed to handle peak demand,” Chris Stanley, manager of field operations, said in the news release. “With outages projected to occur during high fire risk, the district needs to keep water tanks and diesel tanks full in case a fire occurs.”
The district suggests water users consider the following when the power goes out:
Turn off irrigation systems.
Take shorter showers.
Flush the toilet only as needed.
Use a wash tub when washing dishes.