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Water districts urge customers to conserve water during PG&E power shutoffs

Multiple water districts are desperately trying to get this message out there: if your power is shut off, conserve your water.

CALAVERAS COUNTY, Calif. — As more than 800,000 PG&E customers face the possibility of planned power outages early Wednesday morning, multiple water districts are urging customers to conserve their water.

In the hills of Calaveras County, surrounded by lush, beautiful trees, homes are prone to wildfires.

"We've gotta be prepared for anything here," Michael Minkler, General Manager of the Calaveras County Water District said.

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As the county and thousands of other homeowners across our region prepare for PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs that could last up to five days, multiple agencies including the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD), are desperately trying to get this message out: if your power is shut off, conserve your water.

"Without electricity, you're going to rely on backup generation. So if the homeowners don't have a backup generator, those pumps aren't going to function," Minkler said.

The water district has spent months preparing, strategically placing backup generators across the area. But in the event that one of them fails, they say it is critical for residents to conserve water as much as possible.

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Officials are recommending no extra use of water, no washing cars, or filling up pools. They're also urging customers to turn off their landscaping systems, take only short showers and flush the toilet only when necessary.

Minkler says wastewater is their biggest concern, coming from showers, washing dishes, dishwashers, laundry machines, and toilets, so if their backup generators fail, it's possible that waste could back up into your home or even, into the street in your neighborhood.

"That could be a pretty significant impact to the community, so we're going to do everything we can to avoid that, but we really need the help of the entire community to conserve water to take the pressure off of those facilities," he said.

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If a backup generator fails during the planned blackout, the water district says they plan to mobilize immediately, get another portable generator into the neighborhood or send a mechanic right away, but conserving water is one thing you can do now to help them in the long run.

"The more people conserve water, the less water that would be in that system. It buys us a little bit of time in the event of failures and takes the pressure off those facilities," he said.

The City of Angels Camp, San Andreas Sanitary District (SASD), Blue Lake Springs Mutual Water Company (BLSMWC), Union Public Utility District (UPUD), Calaveras Public Utility District (CPUD), Valley Springs Public Utilities District (VSPUD) and Murphys Sanitary District (MSD) supported the Calaveras County Water District's concern to conserve your water.

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