On Monday at 3:30 p.m. what may be the largest water main break in the history of Los Angeles inundated the UCLA campus and Sunset Blvd. in the tony section of Westwood. A huge geyser, extreme flooding, and a fifty- foot sink hole overwhelmed Pauley Pavilion and the Drake athletic field.
The sinkhole forced the closure of Sunset Blvd., on the north side of the campus, in both directions. The 30-inch diameter pipe that broke dates back to 1921, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti. City Councilman Paul Koretz said that Los Angeles has a very extensive water system and some of the pipes are 200 years old. The break is symptomatic of a serious problem with much of Los Angeles’s infrastructure.
The Los Angeles Times reported shortly after the flooding began that the water rose as high as a car’s wheel wells, and vehicles were stranded in parking structures. The Los Angeles Fire Department assisted several motorists who were stranded, and an LAFD swift-water rescue team with four inflatable boats was at the scene. There may be a need for local evacuations, according to the LAFD.
A Los Angeles City Fire Department official told ABC7 that it is the worst water main break that he has ever seen. Pauley Pavilion, which is home to the storied UCLA Bruins and had recently undergone $130 million in renovations, was flooded and will likely suffer significant damage. At 5:30 p.m. the water pressure had subsided, but according to the DWP, it would take some time for the water to be shut off.
Councilman Koretz told KFI Newsradio that up to five million gallons of water were released. Such a huge loss of water comes at a terrible time for Southern California, as the state is now in its third year of drought.