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Amid Severe Drought, LA County Waterworks Facilities Lose 82K Gallons After Water Pump Malfunction

LOS ANGELES ( — A series of earthquakes in Santa Clarita may have played a role in the loss of thousands of gallons of water at two Los Angeles County Waterworks facilities, officials say.

Just days after Governor Jerry Brown ordered state-wide reductions during one of the worst droughts in the state's history, the Val Verde facilities lost a total of 82,000 gallons following a water pump malfunction.

An agency spokesperson told CBS2/KCAL9 the problem started Friday night, when the malfunction caused tens of thousands of gallons to spew from the pump, shorting out the communications system on a nearby wall.

That led to a scene at a nearby facility Saturday. The pumps didn't get the message the tanks were full and water started overflowing, Waterworks spokesperson Kerjon Lee said.

"Between both locations we lost about 82,000 gallons," Lee confirmed. Waterwoks says that amounts to approximately one person's water usage in an entire year.

The agency is investigating a variety of factors as a possible cause.

"There were a series of earthquakes that were near this area in Santa Clarita last night," Lee said, noting: "We can't attribute this directly to those quakes but we are aware that those happened last night and we're investigating to see what effects that might have had on this machine."

Workers say the facilities are decades-old and that is a worry as well.

Crews are meanwhile working on water-proofing the communications panels to avoid a repeat.

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