Watch CBS News

Weak water pressure puts Sacramento affordable housing project on hold

Sacramento affordable housing project on hold due to water pressure issues
Sacramento affordable housing project on hold due to water pressure issues 01:59

SACRAMENTO — A plan to add more affordable housing to the area is feeling the pressure in more ways than one.

We're talking about water pressure. It's simply not strong enough and that's keeping one major Sacramento project from letting new residents flow on in.

The bubbling fountain in front of the Nueva Vista housing complex doesn't show what water problems lurk underground.

Developers are building new units for 75 seniors and homeless residents on the property in south Sacramento.

"They will have one or two residents in each bedroom and they'll have services here," said.

"We've got vacant lots here that will be additional housing," said.

Three of the homes are already move-in ready right down to the front porch patio furniture and flower pots. But no one is allowed to live there because the buildings have failed a fire department water pressure test.

"We found when we did the test, there was very little flow and very little pressure," said.

"That means that if there is a fire, there's not enough water to put out the fire," said.

The pressure problems stem from the underground water mains that are operated by the City of Sacramento. Typically, new neighborhood pipes are 12-15 inches wide, but there, the mains are much smaller.

"The water lines in this neighborhood are four inches in diameter," said.

The City of Sacramento says the pipes were already in place when they began providing water to that part of the county in the 1960s. In a statement, the utility department said: "The current infrastructure has not reached a state where it is prioritized for replacement or rehabilitation"

They also say "it's the developer's responsibility to build adequate infrastructure to meet building and fire codes."

"It's really not been a problem until now," said. "This is really the first development to come into this underserved neighborhood."

So for now, construction has stopped and the hopes of offering more affordable housing have gone down the drain.

"It's pretty much on pause right now," said.

So how desperate are the developers? They might add a large water tank on the property to help boost the pressure, but that could take months to put in.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.