An unexpected hour-long campuswide water outage began at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday due to a dual valve shutdown in Goleta.
Campus officials were notified in advance about the closing of a valve at the Goleta Water District – the campus’ water supplier – due to road repairs. However, an additional valve on Mesa Road that also supplies the campus was shut down simultaneously for unknown reasons. The combination of both valve closures, officials say, caused the core-campus water blackout.
Marc Fisher, assistant vice chancellor of campus design and facilities, said although he had been notified of a valve shutdown, the campus outage was not anticipated.
“The outage began with a Goleta Water shutdown of a water valve on El Colegio Road for repairs in Isla Vista,” Fisher said.
According to Fisher, the unforeseen loss of water spanned university facilities from Stadium Road eastward. His office, he said, is still investigating the cause.
“We are trying to determine why the valve on Mesa Road was closed, as it was not closed by Goleta Water personnel,” Fisher said.
Fisher said no damages have been reported thus far.
“Campus plumbers are checking all campus restrooms to make certain that toilets are functioning properly,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he is thankful to the campus community for their patience while Campus Design and Facilities work to restore the water pressure.
“We don’t expect further water outages on the campus,” Fisher said. “Every effort will be made to ensure that the series of events that lead to the loss of water this morning will not be repeated.”
Meanwhile, Alex Lin, a first-year undeclared student, stood outside Davidson Library early Tuesday afternoon in his boxers while two of his friends gave him a sponge bath. The outage, Lin said, came at the perfect time for him to spread a message about how to avoid wasting water.
“[If the water went out again] I would take more sponge baths,” Lin said. “Do you know how many gallons of water you used this morning for your shower? Conserve water with free sponge baths! Sponge baths at absolutely no charge! Save water!”
UCSB alumnus Mohamed Hafez said the lack of water has made bathing in the lagoon a more attractive option.
“[If we were to completely run out of water] I would shower in the lagoon with all the ducks and beautiful creatures from nature,” Hafez said.
Students and staff are encouraged to report any damages or other impacts to the Physical Facilities Trouble Desk at (805) 893-2661, ext. 4.