Loss of water frustrated many after big storm
Is it worse to be without electricity or without water?
Most of us would probably answer it is bad to be without either one, but a number of people we talked with during the aftermath of Sunday's severe thunderstorm said it was being without water for an extended period of time that was the worst.
Thousands of residents of the Foothills area east of Yuma were left without water when the storm knocked down as many as 70 power poles in the area. As many as 19,000 area residents were also without power for various amounts of time, some for as much as a day and a half.
The connection between a power outage and a water outage may seem strange to some, but they are related. Pump stations and other water facilities require power to operate. Without it, the water eventually stops flowing unless remedial measures are taken.
In the case of the city of Yuma, water pressure dropped in some areas for about an hour until backup generators could come online and restore water flow. But much of the Foothills area is served by the privately owned Far West Water and Sewer Company which did not have the needed number of backup generators to keep providing water service for many of its customers.
Some Far West customers had water service restored Monday night after Arizona Public Service had power back up, but some water users remained dry until Tuesday morning. Customers were irritated, even angry, about the situation.
Their unhappiness was understandable. Their expectation was that utility would be prepared for such an emergency so water service could be quickly restored, just as the city of Yuma was prepared.
That is a reasonable expectation. After all, power outages are not that infrequent, especially at this time of year, although the amount of storm damage and the length of the outage were unusual.
We hope this experience encourages the company to become better prepared in the future.