Benicia residents asked to reduce water usage by 30% after pipeline break

A critical water pipeline broke underneath the Benicia Water Treatment Plant over the weekend.

"Like every city, we struggle with aging infrastructure," said Benicia Public Works Director Kyle Ochenduszko.

He also said that caused a shortage, forcing the city to require all residents and businesses to cut their water use by 30%. That's about 1.2 million gallons a day. The requirement could last for several days.

"It's a very difficult pipe to fix, very old, over 50 years maybe, 60 years old and we're working on fixing that right now, trying to bypass it, putting in a temporary fix," said Ochenduszko.

Activities such as washing cars, lawn sprinklers, landscape watering, or filling swimming pools are prohibited.

There is no danger in drinking the water as the broken pipe is buried under several layers of concrete. There are nearby pipes and utility lines, but they don't interfere with the faulty pipe.

"We don't have an exact timeline on when those long-term fixes are going to be completed," said Ochenduszko.

Water agencies have already been asking for 10 to 15% reductions to deal with the ongoing drought. But, 30%, that's a big ask

Despite that, Benicia residents are coming through.

"We're getting an outstanding response and we're very appreciative of our customers and residents for being receptive to that," said Ochenduszko.