EBMUD slow to fix leaky hydrant despite complaints, drought

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) -- A woman from Walnut Creek told KTVU Monday that -- despite constant calls to conserve water amid the California's historic drought -- she has complained twice to East Bay MUD about a leaky fire hydrant with no results.

KTVU found the fire hydrant on Near Court Monday morning. It was steadily leaking, wasting water with every drop.

Walnut Creek resident Kris Partello complained about the leak to KTVU on Facebook after she says she first noticed it April and reported it to the East Bay Municipal Water District. But here a month later, it is still dripping.

"It really makes you angry. They want us to cut back to where it hurts and they won't take care of their own problems. It doesn't seem right," Partello said.

East Bay MUD says it is responsible for more than 30,000 fire hydrants and they do break down.

"We have aging infrastructure across the service area. So yes, leaks are common not only in hydrants, but pipes and valves," said East Bay MUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa.

The water district says it works on broken hydrants and pipes depending on the seriousness of the leak.

A crew came out to Near Court soon after KTVU inquired about the hydrant. East Bay MUD says it could find no record of any complaints, even though Partello says she called East Bay MUD's hotline twice.

"He even remembered me and said, 'No problem! We'll fix it,'" said Partello.

"Usually when someone calls in we deal with it right away," said Figueroa.

While leaky fire hydrants are not under the city of Walnut Creek's jurisdiction, it is fielding many more complaints about water wasters during this drought.

The town, like its residents, is required to reduce water usage by 25 percent. Its public parks are getting less water under its new conservation plan.

"Brown is the new green, as we are saying," said Walnut Creek Public Works Director Heather Ballenger. "We are turning off 20 percent of our turf and not watering it at all."

Partello says everyone has to do their part, including water districts.

"It makes you so angry because it's so important," she said.