Vallejo lifts 'water emergency' after PG&E brings in powerful generator

Smoke is blanketing Vallejo from the Glen Cove Fire over the Carquinez Bridge. Oct. 27, 2019

The city of Vallejo lifted a mandatory water conservation notice on Monday morning after PG&E brought in a powerful generator to power the city's water pump.

In a video message, Joanna Altman, assistant to the city manager, said residents no longer had to reduce their showers or toilet flushing and they could resume watering their outside plants.

That announcement followed on the heels of a Sunday notice to residents detailing a water emergency based on a PG&E shutoff of a water pump located in City Hall, which had no electricty.

City officials said the Cordelia Raw Water Pumping Complex is now able to pump raw water into the Vallejo Water System for proper treatment. PG&E delivered the generator on a semi-truck and the utility will provide fuel and constant staffing to oversee the pump, city officials said. The emergency power situation will remain until the power is restored. City Hall is closed on Monday because of the power outage. 

"I'm just shocked," said Vallejo resident Marlena Ryan. "The fact that this happened because of the PG&E shutdown is really disturbing." 

PG&E had turned off power to 960,000 customers over the weekend, including 25,000 in Solano County, fearing the near hurricane-force winds could topple power lines and spark fires.

The “wind event” is expected to be over on Monday, and PG&E has promised to restore power within 48 hours. Fierce winds are expected again Tuesday into Wednesday and the utility could turn off power again, for the fourth time this season. 

In addition, Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff declared a state of emergency for the city, not only because of the power shutoff but because crews battled an intense 200-acre fire on Sunday, which shut down the Carquinez Bridge for hours.

The fire destroyed or damaged several buildings at the Cal Maritime Academy. It was just one of nearly a dozen fires in California, including the largest, the Kincade Fire, still raging in Sonoma County. 

The declaration will allow Vallejo access to state money to help city leaders increase staff and resources to deal with firefighting efforts and the power outages.