California's Water System Highly Vulnerable to an Earthquake

State Statistically Long Overdue for Major Earthquake

According to David Wanetick, managing director of The Wall Street Transcript, "Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma are painful reminders of the ruthless destruction that natural events can wreck on crucial infrastructure. Statistically, California is long overdue for another significant earthquake. The impact of a 1906-magnitude earthquake could have catastrophic ramifications for California's water purity and deliverability."

Among the destruction that an earthquake could have on California's water system are:

-- All of the major aqueducts that cross the San Andreas Fault would to be moved 20 to 30 ft.

-- An earthquake that damages levies could result in salt-water intruding into utility pumps.

-- The San Francisco Bay Area's water is served by one transmission line. Estimates indicate that, in the event of an earthquake, this transmission line could remain out of service for up to 60 days, and the economic impact would be in the range of $28 billion.

-- Electricity outages after an earthquake could both prevent the treatment and delivery of drinking water even if the pipes are intact and also will prevent the treatment of wastewater before it is discharged.

-- Earthquake preparedness has taken a bit of a backseat because the same emergency managers that are needed to respond to earthquakes are also responding to the terrorism threats.

Wanetick continued, "It is important to note that California is not alone in its vulnerability to earthquakes as there have been at least 26 American cities that experienced significant earthquakes and that are at risk for another earthquake.”

The Wall Street Transcript

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