A $50,000 electric bill? The cost of cooling L.A.’s biggest houses in a heat wave – and the fact that those houses are losing as much as 10 times as much water as they should be and could flood – has the city in a panic. City officials are now preparing to order residents to cut back on water use, if they have to.
As the sun burned over Southern California this weekend, Los Angeles officials continued to grapple with one of the worst heat waves in its history. More than 2,000 homes were forced to evacuate and a dozen were lost to fire. The heat wave, which blanketed the West and parts of the Northeast, was likely fueled by a strong La Niña event.
More Southern California:
As the sun burned over Southern California this weekend, Los Angeles officials continued to grapple with one of the worst heat waves in its history. More than 2,000 homes were forced to evacuate and a dozen were lost to fire. Read the story in our Sunday magazine.
“The situation with the heat is just getting worse and worse,” said L.A. Mayor Antonio C. Villaraigosa on Sunday. “Our city is in danger.”
The city was preparing for possible damage to the city’s electrical grid, which runs almost entirely underground, and for the danger of wildfires near the Los Angeles River, which feeds into the city’s water supply.
Water was getting scarce, officials said, because of the loss of a main supply water line from the Colorado River. A main water line that fed the city’s water treatment plant was damaged by the heat, said officials.
A backup water line in the area of Westchester, which feeds water directly into the Los Angeles River, was also damaged.
An official with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who could not speak for attribution, said the pipe was damaged over several years.
“Some new line was installed,” said the official, referring to the water supply line that is now operating fine.
The city had been in talks with private water suppliers to keep water flowing into its reservoirs, and a number of those suppliers were still open, said water department officials. Officials