Utilities News

Water Service Disruptions

Water Service Disruptions

Drought Update and Water Resources

  • Planned Water Service Disruptions are no longer posted to respect the privacy of the impacted customers, all of whom receive direct notification of the disruption. 

  • Why are any planned disruptions necessary? Currently the City is in the process of performing system and seismic upgrades, along with increasing the storage capacity for the City's water distribution system. This work may cause some customers to experience lower than normal water pressures during high demand times of the year, such as warmer months and high usage times of day. You may also experience some cloudy water due to valving modifications done to support the affected areas.

Primary reasons for water quality changes and planned disruptions:

  • San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC)'s Routine Maintenance on the Hetch Hetchy supply system.  While most of the time we are getting our water supply straight from the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct, periodically that aqueduct must be closed for maintenance and our supply is mixed with water from other reservoirs in the system.  In those cases, the water is still high quality and meets all standards, but may be cloudy (due to air bubbles) or have a slightly different smell or taste.

  • The City's Ongoing Aggressive Maintenance Program to test ("exercise") and replace old water valves.  An average of 100 valves per month are exercised and as many as 12 per month are replaced.  Everyone benefits from these improvements to the water distribution system, and we thank our customers for any inconvenience they must experience while their water is briefly turned off.  Customers always receive advance notice of these shut-offs.

Current water service disruptions:

None at this time.
Recent Water Service Disruptions

  • Saturday, September 23: Around 6:00 am, a water main on University Avenue ruptured.  Repairs were made and service was fully restored by 2:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017: At 7:30 am, Utilities crews responded  to a water main break in the area of Los Robles and Rincon Circle. The main break affected 7 homes.  Water was restored by 1:15 pm.  The cause of the water main break was a material failure.
  • Tuesday, February 14, 10 am - unplanned water service outage on 200 block of Alma was restored around 10:50.
  • Tuesday, December 14: At 6 pm, water service was disrupted for 156 customers on the 800 block of Loma Verde. Crews replaced a faulty water valve and restored service by 11 pm.
  • Monday, November 28: At 10:30 am, there was an unplanned water disruption for 17 customers on the 3400 block of Cowper Court. Service was restored at 12 pm.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 1:20 pm: There was an unplanned water disruption on the 500 & 600 blocks of Lincoln. Water was quickly restored.
  • Monday, September 19, 7:30 am - Unplanned water outage for 25 customers in the vicinity of 1900 Embarcadero due to a broken valve. Businesses along Embarcadero Road were restored around 10:00 pm, and all other customers were restored by 4:00 am.
  • Friday, September 9, 9:00 a.m. - Unplanned water outage in the vicinity of the 2400 block of Emerson. Crews are responding. Estimated time of restoration unknown.
  • Thursday, September 8, 3:00 p.m. - Water service was disrupted on the 500 block of Melville Ave. Service was restored around 6:30 p.m.
  • Monday, July 25, 1:30 p.m. - Water service was interrupted on the 2500 block of Indian Drive. Service was restored at 9:00 pm.
  • Monday, May 2, 11:30 a.m. - Unplanned water outage on Homer at Emerson. Approximately 7 residential homes were affected. Service was restored for all customers by 4:39 pm.
  • Thursday, April 21 - At 9 am, water service disrupted for about 30 customers on the 2800 block of Bryant due to a broken valve.  Service was fully restored as of 3:40 pm.
  • Tuesday, March 15 - Water service was interrupted at 9 am on  the 900 block of Embarcadero due to material failure. Service was restored at 10:30 am.
  • Monday, January 11 - Palo Alto Utilities Crew identified a water leak around the 3000 block of Ross Road.  Crew had to shut down water service to excavate and repair damaged piping. In order to fix the leak, water service for 94 residents had to be temporarily suspended from 9 pm to midnight.

Palo Alto Water Quality

The City of Palo Alto Utilities and our water supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), are required by law to adhere to strict health and safety standards for potable drinking water. We monitor our water quality continually (every day) to ensure that it meets all State and Federal guidelines for drinking water quality standards.

Every year we publish an annual water quality report, which informs customers about the City's water quality. General questions or concerns? Call us at (650) 329-2161 to report issues or request information.

To view past annual water quality reports and read more about Palo Alto's water quality, please visit our water resources page.

Please contact our Water Transmission division at (650) 496-6967 with any questions about water quality or blend changes.

Stay Informed

  • Backflow prevention surveys--get the full scoop about what is going on and whyhere. 

Last Updated: March 15, 2017