Palmdale water district approves disaster assistance plan
Measure will reduce risk to people and property
Recently, members of the Palmdale Water District board unanimously adopted a resolution for their Hazard Mitigation Plan that makes them eligible for state and federal assistance, in the event of an earthquake or other catastrophe.
Board Assistant General Manager Curtis Paxton told board members that the plan is meant to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to people and property.
Natural hazards include earthquakes, floods, wildfire, extreme weather conditions and water supply contamination, Paxton said.
According to geologists, the possibility of a sizable earthquake is a reality that cannot be overlooked, because the San Andreas Fault, as well as a network of smaller geological structures, runs through the Antelope Valley. “Floods, wildfires, and extreme weather conditions have also plagued the AV and surrounding areas,” Paxton added.
Technological hazards identified by the assistant general manager include a dam failure and hazardous materials mishaps.
Paxton said the water district contracted the consulting firm Bluecrane Inc., to assist in preparing the mitigation plan. The consultants worked with district staff from the risk management and safety, engineering facilities and production departments. The district also solicited community input at a meeting conducted in 2008.
General Manager Dennis LaMoreaux said the plan is beneficial because it protects the district, which in turn protects district customers. “It augments our emergency response plan,” LaMoreaux said.
“The main help for our ratepayers is that it (the plan) is a requirement (in order to obtain) funds from) the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA),” the general manager commented regarding the agency that deals with disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and education.
Some funds from FEMA are designated for measures taken prior to an emergency, while other funds assist in the aftermath, LaMoreaux explained.
“(FEMA does), on occasion, have funds available that would help prevent losses in case of emergencies,” he said.
That money would apply for facilities, such as retrofitting any district structures and also for investing in security measures, the general manager added. “The exact projects covered depend on the type of funds made available but generally focus on things that would help reduce losses,” he said.
“It’s a critical component to any response to a disaster,” said board President Gordon Dexter of the mitigation plan. “Our resolution just says that we adopted the plan.”
He stressed that the resolution proves to FEMA that the district “has a plan in place and the date it was adopted by the board.” Such information is needed, when agencies apply for financial assistance.
“This pulls together all our existing plans, such as emergency preparedness,” Dexter said.