Lack of Water at Higher Ground Created Problems

* The article, "Water Pressure Burned Laguna" (Nov. 14), contains serious errors regarding the proposed Top of the World Reservoir Project and its goal. The angle taken in the article implies that an abundance of water sat unused due to water system failures that could have been prevented. That is not true.

The Times said that by the end of the day, reservoirs remained half full or better. The district increased its water flow into Laguna Beach by threefold and the so-called water that "sat unused" was actually used and replaced during the fire.

The Times article misses the main point that there is not enough storage at higher elevations, which in turn creates water-pressure problems. Granted, even in some areas where there was storage, the demand was so great that the distribution system could not keep up. But, no water system is designed to provide that sort of supply through pumping and distribution systems.

The Times editorial, "On Water: Laguna Needs Answers" (Nov. 18), questions whether the "flawed water system can be fixed and how much it would cost." This comment is flawed in itself. The integrity of our system held. We did not have one water-main break.

With gravity feed at the right elevation, the distribution system is fed automatically. Public record reflects at least three meetings at which the water district warned the city of a great need for fire protection.

Lastly, The Times stated the "quarrel between the water district and reservoir opponents should never have been allowed to go on for so long." The water district felt the same way and pursued condemnation of the property and requested immediate possession, which it received in court a week before the fire.

JOSEPH A. SOVELLA

Manager, Laguna Beach

County Water District

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