As recent events in West Virginia underscore, there are many scenarios besides the “great shake” earthquake where the community could face a prolonged water service disruption. Last year, Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) purchased the first of several mobile water trailers to dispense drinking water under emergency conditions. Testing out the trailer in a “live” situation is one way the utility is working to be better prepared for an actual event.
On Friday, Jan. 10, EWEB, Rainbow Water District and Springfield Utility District took part in a joint training exercise hosted at the City of Eugene’s Public Works Roosevelt Yard. To mimic a situation where EWEB is unable to access water from its system, water was pulled from the Moe Reservoir in north Springfield, placed in a portable tank, and transported to a community shelter (aka Roosevelt Yard) for distribution via the trailer. City of Eugene staff was invited to participate in the drill by acting as residents in need of water.
About 50 staff members took the time to line up at the trailer to fill their containers, learn more about emergency preparedness planning, and take a brief survey to help improve signage, messaging and the overall experience. The training exercise was an invaluable opportunity to practice roles and responsibilities between the water providers and troubleshoot the process to uncover areas for improvement.
EWEB expressed gratitude to the participating agencies for their planning and logistical assistance in advance of the exercise and day of support from City staff. Such partnerships and inter-agency coordination is essential to improving incident response and community resiliency when disaster strikes. For more information, contact Public Works Safety Coordinator Kristi Hayden at 541-682-4848.