Phoenix, AZ - "Don't plan on having water," says Water Dept. Rep.... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In Phoenix this morning, representatives from the Water Department were going door to door telling people their water would be turned off today for testing purposes. They did not say what or why they were testing.

My mother, who is a recent IWIDGI (I wish I didn't get it), decided to ask the man at the door about Y2k and the Phoenix Water Department. Wow, did she ever get an earful! He was very talkative. In addition to telling her he'd had the worst morning ever (people were terribly rude to him when he told them they wouldn't have water for ONE day), he said the following:

1. Don't count on having water AT ALL.

2. Plan on paying your water bill whether you have water or not...we've have meetings and decided that since we're going to be working on *getting* you water--you still need to pay.

3. Expect things to start happening around 9/9/99.

4. GET OUT OF THE CITY. (This is a direct quote.)

Needless to say, my mother, who is 65, was horrified by the implications of water in Phoenix, AZ?? Can you spell d-e-a-t-h??????

And THIS is a "bump in the road?"

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999


Scarlett thanks for the first-hand episode description of what I am fearing for those of us in S. California. My city is clueless as to a) the embedded systems in their city water delivery system; b) whether the water the city receives from places other than their own wells is gonna be available. Only thing they are sure of is that they have about 3 days worth of water for the city residents should all incoming water stop. But of course the city council is doing nothing to prepare city residents for this occurance...Staggering denial and stupidity!

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.


I find it hard to believe that the Phoenix water department is advising customers to GET OUT OF THE CITY. Being that you received this information second hand from your mother, have you independently verified this? If so, what organization did you contact, with whom did you speak and what is their phone number?

-- a (a@a.a), March 16, 1999.


A man from the Minneapolis Water Department came to my mom's door today. He was very talkative.

He said the following to her:

1. You will have water 2. Therefore, you will be billed as usual 3. I guarantee that their will be no problems 4. Stay in the city (This is a direct quote)

It looks like a bump in the road.

You prove your story, and then I'll prove mine.

I doubt that either one is true.

-- john (, March 16, 1999.

DANGER Will Robinson!

Bullshit Alert!!


-- Anonymous99 (, March 16, 1999.

Is Scarlett known to put out B.S. posts?

My first thought is maybe it was the guys opinion,or his way of freaking out the Y2K wacko crowd or just plain nutty. Who says all professionals are sane :))

-- maji (, March 16, 1999.

To --a

The person whom Scarlett is talking about - although a representative of the water department - is clearly speaking as an INDIVIDUAL.

It seems that all to often we all forget that we are all individuals with our own thoughts, perceptions and priorities. Even though you work for a particular company, this doesn't mean that you HAVE TO STATE THE PARTY LINE! I interpet Scarlett's message as an individual who has had a hard/difficult day dealing with customers without stating any personal opinions about Y2K. Now comes Scarlett's mother who directly asks about Y2k. This person comes forward with his personal observations and insights about the company he works for and states his opinions - not the company's.

Yes, I would find it hard to believe a company telling an individual to "get out of the city". I do not find it hard to believe an individual worker of that company to state his opinion and say "get out of the city"!

-- Enough already (that's, March 16, 1999.


My mother called immediately after talking with this person, who was an *official representative* of the Phoenix Water Dept. As I stated above, this was a *direct* quote. Perhaps he was less careful in what he had to say because it had been an extremely stressful morning...who knows? People often say things under duress that they would never say under "normal" circumstances. He was quite emphatic.

As to believing...well, that's up to you. :>) I'm simply reporting an event that occurred this morning. (And I do know from past experience that my mother is quite reliable.) :>)

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999.

DaDDy DiEtER!!!! SomE JaCkAll iS DeLEtInG OUr PoStS!!! ThE MaN AboVe Is TirEd OF Us!!! It IS TiMe For US To SCRAMMM!!!

-- Son of Dieter (, March 16, 1999.

I am no extremist...I am an 40-something with grown children. We all live in S. California...we are in the same boat, if albeit, a better boat than Phoenix,....I am urging my loved ones to store LOTS of water for the "minor disruptions"....We are the Cadillac Desert here as are those in Phoenix, Vegas and the like...not to store water is to court death.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.

TO the DELEter of dieTre!!!!!! SHow yOurseLf coWArd!!!!! INFIdel Back biTer!!!!!! loSer scUMBagga saGGa faN!!!!!

-- Dieter (, March 16, 1999.

Was IT THe bITe mE THat yOur sensITive girLyness COUld nOt taKe?????


-- Dieter (, March 16, 1999.

John and Anonymous99-- Calm down, take some vitamin B6, remember "Do unto others...."

Maji--So true, I agree.

Enough--thanks for your calm, reasonable and *polite* response. Much appreciated. :>) I also agree with your interpretation. As some people failed to "get" in my post, I never said this was the Water Department's "official" position. I said this man was a "representative" of the Water Dept.--and that is true. He sees things happening that *we* do not. That's why I thought his remarks were troubling--a water shortage in the desert could mean life or death for many people. If someone in the department is concerned, others should be concerned.

DIETeR--I just couldn't have said it any better myself!

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999.

And how about my post? Are you storing water? Are you ready? Do you have the capital to drill a well...


-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.

Donna, do you have an in-ground pool? If so, consider draining it later this year, installing a plastic liner (for earthquake purposes... if the walls or floor cracks, it'll retain the water) and filling it with tap water. LEAVE IT UNTREATED - it will get algae and go a bit green, but it won't give you chlorine poisoning, and in sunny CA you can set up a solar distiller for a continuous supply of potable water. If you keep a cover on the pool, you'll greatly reduce the evaporation rate.

-- sparks (, March 16, 1999.


Oops, sorry. :>) You were the first person I meant to thank. I think I need more caffeine.... :>)

Yes, I believe you're right. Sadly, the rest of my family is in Southern California and it's not a pretty picture. Both my mother in Phoenix and the rest of my family in So. Cal have swimming pools, but like the *representative* of the water company said today, someone may just come and *take* the water (I don't know if he was referring to looters or to the Water Company or to the government.)

I called my mother to get further details, and she said that the man she talked to was the Project Manager for the work going on in her area. He was *reluctant* at first to discuss Y2k; it was only after she had asked a couple of questions that he became quite talkative.

In addition to what I wrote above, he also stated that the Water Company was "not ready" for Y2k. According to *his* bosses they have been training people to do things manually, but he said they were disappointed in the results: People didn't seem able to "get" how to run things manually. They are having a hard time learning it. When she told him she had a business out near Sun City, he asked her why she hadn't left the city long before this! Quite an interesting perspective, to say the least.

Take care.

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999.

I have no swimming pool. I have about a 450 gallon two-container garden pond with biological filtration and few fish. I will use it for non-potatble water supply...(toilet flushing). I will use for potable water with heavy disinfectant and filtration if I run out of stored water...

And your question was?

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.

Hold on Scarlett-

If a DGI says that the he heard the CEO, or Chief Foreman, or CIO of a utility say that we will provide power or water into the year 2000, it would be summarily dismissed as spin or lie. The poster would be totally flamed.

But I'm suppose to accept that this individual from the water department (who is more likely to be a low-paid community relations worker or an entry-level marketing person than an engineer or manager) knows what he is talking about. You say that "he sees things that we do not." Does he? How do you know that? Is his opinion based on fact? Conjecture? How can you tell that he even has a grasp on what is going on with remediation and fixing systems? He could be pushing paper in an office all day, or perhaps not in the office at all.

Would you believe me if I told you the same story, except that it was positive? I think that you would me the same questions that I am asking you now.



-- john (i', March 16, 1999.


I didn't see that this person was a project manager as our posts went up simultaneously.

However, now that you're coming with all of this supportive info after you've been questioned, I find your story even less believable.

If a DGI were presenting a story in this manner, he'd be laughed off of the forum.


-- john (i', March 16, 1999.


Perhaps you should read my posts just a little more carefully. This man is the *Project Manager* for the work going on right now in my mother's neighborhood. It's a rather large project. He was one of the people making the rounds today. He specifically stated that he had been *present* at meetings about Y2k and that the Water Company was "not ready".

You are certainly free to believe what you wish. This was something I thought was important for people to *know* insight from "inside" the Water Department of a major city.

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999.

DIEtER STiLL SAys bItE ME WAtER WEeNy IF yOU WanT PAymeNT FOR No waTER!!!! JAckAL SCroTuM!!!!!

-- Dieter (, March 16, 1999.


*I'm at my wits end.* :>)

Again, if you had read my post a little more carefully you would have noticed that I came back with more information after talking--again--with my mother. Gosh...that is sinister--anyone's credibility should be called into question after they provide *more* details.

DieTEr, where are you?

-- Scarlett (, March 16, 1999.

Donna, that WAS my question -and a suggestion if you had a pool- all rolled in to one.

-- sparks (, March 16, 1999.

Geez you guys, take a pill. I know this subject can stress anybody out, but I don't see any need to be a flaming bozo to other people about it.

Discussion boards are for discussion. Sometimes people lie. Sometimes people are just jerks. But in general, plenty of discussion still goes on. That covers experiences had by people personally and those they know well. No, it cannot be proved in a court of law or in a test tube. This isn't a court or a science lab. It's a discussion board. Take what you want and leave the rest. It's one thing to have an opinion. Another to vagrantly insult somebody making polite discussion who has shown no history here, that I have seen, of lying, or of being half as biased as some of the above are in many posts.


-- PJ Gaenir (, March 16, 1999.

I'd say plan to store and use your pool water at the end of the year...plan for it and don't add your normal pool chemicals...I can't tell you what to do..I have a 450 gallon pond I plan to use for non-potable water and potable only if worse comes to worse. Set yourself a plan for the end of the year...As the powers that be (govt) are not telling the have to be your own judge.....when will you set aside the pool for potable and non-potable water? Tough a strong human being...make the decisions. Prepare to revise if necessary.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.

Thanks, Scarlett. I grew up in Tucson, spent first 24 years there. Taught a City Council member's daughter piano a bit, and cleaned her house. That was when the entire Council was booted out for raising water rates. Heard a lot of insider lamenting about water issues. I MOVED to Cascadia the first chance I got. Too hot & not enough water in Tucson. Life sustained artificially there. Your post brought a lot back ... ;-)

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xx

-- Leska (, March 16, 1999.


Why then is it that when someone posts a positive story, they are not taken at face value, held to a higher standard of proof, and attacked.

Like I said, if a DGI presented this story in the same structure, except that it was a "good news" story, they would be instantly flamed- there would most likely be no one to support them as you are doing for Scarlett.

I don't have a personal vendetta against Scarlett, and her story could very well be true. However, it is quite apparent that there is a double standard applied between when negative news is presented as opposed to positive news.

Clearly, negative news is accepted with far less question on this forum than positive news is. If you are looking for the truth, both should be scrutinized with equal diligence.

My apologies, Scarlett. My goal wasn't to offend you. I just feel that GI's should be held to the same standard that DGI's are.

-- john (i', March 16, 1999.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Open the canals up, fill them with lot's of water. Not right out of the faucet, but with a couple of buckets, enough to live.

-- Bill (, March 16, 1999.

At the town meeting and y2k summit (14 hours) in Phoenix a few days ago we were told our water department was on top of the situation. We have a series of dams and lakes in the mountains to the northeast of the city and many canals (for irrigation) going through the city. A very large percentage of the homes have pools. The farms south of the city also have deep irrigation wells. My part of Phoenix had no water problems today and it was not a local news item. I doubt the water person making his pessimestic remarks was a proper spokesman for the department. Meanwhile I have stored water in 24 55 gal plastic drums and consider water very important in a city that gets 7 inches of rainfall per year. I am sure Scarlett and her mom will be well stocked on water. Each area of the country has specific circumstances to be factored into survival planning. I most certainly agree that in Phoenix water is a serious matter.

-- ronbanks (, March 17, 1999.

Very well. THIS is Y2K related in itself, because human response to the subject, before or after the event, is certainly of interest.

I've seen notes here and there about people upset that good news does not get the same reception bad news does on this board. This may be true. I don't read every message here, don't have that much time.

However, the very nature of this makes sense, so just bear with me a moment and think about it.

Bad news addresses 1 specific issue. It does not generally need to address any other issue. It does not matter to me that my power company is compliant if it buys its power from one dependent on nuclear or coal and those aren't available.

In this example, finding out that trains have certain problems which may affect Y2K is bad news. That can go independently and it is still bad news and even if everything else goes right, it's still bad news.

The part about my company being compliant is wonderful news. Unfortunately, good news can seldom be accepted out of context with all the other items affecting the end result. If I hear this, I think, "Why did the journalist not address that my power company buys from the next state which is dependent on coal delivered by trains? How can I be "reassured" by this bit of news when other obvious and threatening factors still exist and were not addressed? And since the writer's acting like this is all a hoax, how can I really take his objectivity seriously, since I've looked into it and certainly feel there's no call for that attitude?"

So you see, it is easier to take any form of bad news as a singularity, without argument, than it is good news.

It would also help, of course, if such a percentage of the good news were not so vapidly editorial and lacking in context or facts that even a cursory study of the subject could make a reader suspicious... but, that can be said of much of the negative stuff as well.

Concerning this thread, this all started over a personal account from someone. Those may be true and they may not, frankly. You have a point: had the guy said, "Don't worry, the whole world will be fine," it would certainly have been attacked as nonsense, and his credentials demanded, yada yada yada. Alas, my experience with this topic seems to be that the more true credentials somebody has (I mean technical/project, not political/corporate), the more negative they seem to be.

I wonder why.


-- PJ Gaenir (, March 17, 1999.

Response to Phoenix, AZ - "Don't plan on having water," says Water Dept. Rep....


-- Ann Fisher (, March 17, 1999.

I disagree with your assertion that technical experts assessments are generally negative in nature. There are plenty who say there are less problems than what people think. However, as we have seen for years, good news generally does not make an interesting story, and the experts presenting the more negative assessments are the ones that get the most attention.

Regarding bad news, it seems to be more often driven by blanket generalizations and conjecture rather than fact. Simply stating that some railroads are behind, there could be problems with foreign oil, etc. are taken to the bank as fact without really being scrutinized or to what extent these problems will occur. So when someone says utility X is ready, it's easy to move to the next step and say, but if there's no fuel, then the railroads can't move coal, and so on. Over time, it sometimes becomes, There won't be oil, so we can't move coal, and we won't have power. (In actuality, in my research, I've seen that utilities stock anywhere from 30 to 120 days worth of coal) Moreover, a lack of good news is construed as bad news until it is concisely addressed, and even then there are no guarantees. Therein lies the problem.

-- john (i', March 17, 1999.

Hi Donna, as one fellow So. Californian to another, how have you been following the water issue? (The Cadillac Desert show sounds real interesting as to our history, is it ever repeat broadcast?) Feel like I am reinventing a wheel all on my own. Trying to figure out how sewage and water systems work, going to DWP and MWD web sites and trying to read between the lines, as well as postings of fellow Angeleans on Deja News. Sometimes I feel wasta time, give it up, just get ready.

We have a pool. This is some comfort except that I'm not so sure we can afford to share with non-pool-owing neighbors. Does this ever bother you? (Aren't you planning to move to the rural east coast?) (I will also be buying 200 gallon watertanks and put them away. My DH will flip out if he sees them.)

Sparks, good advice about the plastic liner. And we will be building a solar distiller. I think also we should set up some barrels in series, for catching rain from the roof and keep filling up the pool as high as it will go.

-- Debbie (, March 17, 1999.

Personally I appreciate the info. It certainly isn't out of line with what's reported in the water section of the senate report. Given the importance of water we'd all be fools not to lay in supplies.

-- Shimrod (, March 17, 1999.

When bad news is wrong, it won't kill me.

When good news is wrong, it might kill me.

That's why I pay a bit more attention to bad news, but I still feel hope when I hear good news.

I wouldn't want to live in the desert anywhere during the y2k crisis, and that's just my own opinion based on no facts at all.

-- Helen (, March 17, 1999.

Thanks for sharing your mom's experience Scarlett,

I cant count the number of times Ive chatted with a representative of a large organization (Hi Tech) off-the-record and heard more truth from those working in the trenches that Id ever hear from the top brass or P.R. machine. Cant everyone identify with that?

Even my local telephone repairman has been a font of inside info upon occasion.

Think about this guys.

Her mother lives in a VERY large, hot, dry desert community. IF the water goes down for any lengthy period of time, is that where youd choose to be?

Now, think Southern California where all water is imported. Is that where you would want to be without water? I moved away from a mountain community in SoCal last fall. It only has drinkable snowmelt. But its one of the early places a lot of Southern CAers would come looking for water. Just the though of inexperienced campers in a flammable forest makes me shudder.

Ask yourself, are you in a place that can support life, if the infrastructure goes down for an extended period of time?

If not. Consider moving. Or consider the alternative.


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 17, 1999.


Thanks for the post.

Ann Fisher, Helen, and Diane,

I agree with everything you all had to say.


Do dams have any Y2K issues to deal with?

-- Unofficial (, March 17, 1999.

Donna, I was struck by your comment about city officials: "Only thing they are sure of is that they have about 3 days worth of water for the city residents should all incoming water stop." But they don't have three days of water! It's like JIT delivery--as soon as people hear food will be in short supply, they'll have the shelves cleaned off in a few hours. Those taps will be drained in a lot less than three days.

John--after 38 working and volunteer years in business, military, and government areas, I can tell you that if you want to know the truth about anything, you make friends with someone's secretary or admin. assistant. Maybe even the receptionist if she's been there a goodly number of years. The mailroom folks are a veritable fount too. Also please note that Senator Bennett has said on several occasions that self-reporting on Y2K (approved and presented by a member of senior management or the CEO) is WITHOUT EXCEPTION found to be highly inaccurate and far too optimistic. I'd trust Scarlett's mother's connection far more than the person who runs things.

-- Old Git (, March 17, 1999.

Diane (and Old Git), you've put your finger on it exactly. I'm not sure what got folks so torqued about this thread: I mean, it was never presented as anything other than an informal "report" to a MOTHER ...

Sheesh, is nothing sacred?

I digress. If I lived in Arizona or Southern California, I would do ANYTHING necessary to be out of town by Dec. 15, starting with move permanently. At least have a bug-out plan, though. Even stockpiling water isn't going to cut it. GN has been saying for two years that "water" is the hidden Y2K disaster waiting to happen and I agree 100%. This thread wisely reminds us of the peril.

-- BigDog (, March 17, 1999.

Guys - You're right - there's something ludicrous about storing water, esp. us being the only ones of many thousands around here in our So. Calif. neighborhood that will do do it. DH wants to stay in the house at all costs. While he accepts that we could be out of water for some time, he just doesn't "get" that we don't live in a social vacuum. This could undo any efforts to save a year's worth of stored water in just one day of the word getting around. I have got to get off my duff and deal with this major domestic bone of contention.

-- Debbie (, March 17, 1999.


Apology accepted. :>) I do my best to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...most of the time. :>)


You are all simply the best. THANKS! :>) :>) :>)

-- Scarlett (, March 17, 1999.

Will Robinson: But robot, if Scarlett isn't lying, this is incredibly bad! Robot, calculate the ramifications of a major loss of water in the US SW, and the potential ramifications of similar Y2K- related problems through-out the world.

Robot: You may not survive, Will Robinson...

-- Anonymous99 (, March 17, 1999.

Which area of Phoenix was tesed???

-- K Stevens (, March 17, 1999.

I live here in AZ and I just wanted to respond to those of you who have said you wouldn't want to live here when the Y2K bug bites. Arizona is going to be one of the best places to be since our weather here is absolutely beautiful in the winter. No heater is needed at night and no air-conditioning is needed during the day. As long as you've stocked plenty of water, there's no need to worry about living in a desert. I would much rather be here during the winter than in many other areas of the planet where it will be terribly cold!

-- Julie (, July 12, 1999.

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