Surviving the Jackson Drive interconnect pipeline project

The San Diego County Water Authority got the call at midnight on May 16, 2006. One of themajor water delivery pipelines in Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego had burst, resulting in millions of gallons of water rushing through the park. It was over the next several hours that the Water Authority’s community outreach began. Within days the project was declared an emergency and the Water Authority determined that a section of pipeline located under Jackson Drive, a major thoroughfare through the community, needed immediate repair. This resulted in closing a portion of the road to all traffic for three months.

Unlike most Water Authority construction projects, community members had only a few weeks to learn about and get used to the idea of a temporary closure. With very little time to plan for or conduct a typical community outreach or public involvement campaign, as outlined by the International Association of Public Participation, the Public Affairs Department had to effectively and efficiently communicate the project information to residents and businesses. Through a variety of successful outreach techniques the community felt well informed, resulting in very few complaint calls to the information line and council district office.

Could this be happening? Is it just a bad dream? Unfortunately, as the San Diego County Water Authority came to find out over the next few hours, the news was a reality. One of the major water delivery pipelines running through a regional park in San Diego had burst, resulting in millions of gallons of untreated water rushing through Mission Trails Regional Park. Mission Trails Regional Park encompasses nearly 5,800 acres of both natural and developed recreational acres. San Diegans enjoys hiking, biking and horse back riding in this regional park.

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