Here's Some Perspective on the Enormous UCLA Water Main Break

In a state seeing one of the worst droughts in its history, water is a precious commodity. Yesterday's burst of a nearly century-old water main wasted eight to ten million gallons of water, putting more strain on California's already-burdened resources. Here's some perspective on how much water Los Angeles really lost yesterday.

The average thunderstorm can drop hundreds of millions of gallons of water during its lifespan. During a small thunderstorm that covers just two square miles of land, it will drop eight million gallons of water for every one quarter of an inch of rain it produces.

Here's Some Perspective on the Enormous UCLA Water Main Break


I used an acreage calculator on Daft Logic's website to find the rough area affected by the flooding, and the approximate area impacted by the water main break is just a little more than 100 acres.

According to the USGS, 8 to 10 million gallons of water flooding a 100-acre patch of land equates to 3 to 4 inches of rain. The amount of water wasted in yesterday's water main break is the same as a thunderstorm bubbling up over UCLA's campus and producing the same amount of rain LAX has seen since January 1 (3.55").

That's a ton of water. Well, 33381 to 41726 tons of water.


Any rain that falls over the next seven days in California's hardest-hit drought areas will generally amount to less than one tenth of an inch.

[Images via AP and Daft Logic/Google Maps]